About Us

Ian Chapman

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Ian has dual qualifications as an Accountant and as a Solicitor. Before his admission to practice law, Ian had a twenty year career as an accountant. Ian remains a certified practicing accountant but now only practices law.

After his admission as a Solicitor he discovered the ‘people’ side of law most interesting and therefore focusses exclusively on family law.

Ian finds his accounting and numeracy skills combined with legal expertise to be especially useful in family law for clients with complex property settlement matters and when a deep understanding of financial data and/or balance sheets is important.

He appreciates that family law issues can be complex, stressful, daunting, and difficult for both emotional and financial reasons. He has experience from working on a wide range of family law matters including parenting, property, and divorce cases.

The scale and breadth of Ian’s family law work extends from straight forward divorces to divorces involving separation under the one roof; child support agreements; financial agreements and reaching agreements through negotiations, mediation, collaborative practice and through the Court process. He has experience in dealing with married relationships, de facto relationships and same-sex relationships.

Ian provides information and well-reasoned practical options to clients facing family law issues to help them make fully informed decisions. He is personable, empathetic, and non-judgmental.

Ian is listed on the High Court of Australia’s Register of Practitioners, a member of the ACT Law Society, and a member of the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia.

He is a nationally accredited mediator and will soon complete his Master of Laws at the Australian National University. As someone who enjoys studying Ian has been passionate about keeping up with developments in family law. He is currently studying a Graduate Diploma of Family Resolution Practice at the College of Law.

Outside of work, Ian enjoys scuba diving, theatre, and overseas travel.

Qualifications

Bachelor of Laws – Central Queensland University

Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice – Australian National University

Admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory

Admitted to practice in the High Court of Australia

Nationally Accredited Mediator (National Mediator Accreditation System (NMAS)

Memberships

The Law Society of ACT

The Law Council of Australia – Family Law Section

Resolutions Institute

The Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators

CPA Australia

Bernadette Smyth

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Bernadette (Berni) is an accred­it­ed Fam­i­ly Law Spe­cial­ist as certified by the Law Soci­ety of New South Wales and a trained col­lab­o­ra­tive lawyer. She has been working as a Fam­i­ly Lawyer for over 25 years.

Her work is exclu­sive­ly ded­i­cat­ed to all aspects of Fam­i­ly Law and has a pas­sion for achiev­ing work­able solu­tions for her clients whether that is through agree­ment or through a hearing at Court.

Berni takes pride in help­ing clients obtain the best pos­si­ble out­come tailored to their personal sit­u­a­tion. She is well respect­ed for her skills in advocacy and alter­na­tive dis­pute res­o­lu­tion.

The scale and breadth of Berni’s family law work extends from negotiating and documenting amicable parenting and property matters, often called “house and garden” matters, to international relocation matters and complex property, involving complex company and trust structures with multiple real properties and superannuation interests.

In addition, Berni as acted as an Arbitrator determining property matters.

She was appointed to the NSW Independent Children’s Lawyers Panel in 2005 and in the intervening period she has regularly acted for Children in the Family Court and the Federal Circuit Court.

In 2017 she was a member of the NSW Law Society Board of examiners accessing solicitor candidates for Family Law Accreditation, having attained her own specialist accreditation in Family Law in 2005.

Berni attended the World Congress on Family Law and Children’s Rights and she regularly attended both National and International Legal Conferences to ensure that her practice benefits from her current knowledge of social science and legal issues.

“Doyle’s Guide to the Australian Legal Market” has ranked Berni as a recommended Parenting Lawyer in 2020.

Berni is also a Nationally Accredited Mediator and served as a Member of the NSW Law Society Family Law Settlement Panel. She combines her extensive legal expertise and experience with a love of Mediation and desire to work with parties and to reach a practical and pragmatic outcome.

She finds it extremely satisfying for everyone involved when the Mediation commences with comments such as “this matter will never settle” and a few hours later a final agreement has been reached and documented. Achievements like this, together with ensuring that there is respect and dignity in reaching the agreement, makes Mediation one of the most important and worthwhile components of her practice.

Qualifications

Bachelor of Laws – University of New South Wales

Bachelor of Arts – The University of Wollongong

Accredited Specialist – Family Law (NSW)

Admitted to practice in the Supreme Courts of NSW

Admitted to practice in the High Court of Australia

Collaborative Law

Independent Childrens Lawyer

Nationally Accredited Mediator 

Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner

Memberships

The Law Society of New South Wales

The Law Society of ACT

The Law Council of Australia – Family Law Section

The Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators