Executive Management Team
Dr Graham Hill - Director of Legal Aid WA
Graham Hill started as CEO of Legal Aid WA in May 2018. Graham was the Chair of National Legal Aid from 2017-18. He served as CEO of Legal Aid Tasmania from 2014-18. Before that, Graham spent three years as Deputy Secretary, Courts, at the Department of Justice in Victoria. He was Director of the Legal Branch at the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet for eight years.
Graham worked for 14 years as a lawyer in private practice and was a partner in a Melbourne law firm. He also served as an Associate to a Federal Court judge. Graham has a Bachelor of Economics and a Master of Laws from Monash University. He also has a specialist doctorate in law from the University of Melbourne.
Lee Baker - Business Services
Lee commenced working at Legal Aid WA in November 2003 and has held the position of Chief Finance Officer for the past 10 years. She is a qualified Certified Practising Accountant and is a member of CPA Australia.
Since May 2017, Lee has also been the Acting Director of Business Services. In this role, she is responsible for the delivery of corporate services to support the operation of all the other Divisions of Legal Aid WA. Additional responsibilities include overall agency financial management, reporting to external stakeholders, policy advice to the Attorney General and providing a secretariat at Commission meetings.
Colleen Brown - Client Services
Colleen was admitted to practice in NSW in 1988 and to practice in WA in 1992. Her journey in law has taken her to different parts of Australia, working in a range of environments including a large-scale national firm in Sydney, regional offices in Port Macquarie and Busselton and a boutique family law firm in Perth. Colleen joined Legal Aid WA in 1996 as a children’s representative and thereafter moved to set up Legal Aid WA’s Alternative Dispute Resolution Program in 2001.
She has been the head of Client Services since July 2008 and her main interest is in intake and assessment and creating clear, positive pathways for clients requiring legal assistance. Colleen is a qualified Independent Children’s Lawyer, Arbitrator and Collaborative lawyer.
Julie Jackson - Family Law
Julie began work at Legal Aid WA in 1985 and has established herself as a recognised leader in representing children in protection and care, family law and criminal law matters. In 2009, Julie was awarded WA Woman Lawyer of the Year in recognition of her commitment to her clients and the legal profession.
Julie has an active role in the development of law reform and policies regarding child protection, family law and family violence. She has a special interest in improving court processes, information sharing and interagency collaboration, to achieve better court outcomes for children and victims of family violence.
In 2010, Julie completed a Churchill Fellowship researching the integration of Family Court and Children’s Court services in other countries. She has served as Chair of the WA Family Pathways Network and currently serves on its Steering Committee. Julie is a Convenor of the Family and Domestic Violence Advisory Network and a member of working groups overseeing the information sharing protocols between courts, the police and other government agencies regarding child protection and family violence issues.
Julie has been the director of the Family Law Division at Legal Aid WA since 2011.
Maureen Kavanagh - Criminal Law
Maureen started working at Legal Aid WA in 1993 and has held a number of senior management roles including Manager of Assignments and Client Services. She has been the Director of the Criminal Law Division since July 2008. In her role, Maureen is responsible for the delivery of criminal law services comprising one on one representation under a grant of aid as well as duty lawyer and non litigation services.
Maureen also takes an active role in promoting and supporting best practice initiatives. She is a member of a number of working parties and reference groups, including National Legal Aid working groups. Maureen is National Legal Aid’s Statistics Consultant and is interested in how client data can be used to promote evidence-based decision making. She is also interested in optimising technical solutions to create efficiencies, in particular to reshape time-consuming transactions and manual tasks to reduce administrative costs.
Maureen also has an academic background lecturing at Edith Cowan University for almost 10 years and tutoring at the University of Western Australia. She holds a Commerce degree and a Law degree from the University of Western Australia and completed a post graduate Certificate in Public Sector Management in 2000.
Gemma Mitchell – Civil Law
Gemma joined Legal Aid on 1 February 2021 as the Division Director, Civil Law and is also responsible for the Pilbara and Indian Ocean Territories.
Gemma was previously at the Consumer Credit Legal Service where she was the Managing Solicitor. She obtained a Bachelor of Laws with Honours degree at the University of Notre Dame Australia, and brings private practice and in-house experience gained through various law firms in Australia and the United Kingdom. She also holds a Bachelor of Science majoring in Psychology with Honours.
Gemma is an effective leader who has anticipated change, defined strategic choices, fostered a positive culture and pro-actively shaped the organisation’s future. She enjoys delivering quality services and supporting and strengthening the business units she leads.
Jane Stewart - Legal Practice Development
Jane joined Legal Aid WA in 1994. She has held a number of senior roles, including acting Solictor in Charge of the Magistrates Court Section.
Since July 2008, Jane has been director of Legal Practice Development which is or has been responsible for graduate recruitment and training (including Legal Aid WA's graduates or articled clerks), the Country Lawyer's Program, career planning with in-house lawyers, professional development and training including Legal Aid WA's annual Summer Series CPD events, Audit and Compliance, Legal Resources and Content, and creating community legal education resources.
Reviewed: 11 March 2021