Melanie Heffernan – Director Principal
Melanie is the Director Principal of South East Lawyers, having responsibility for all firm matters. Melanie also heads up the Commercial Law Department, Property Law Department and Wills/Estates Department at South East Lawyers.
Melanie has over 15 years’ experience as a lawyer, working in the following areas:
- Commercial and Business Law, including sales/purchases of businesses, agreements, terms and conditions, shareholder/unitholder agreements and disputes
- Deceased Estates
- Succession Planning, intergenerational wealth, Wills and Powers of Attorney
- Will challenges, acting on behalf of challenging parties and Executors
- Self-Managed Superannuation Funds
- Personal Property Securities Register
- Trusts and asset structuring
- Property, commercial, residential and owners corporations
- Retail leasing
Melanie is a graduate of the University of Melbourne and undertook her articled clerkship with Ann Gambetta and Associates. Since her admission to the legal profession, she has worked her way up the corporate ladder, from employee to partner in several law firms. In July 2016, Melanie became Director Principal of South East Lawyers.
Melanie is a current member of the Law Institute of Victoria’s Personal Properties Securities Group and is an acknowledged expert in the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 (Cth). Melanie regularly devotes her time to educating the public on various legal matters through her appearances on Joy FM and GMTV GotMoney.
Ann Gambetta – Consultant
Ann has over 35 years’ experience as a lawyer, practicing in areas such as commercial and business law, property law, wills and estates, and litigation. Ann’s extensive knowledge in these areas allows her to achieve excellent, practical and commercially sensible outcomes for her clients.
Ann was admitted to practice in 1984 and commenced solo practice in 1986. By 1993, she had opened Ann E. Gambetta & Associates (the forerunner of South East Lawyers) in Croydon.
Apart from owning her own legal practices, Ann is, and has been for many years, a successful owner of other local businesses.
Ann is very active in the local community and is a past president of the Croydon Chamber of Commerce and Industry and is a recipient of the and Westpac Ruby Award. She previously sat on the Maroondah Business Advisory Committee, applying her business acumen to projects with the Maroondah environs.
Courtney Salter – Family Lawyer
LL.B BA GDLP
Courtney practises solely in family law, giving her an excellent knowledge base for all family law issues including property disputes, parenting issues, child support queries and intervention order proceedings. Courtney is a member of the Law Institute of Victoria and the Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia. She regularly attends seminars to remain up to date with recent developments and industry best-practice.
Courtney was admitted to practice in 2009 after completing a Bachelor of Arts (Criminal Justice Administration) at RMIT University, and subsequently, her Bachelor of Laws at Monash University.
Courtney is a strong advocate of protecting clients against family violence. She is sensitive to the issues surrounding domestic violence and assists victims of family violence, both woman and men, on a regular basis.
Courtney is also a strong advocate of encouraging parties to reach agreement and finalise matters as quickly and amicably as possible. She works in conjunction with local support services, such as mediation and counselling centres to achieve the best outcomes for her clients. In the event that Court proceedings are necessary, Courtney has extensive experience in representing and guiding clients through the Court process in the Federal Circuit Court.
Courtney’s focus is on supporting clients through the process of separation and family breakdown, by minimising the emotional and financial stress. The ultimate aim for our clients is to help them move forward with life, so they can not only survive but thrive.
Bridgette Dempsey – Junior Lawyer
Junior Lawyer, B.A. LL.B
Bridgette joined South East Lawyers as a Junior Lawyer in July 2018 after being admitted to practice in Victoria in April 2018. Bridgette holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts, both from Monash University. Bridgette also holds a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice from the Leo Cussen Centre for Law.
As a Junior Lawyer, Bridgette is becoming a fundamental member of the firm’s commercial and estate planning team, learning from our highly experienced lawyers.
Nicolette Bell – Office Manager
Nicolette’s role is pivotal in ensuring that South East Lawyers has a consistently well-run office that provides the highest level of support and service to the firm’s solicitors and, in turn, enabling South East Lawyers to deliver excellent service and attention to our clients.
Nicolette has worked in the legal industry since 2003 with several law firms in the Eastern Suburbs. Firstly starting as a receptionist, then working her way up to become a Law Clerk in the areas of Family Law and Conveyancing and subsequently Office Manager. In 2015 Nicolette accepted the role as Office Manager with South East Lawyers.
Nicolette is a Fellow of the Institute of Legal Executives, having undertaken her Certificate III in Business Administration (Legal), and her Advanced Diploma of Business in Legal Practice.
Denise Parks – Conveyancing Clerk
Denise is the first point of contact for all of our conveyancing matters and works closely with our property lawyers on a range of different conveyancing transactions. Denise has extensive knowledge of the conveyancing industry with over 40 years’ experience in residential and commercial conveyancing.
Denise commenced working in 1972 as a Titles Office Clerk for Morris Komesaroff Aarons & Co. At the time, the legal industry was an entirely manual system, with trips to the Land Titles Office and State Revenue Office being a regular part of Denise’s day.
Since then, Denise has worked for a number of firms in New South Wales and Victoria, where she has been responsible for handling conveyancing from a client’s initial instructions, right through to settlement.
As times have changed, Denise has embraced new technologies developed in the legal industry. She has been at the forefront of the PEXA system and the changeover to electronic conveyancing in Victoria. Denise uses her expertise to work directly with PEXA and the State Revenue Office to improve those systems for the benefit of the industry.
Angela Adams – Accounts Manager
Angela joined South East Lawyers as our Accounts Manager in April 2017. Originally seconded on a one year contract, Angela has proved herself as an asset to our firm and has been extended on a permanent basis.
Angela holds a Bachelor of Accounting from Monash University and is a registered tax agent. She is responsible for all financial matters in our firm, including raising invoices and collecting debtors.
Kathryn Smith – Legal Assistant
Kathryn is our Family Law Legal Assistant. Since her commencement with South East Lawyers in June 2016, she has worked closely with our family law solicitors, in ensuring that our clients receive the highest level of service.
Kathryn has extensive experience in Family Law, having commenced her career in the legal industry in 1992. Despite the ever-changing rules and regulations in the industry, Kathryn has maintained a solid working knowledge of Family Law.
Tracey Van Eck – Receptionist
Tracey is the most recent addition to our team having joined South East Lawyers in July 2019 as Receptionist.
Tracey commenced working with South East Lawyers as a casual relief receptionist, but quickly made herself an invaluable member of the team. Tracey is the first port of call in assisting clients in person and on the phone. Her cheerful disposition immediately helps clients know that with South East Lawyers they are in good hands.
Tracey has a strong background in customer service and administrative duties. She provides crucial assistance to all clients and staff at South East Lawyers to ensure that the firm achieves the best service delivery possible.