Many Australians can’t access the legal services they require, particularly in relation to family law matters. The term 'missing middle' refers to a large part of the community, who are typically low to medium income earners, that are not able to access the legal advice they need. These individuals often don’t qualify for government funded free legal services such as legal aid and, for financial or other reasons, cannot access services from private practice law firms.
In 2021, international law firm DLA Piper and Macquarie University, along with a number of partner organisations, created Wallumatta Legal to help meet this need. Originally opening in NSW, a grant from the Victorian Legal Service Board and a partnership with the University of Melbourne allowed us to expand into Victoria in 2024.
We are now part of a wider legal ecosystem, working to build equal access to justice across Australia. Meet our founders and friends.
The Wallumatta Legal team consists of experienced lawyers, including our Head of Legal and Principal Solicitor, Vivian Galanis. The firm is also supported by our Head of Operations, Kisanne Dulin, and skilled volunteers from our supporters including staff and students from Macquarie University Law School.
Our team is passionate about access to justice and ensuring that all Australians can access the legal services they require.
Vivian is the Principal Solicitor of Wallumatta Legal and is also a director of the Board. Vivian has practiced exclusively in family law at a national law firm, and more recently lead the family law service at a Community Legal Centre. She is a pragmatic and confident advocate that brings great empathy and compassion to her work. Vivian is dedicated to improving access to justice for everyday Australians from all socio-economic backgrounds, education, and life experience. She is also passionate about mentoring university students and law graduates.
As Head of Operations, Kisanne utilises her background and experience in general management from not-for-profit and professional services environments to manage the ‘non-legal’ aspects of Wallumatta Legal. She is passionate about addressing the need for equity in access to justice and embraced the opportunity to be a part of an organisation that is seeking to make a difference by doing things a bit differently. Working with the lawyers, Board, and other stakeholders, Kisanne is focused on ensuring that as many clients as possible are able to access high quality, timely and affordable family law services.
Miran is a senior solicitor at Wallumatta Legal. She is passionate about supporting clients to engage with the Family Law process and convey their own personal stories, so that they feel acknowledged and heard. Miran’s skills in negotiation, representation and advocacy were mostly nurtured in family law, where her experience spans simple to complex parenting and property settlement matters. Miran is qualified in the Collaborative Practice method of dispute resolution and is a strong believer in settlement-focused practice. At the heart of her practise, Miran is driven by values of social justice and an empathy for families and communities.
Nicky is a Senior Solicitor and an Accredited Family Law Specialist. She is experienced in all areas of family law including parenting, property, family violence and child support and was a senior solicitor at a well-known family law firm prior to joining Wallumatta Legal. Nicky chairs a number of family law committees (and an animal law one) at the Law Institute of Victoria and has a passion for advocating for family violence law reform, including law reform advocating for better protection of affected family members and their pets and believes that that legal advice should come with care and compassion.
Priyanka is a Senior Solicitor at Wallumatta Legal. She is an experienced lawyer who is passionate about supporting clients to achieve practical and favourable outcomes by way of negotiation, or where necessary, litigation. She strives to provide a thorough, professional and sensitive service to her clients. Priyanka has a strong commitment to access to justice and wishes to provide a voice to those who might not otherwise be heard, in the family law system.
Catherine has practiced almost exclusively in family law since her admission to the Supreme Court of NSW. Prior to admission, she worked an English and Music teacher. This professional background has equipped her with the skills to explain complex legal concepts and processes in everyday language. Catherine has a sensitive and empathetic approach that ensures that her clients feel listened to and understood. She has experience in divorce matters, complex parenting and property settlements, and is passionate about advocating for clients and children who have experienced family violence.
Simran has practised exclusively in Family Law since her admission to practice. She has assisted clients across a range of family law matters, including complex property disputes and highly contested parenting matters often involving intersecting vulnerabilities such as mental health issues, family violence and substance abuse. Simran meets the unique challenges every family presents with compassion and pragmatism and offers clear, sensitive, and practical advice to guide families towards the best possible outcome. Prior to admission, Simran completed a Juris Doctor at Melbourne University Law School and a Bachelor of Arts (Sociology and Psychology) at the University of Sydney.
Monique is currently a Juris Doctor Student at Macquarie University. Through her PACE placement and additional volunteering, she has enthusiastically joined the team to pursue a career in family law. Monique has a background in psychology, business and industrial chemistry. She strives to approach every situation with compassion, curiosity and integrity. Passionate about social justice, Monique began volunteering at Lifeline in 2016. She has continued to pursue opportunities that actualise the ideals of fair treatment and equitable status of all individuals. The ethos of Wallumatta Legal and excellent company culture has made her decision to devote her efforts in this field an incredibly easy one.
Wallumatta Legal was established with a founding board of directors and is currently recruiting for new board members to broaden its diversity and range of expertise.
Lise is a member of the Board of Directors at Wallumatta Legal, a Professor of Law and Dean of Macquarie Law School. In addition to her roles at Macquarie University, Lise maintains her professional practice as an accredited mediator on the panel for the NSW Community Justice Centre, and member of the National Sports Tribunal. Lise teaches courses in Legal Ethics and Alternative Dispute Resolution.
Gerry is the Chairman of Wallumatta Legal and leads the Board of the firm. Gerry has more than 25 years' experience particularly in highly regulated industries and advises on corporate governance and ESG issues. He has advised boards of both large and small corporations, government departments and agencies, and not-for-profit entities.
Annette is a member of the Board of Directors at Wallumatta Legal, and a Senior Pro Bono Consultant with international law firm, DLA Piper. Annette has a long record of building and mentoring law firm pro bono in Australia and Asia, and developing innovative ways for people to access justice, particularly in the areas of violence against women and homelessness, as well as in delivering economic and educational opportunities for marginalised people. Her current focus is on dismantling barriers to middle income earners asserting their legal rights. Annette is a co-founder of Wallumatta Legal.
Daniel is a Director of Wallumatta Legal and is a member of the Board. He is an Associate Professor and Deputy Director of the Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law at the University of New South Wales, and an Honorary Professor at Macquarie University. His research focuses on access to justice, legal technology and refugee and human rights law. He is a Board member at other access to justice organisations and is the founder of the Macquarie University Social Justice Clinic.
Wallumatta Legal was founded by DLA Piper and Macquarie University in 2021.
We have worked with a broad spectrum of organisations from within the wider legal community to build Wallumatta Legal, and the support they have provided has been immediate, affirming and generous.
Thank you to our founders and friends for their contributions and commitment, and for sharing their expertise and experiences in making justice accessible.
If you’d like to become a friend of Wallumatta Legal, please contact us at email@example.com