Barry Nilsson appoints 28 next generation leaders

01 July 2024

Barry Nilsson (BN), has today announced 27 internal promotions and a new principal hire across its network of offices, bolstering the firm’s strategy to deepen its expertise in the high-demand areas of family and insurance law.

From 1 July 2024, BN will appoint three new principals, seven special counsel, seven senior associates and nine associates across the firm’s Family Law and Insurance & Health Law practice groups. The new appointments also include a People & Culture Coordinator and a National People & Culture/Learning & Development Manager in the firm’s business services department.

Despite the current economic climate, demand for Barry Nilsson’s legal expertise has continued to grow, with a near 20% increase in revenue this financial year.

Recognised as an Employer of Choice for five consecutive years since 2019, the firm’s staff numbers have also grown by 11%, including an almost 9% increase in lawyer headcount to 236, according to incoming BN chairperson Peter Murdoch.

“This progress would not be possible without our national team of highly skilled staff,” Mr Murdoch said.

Newly appointed principals include existing BN lawyers, Jacob Luca (Insurance, Melbourne) and Matt Hempstead (Family, Brisbane), as well as new hire, Maya Sen (Family, Sydney), bringing the firm’s total number of principals to 41 across its practice areas nationally.

Maya Sen brings over 20 years of experience to BN’s national family law team, including most recently serving as a Practice Director of a first-tier family law firm in Sydney for over seven years. Her work includes acting for parties in complex financial cases involving high-net-worth individuals, family company and trust structures, and valuation issues. She also has a particular interest in the international aspects of family law disputes, including international relocation, child abduction and international cross-jurisdictional disputes. Maya has been consistently recognised in Doyle’s Guide since 2015 as a leader in her field, including most recently as a ‘Recommended Family & Divorce Lawyer’ in Australia and Sydney, and a ‘Leading Family Lawyer (High-Value & Complex Property Matters)’.

Outgoing BN Chairperson, Rhett Kennedy, said BN is thrilled to welcome Ms Sen to the national family law team.

“Having served as a Director at a leading Sydney family law firm, Maya brings a wealth of expertise, and bolsters our strategy in establishing BN as an East Coast leader in family law,” Mr Kennedy said.

Matt Hempstead is an Accredited Family Law Specialist with experience in a diverse range of family law matters, including property, domestic violence, child support and spousal maintenance. An experienced advocate, Matt has a particular interest in complex property and parenting matters and has been recognised as a Family Law Rising Star in Queensland in Doyle’s Guide.

Jacob Luca specialises in personal injury litigation. His experience includes public liability, motor vehicle accident claims and workers’ compensation claims, and he advises a variety of commercial and statutory insurers on issues including novel indemnity points, high quantum claims and complex multi defendant proceedings. Jacob has particular expertise advising on and responding to Medical Panel referrals under the Wrongs Act 1958 and the Accident Compensation Act 1985 and he is well versed in the American Medical Association Guides.

“In addition to their advanced technical ability, high standard of client service, and strong contribution to client relationship development, Jacob and Matt are being recognised for the leadership qualities they’ve upheld within their individual roles and practice areas, and as part of our wider BN team,” Mr Kennedy said.

“These appointments reflect our commitment to promoting internal talent and providing our people with opportunities to grow and take on new challenges.”

“We appreciate their significant contributions to the firm and are delighted to be able to recognise and reward their efforts in this way.”

The appointments follow the news that Insurance Law Principal, Peter Murdoch, will take on the role of BN Chairperson from 1 July.

Mr Murdoch succeeds Rhett Kennedy, who served for four years and will continue in his role as National Insurance & Health Lead Principal.

Promotions effective from 1 July 2024 are:


  • Jacob Luca – Insurance (Melbourne)
  • Matt Hempstead – Family (Brisbane)
  • Maya Sen – Family (Sydney)

Special Counsel

  • Audrey-Lee Pham – Insurance (Sydney)
  • Brett Sherwin – Insurance (Brisbane)
  • Cameron O’Reilly – Insurance (Melbourne)
  • Emma Baker – Insurance (Brisbane)
  • Meagan Murrell – Family (Brisbane)
  • Michael Massarotto – Insurance (Perth)
  • Tinashe Makamure – Insurance (Melbourne)

Senior Associate

  • Amanda Emonson – Insurance (Melbourne)
  • Anna Crawford – Insurance (Brisbane)
  • Ashlee Sherman – Insurance (Melbourne)
  • Bert Smallbone – Insurance (Perth)
  • Erick Culala – Insurance (Sydney)
  • Jack Young – Insurance (Perth)
  • Lucy Mitchell – Insurance (Melbourne)


  • Amanda Brady – Insurance (Melbourne)
  • Amanda Shukur – Insurance (Brisbane)
  • Carmen Zhu – Insurance (Sydney)
  • Gigi Lynis – Insurance (Brisbane)
  • Jason Xue – Insurance (Melbourne)
  • Michael Geraghty – Insurance (Brisbane)
  • Mikeala Wheadon – Insurance (Melbourne)
  • Remy Crozier – Insurance (Brisbane)
  • Ysabelle Kong – Insurance (Melbourne)

Business Services

  • Mackenzie Carsley – People & Culture Coordinator (Brisbane)
  • Rebecca Chan – National People & Culture/Learning & Development Manager (Sydney)

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