Merger Creates Largest Brisbane-Based Specialist Family Law Firm

Posted at Legal Practice Intelligence - 1 August 2016

A new era in Brisbane family law is starting with the launch today (August 1) of Rice Naughton McCarthy – merging two long-standing and respected law firms into one.

Anne-Marie Rice and James Naughton from Rice Naughton and Kieran McCarthy from Jones McCarthy, all highly-regarded and accredited family law specialists, have joined forces to create the largest specialist family law firm headquartered Brisbane.

Rice Naughton McCarthy has a leadership team, including partner and accredited specialist Bruce Dodd, with almost a century of combined experience in the legal profession and are able to readily bring calm to often chaotic and difficult times for their clients.

LR: James Naughton, Anne-Marie and Kieran McCarthy

Another two accredited specialists, four solicitors and six support staff complete the full-service offering, including a depth of expertise in all aspects of family and relationship law including representation in mediation, arbitration, collaboration and litigation.

With all partners recognised as leaders and key players in their field of expertise, the merger will combine intellectual rigour with considered, respectful advice in the practice of family law.

Partner Anne-Marie Rice said Rice Naughton McCarthy would support clients through their parenting and property settlement matters and help them rebuild their lives in a positive way.

“Relationship breakdowns can be times of extreme emotions but just because lawyers are involved, it doesn’t mean that it has to be nasty,” Ms Rice said.

“A significant part of our job is making sure agreements are reached amicably, if possible, and avoiding unnecessary conflict so that the parties feel empowered and able to move on with and rebuild their lives.”

Ms Rice said the merger evolved because the partners shared a commitment to a compassionate, dedicated and efficient family law offering.

“We saw a compatibility in our approaches to practice and an opportunity to combine our expertise and resources to ensure we are able to provide excellent service to our clients no matter their means or the complexity of the issues,” she said.

“The Rice Naughton McCarthy lawyers will demystify the often complex law to, ensure clients are able to crystallise the issues and reach a dignified resolution.”

Partner Kieran McCarthy said the fit was a natural one. “Our two firms have a shared and intertwined history,” Mr McCarthy said.

“Partner Anne-Marie Rice and I learnt our trade together in a large commercial firm; Partner James Naughton and Senior Associate, Kirstie Day worked together at Jones Lawyers (later Jones McCarthy); I took James’s job at Jones Lawyers when he went to Sydney for a stint; and Bruce Dodd, Partner, and Anne-Marie Rice, Partner, have done a great deal of committee work together over the years.”

Anne-Marie Rice is one of only two women practitioners consistently listed as “leading” in each of the Queensland, peer nominated, Doyle’s Guides since its inception in 2012. Known for her intellect and insight, she teaches the family law subject at the University of Queensland and is one of only five women among the Australian Fellows of the prestigious International Academy of Family Lawyers.

James Naughton, Partner, is known as a strong and experienced litigator with particular expertise in complex financial matters. He is routinely nominated by his peers as a leader in the field. For the last two years Rice Naughton has been recognised as one of Australia’s leading family law firms. Its depth and expertise is only strengthened by the merger.

Partner, Kieran McCarthy is a Family Law Accredited Specialist who is highly regarded within the profession and beyond with more than 20 years’ experience. Widely known as “one of life’s good guys” he brings to practice a breadth of understanding of both the law and human nature and lends his expertise to the governing council of one of Queensland’s major not-for-profit health and education providers.

Partner, Bruce Dodd, is the Chair of the Queensland Law Society’s Family Law Specialist Accreditation Committee and is one of the most highly regarded Independent Children’s Lawyers in the State. His technical skills are second to none.

Through the Doyle’s Guide the family law community in Queensland recognises each of the Partners as as key players in their field of expertise. They form a formidable leadership group ably supported by an enviable team of highly experienced (and accredited) Senior Associates, an Associate trained in one of Sydney’s leading family law firms and three junior solicitors with commitments to family law evidenced by their regular volunteering of time at Brisbane’s major community legal centre.

Ms Rice said a track record of commitment to their craft, strong advocacy and respectful negotiations sets Rice Naughton McCarthy apart in a crowded family law market.

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