CE Family Law's Louise Hunter had an Erin Brockovich for a grandma

Hunter finds it an achievement to be able to help clients beyond giving legal advice

CE Family Law's Louise Hunter had an Erin Brockovich for a grandma
Louise Hunter

Louise Hunter had an Erin Brockovich for a grandmother, and the stories she would hear as she grew up would enthral Hunter to go into law herself. Today, Hunter is a family lawyer with CE Family Law after making the jump from Lander & Rogers, and her goal is to guide both adults and children going through family law matters – and not just by providing legal advice.

In this interview, she talks taking on a teaching role at the University of Melbourne, the upcoming Family Law Amendment Act, and the value added by psychologists to families struggling with tough times.

What made you choose a career in law, and what's your favourite part of the job?

My grandma worked at a legal practice as a sort of “Erin Brockovich” (a non-qualified lawyer who did legal work) when she was younger and I grew up hearing all sorts of stories about that which I found fascinating.

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My favourite part of being a family lawyer is helping people navigate such a difficult and stressful period in their lives. I find this even more rewarding in matters involving children. When I first met with the CE Family Law Directors I was drawn to them for several reasons, one being our shared focus on supporting both the adults and the children in family law matters.

What is going on at the organisation? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?

The organisation is going through a really exciting growth stage. It is great to be a part of this journey. I am excited to be able to share my insights and experiences from working in a multi-disciplinary city-based practice. CE Family Law has a focus on client and referral relationships and ensuring exceptional client service. I am particularly excited about being part of this initiative.

What has been your proudest accomplishment in the last year or so? Or what’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year and what advice can you give fellow lawyers about it?

I have recently started a new role at the University of Melbourne teaching family law as part of the JD program with my friend and former colleague Catherine Hillis and the wonderful Professor Belinda Fehlberg. I think being contacted by Belinda last year in relation to this role was a very proud and exciting day for me. I have always loved further study and have completed my Masters of Law at the University of Melbourne and various other courses from time to time. It is really rewarding to be able to share my experience and knowledge with the next generation of family lawyers.

What should the profession focus more on?

As a profession, I think we need to do more to focus on keeping clients out of litigation where possible and assisting parties to resolve matters early to reduce the impact on the family unit and particularly the children. As lawyers we have an opportunity to help families navigate a very difficult period of their lives and we need to do our best to limit the hardship and trauma that can be associated with family law matters.

What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward? What challenges are particularly pressing in the country’s legal industry?

The profession as a whole is interested to see how the Family Law Amendment Act will affect family law matters moving forward. It will be interesting to see how the court treats the impending amendments in the cases to follow. The amendments relate to parenting matters and the way the court approaches them. These amendments come into force in May 2024.

What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?

I am looking forward to setting up my practice within CE Family Law and building my referral network within the Bayside area where I have lived my whole life.

If you weren’t in law, what do you think you’d be doing as a career?

I think I would be a psychologist because I get a great sense of achievement through supporting my clients through difficult non-legal aspects of their lives in addition to the legal advice I provide. Psychologists are an integral part of the family law system and I see the value they add to families going through difficult times.  

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