Director & Solicitor
Our Director Steph Hughes is a practising Solicitor and avid advocate for rural and agricultural Australia.
Having previously worked throughout much of New South Wales Steph has returned to the Central West where she was born and bred.
Steph established Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing in April 2014. In January 2015 the Parkes office of Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing was established shortly followed by our Forbes office in January 2017.
Steph holds various qualifications but most relevantly a Bachelor of Law, a Bachelor of Finance and Diploma of Legal Practice.
Steph is an avid activist for the legal industry in rural New South Wales and currently holds the position of President of the Central West Law Society. The Central West Law Society is the regional law society for the area from Bathurst to Parkes, Forbes and surrounding areas, including everything in between such as Orange.
Steph not only grew up on the land but now continues in farming herself on a small block on the outskirts of Forbes along the Lachlan River, operating an irrigated mixed farming and grazing operation.
Steph prides herself on being a country practitioner who is passionate about assisting people to achieve their goals.
When Steph is not at work you can usually find her running, with her kelpie Minnie, around the Forbes Lake or on a horse somewhere down by the river.
Licensed Conveyancer, Liz Leigo, was born and raised in Forbes. Liz completed her schooling and tertiary studies in Forbes before commencing work in a local law firm.
After a few years, Liz resigned from her employment in Forbes and moved interstate. After travelling around for approximately three years, Liz relocated to Parkes where she continues to reside with her husband and family.
Liz gained employment in Parkes with the same law firm she worked for in Forbes, where she stayed for many years. During this time Liz found that she enjoyed working on conveyancing matters and decided to further her education in this regard.
Consequently, she enrolled as a mature age student at Macquarie University where she successfully completed her studies over a period of two years and was granted her Conveyancer’s Licence in early 2014.
Liz joined Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing in 2015 and has been an invaluable asset to the team.
Liz has embraced the technological advances in modern conveyancing such as using PEXA settlements.
Solicitor Jessica Bourke is a local girl who grew up on a farm near Trundle.
Jess completed a double degree in Criminology and Law through the University of New England in 2015; completing most of her degree by distance education.
Jess completed the College of Law Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice in March 2016 and was admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia in May 2016.
Prior to becoming a solicitor Jess worked as a law clerk for several years in other rural firms where she gained invaluable knowledge and experience.
Jess has been recognised by the Central West Law Society having received the Bursary Award in 2010, 2015 and 2016.
Jess has a keen interest in all areas of the law but especially enjoys litigation and works mainly within our Family Law, Criminal Law and Wills and Estates areas of Law. Jess is also appointed to several Legal Aid panels.
Jess is passionate about providing a quality, ethical and innovative legal service to the local community.
Jess joined Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing in September 2016.
Marina Clayton is a country girl at heart who has lived everywhere from Bathurst to Sydney and even Darwin.
Marina completed a postgraduate law degree specialising in Corporate and Commercial Law at Macquarie University in 2017 and was awarded an Equity Scholarship for her academic excellence.
Before joining the team at Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing, Marina worked as a graduate solicitor for a Personal Injury Law firm in Sydney.
After having been away from the country for too long Marina jumped at the opportunity to work as a solicitor in the Central West and joined Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing in mid-May 2018.
While she continues to maintain an interest in Personal Injury Law she has an eagerness for Criminal Law, Commercial Law and Property Law. However, she aims to be a bit of jack of all trades and is keen to expand her experience and knowledge across most areas of law.
Marina also has previously volunteered in community law firms and is passionate about representing the vulnerable and minority groups who need a strong advocate to stand up for their rights.
When Marina is not working you can find her out on a 4WD driving track with her ute tyres deep in 4 foot of mud, or singing some Johnny Cash songs at your local karaoke night. It is believed that her voice is what many musicians strive to achieve through years of vocal training.
Dennis McGroder, Senior Solicitor, joined Palmer, Maccallum and Akon, a local Forbes law firm, in 1981 and became a partner in 1989.
From 2004, the firm then operated as McGroders Solicitors and Conveyancers.
Dennis has all the legal knowledge you could ask for, in all areas, and now works a few days a week for Hughes and Co. as a legal consultant.
Dennis is confident that Steph and our newly built team, will guide the legal practice into a new chapter with quality skills and service.
He looks forward to winding down over the next few years so he can enjoy some much deserved quality time with his wife Helen, three children and six grandchildren.
Sarah Black, is a Senior Solicitor, who came over from McGroders to work here with us as a member of the Hughes & Co team. where she works 3 days a week.
Sarah is involved in our Family Law Property matters; Wills, Powers of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardians and is on hand to assist in other areas of law as needed.
Sarah and her husband have lived on a property on the Lachlan River, West of Forbes, since 1987.
Sarah grew up in Port Macquarie, in Coastal NSW.
Before completing her Bachelor Degrees in Criminology and Law at the University of New England, she worked in Education, largely teaching First Aid and Life Skills. She continued her studies at the College of Law where she completed Graduate Diplomas in Legal Practice and Family Dispute Resolution.
Sarah was admitted into the Supreme Court of NSW in September 2016 and is accredited with the Attorney Generals’ Department as a Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner.
Since entering the Legal profession, Sarah has been working mostly in Conveyancing within a national firm. Being a small town girl, she jumped at the chance to get back to small town life, where she welcomed the idea of learning different areas of Law in a country practice.
Sarah joined Hughes & Co. in December 2018 and is dedicated to providing people focused solutions, and has a passion for assisting those in need.
When she isn’t working, Sarah enjoys reading, swimming, puzzles and you will always find her at a local trivia night!
Emily was born in Molong before moving to Tamworth, in North-West NSW.
Emily completed a double degree in Law and Political Science at the University of Newcastle in 2018 and was admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in February 2019. Before joining the Hughes & Co team as a Graduate Solicitor in December 2018, Emily worked as a Paralegal for Legal Aid NSW under the tutelage of the Criminal Law team in Orange NSW.
Emily loves the lifestyle small country towns offer and jumped at the opportunity to continue to work in the Central West. Emily has a passion for working in rural communities and ensuring legal services are accessible to those in need. with a passion for the study and practice of Criminal and Family law and works predominantly in these areas, based out of our Forbes Office.
She is eager to expand her knowledge base in a generalist firm and embrace all of the unique opportunities living and working in the Central West provides.
When she is not at work, Emily enjoys travelling around the Central West, spending time with her friends and family, singing along to some Country Music, and reading classic novels.
Kerrie brings with her 33 years of legal expertise to the Hughes & Co. team.
Working alongside Solicitors Palmer, Maccallum, Akon & McGroders for all those years, Kerrie has gained valuable experience along the way filling various roles over the years including office management, finance, conveyancing, workers compensation, criminal law and wills.
Kerrie is a well known Forbes local who likes to contribute to the community. She and her husband Chris raised their two children James and Kate on a property in the Bedgerabong community, before returning to town in the later years.
Kerrie has embraced her new role with the Hughes & Co Lawyers & Conveyancing team and in her spare time enjoys running and spending valuable time with family and friends.
Toni, was raised in Forbes. Toni married in 1991 and has lived, worked and raised her two children in and around Forbes and Parkes, (except for a short interlude on the Sunshine Coast between 2002 and 2006).
Toni has a Diploma in Child Care, Certificate III in Business Administration and has completed TAFE Courses in Business Studies, Word Processing, Shorthand and Finance.
Toni has worked for 15 years in various legal offices in NSW and QLD and also for over 10 years in Local and State Government Departments. Toni has worked in the areas of bookkeeping, publicity, administration, conveyancing, paralegal, debt recovery and office management.
Toni has also volunteered on many school and sporting committees, been a Girl Guide Leader in Forbes and assisted in setting up and running the Forbes Funhouse Inc which was an after school day care facility.
Toni started working at Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing this month. Toni has a passion for helping people, especially those less fortune than herself.
When Toni is not working she enjoys spending time with family and friends. She also enjoys spoiling her grandchild and spending time with her husband on their small farm on the Lachlan River.
Nicole was born and raised in Parkes, completing her schooling at Parkes High School.
Nicole commenced work as a Legal Secretary in 2010 part-time whilst she completed her Certificate III in Business Administration at TAFE. Thereafter, Nicole became a full-time Legal Secretary with a long standing law firm in Parkes and Peak Hill. Nicole remained in this employment for some six years before she joined the Hughes & Co. team in May 2016.
Nicole always has a friendly smile and polite phone manner. Nicole is usually one of the first members of the Hughes & Co. team to greet our valued clients and she is only too willing to help.
Nicole primarily assists in estates, family law, wills, power of attorney, enduring guardian, and criminal law but has a vast array of experience across all areas of country practice.
Jayde Allegri, starting working for McGroders in 2011 after a career in office management.
As a Paralegal now with Hughes & Co, Jayde has administrative experience in most areas of law including conveyancing, criminal law, family law, wills and estates, commercial law, and water law.
During her time she has built up a strong network of contacts across a number of regional entities and organisations allowing her to efficiently deal with most conveyancing, water law or commercial problems.
Her practical conveyancing knowledge often makes her the first point of contact for ongoing clients.
Outside of the office Jayde enjoys renovating and socialising with friends.
Legal Secretary Tara Heir grew up in a small country town located in the Riverina region of NSW.
Tara worked within the Real Estate Industry for over ten years. During this time Tara’s roles were very client focused and she prides herself in exceeding expectations.
Tara moved to Forbes in 2016 with her partner who grew up in the area and their son.
Moving to Forbes was an easy choice for Tara as she loved the sense of community and considered the area family friendly and a great place to raise a family.
2017 was an exciting year for Tara as she started working with Hughes and Coin August and purchased a home in Forbes.
Tara has many great attributes she brings to the Hughes and Co. team including her passion for learning, enthusiasm, motivation to succeed, a positive attitude and professional approach.
Adam Nicholson spent his teenage years in Parkes where he met a beautiful, intelligent local girl. The two moved to Sydney and have since moved back to Parkes to settle down and raise their wonderful children.
Adam studied Certificate 3 and 4 Business Administration at Parkes TAFE and Certificate 3 in Property Services Through OTEN.
Joining the Hughes and Co. team in September 2017, he looks forward to spending many years within the ever growing company.
When not at work Adam enjoys getting out in nature and exploring the local area, while indulging in his passions of photography and horticulture.
Betty has lived in Forbes all her life and has created a great relationship with the firms’ clients.
Betty started working for Palmer Maccallum & Co Solicitors on 20 November 1972 and was secretary for Richard and Arthur Palmer and Ian Maccallum, working in all areas of the law until she became Ian Maccallum’s Private Secretary for the next 30 years.
During that time she also trained many new employees.
In June 2004 Betty took on the role of Estates and Conveyancing for Dennis McGroder.
More recently Betty has been the Settlements Clerk taking over the files following exchange and carrying them through to completion.
Betty brings to Hughes & Co local knowledge and nearly 46 years of experience.
Emma has been in the legal industry for 10 years.
She completed her law studies in 2002 and began working at McGroders four and a half years ago.
Emma has always lived on the land. She is a committed ‘Active Farmers’ attendee, as well as an accredited teacher of competitive swimming.
Emma works out of our Forbes office, predominately working on Probates and Estates.
She is thoroughly enjoying working with Hughes & Co. and is looking forward to seeing the firm grow and develop.
Shannen Toole was born and raised in a small community called “Wirrinya”, half an hour from Forbes.
She attended school at Forbes Public School and finished her Higher School Certificate at Red Bend Catholic College in 2013.
Before starting at Hughes & Co, Shannen obtained a Certificate 3 in Business through TAFE, working for Agriwest CRT for 3 years associating with farmers. Shannen has also obtained her Hospitality Essentials qualification, allowing her to work behind bars at social functions with her Responsible Services of Alcohol Certificate.
Shannen worked under McGroder’s Solicitors and Conveyancers for over 12 months as front receptionist before she joined the Hughes & Co team working primarily from the Forbes office. You can always see her with a smile on her face when you walk through the door and she is enthusiastic to help you with any queries.
Shannen is interested in agriculture, animal health and studies, music, drama and singing. She also loves playing sport and will try her hand at just about anything.
Bronwyn is a new arrival to our Forbes office. Bronwyn was born in Narrabri and moving to Parkes Jan 2017 with her two children Ella and Daniel.
Bronwyn completed a Typing/Word Processing course at Metropolitan Business College after leaving school and moving to Sydney for 20 years and completed Business Administration Cert III once moving to Parkes.
Bronwyn has worked in various companies from her first job at her Uncle’s Private Investigation Company, Westpac Banking Corporation, PricewaterhouseCoopers, IBM and Roads and Maritime Services being an Executive Assistant in the Mining and Utilities Sector and Security Industry for 13 years. Temping with small jobs in between for the other 7 years as a Receptionist/Secretary.
Bronwyn started work at Hughes & Co. in December 2018 and loves living in the country where the community spirit makes it worthwhile.