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.
Business Manager & Solicitor
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 joined Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing in September 2016 and is now the Business Manager.
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.
When Jess is not at work, she loves being with her husband Nick and their two boys.
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 and her husband have lived on a property on the Lachlan River, West of Forbes, since 1987.
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.
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. Emily has 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.
Office Manager & Paralegal
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 is our resident Family Law Paralegal, in between running both offices as Office Manager.
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.
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 over 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.
Symone was born and raised in Parkes.
Symone has a Certificate 3 in Financial Services and most people would have seen her at the Commonwealth Bank in Parkes throughout the 6 years she was there.
Symone moved to Forster in June 2017 to begin a career in Law working as a Legal Secretary, where she gained experience in criminal law, litigation, family law, wills and estates.
After relocating back to Parkes, Symone began working for Hughes & Co in May 2019 as a Legal Secretary.
She is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws through the University of New England by distance education, and intends to become a practicing Solicitor upon the completion of her degree.
When not at work or studying Symone loves spending time with her puppy Marshall, friends and family.
Bronwyn is our wonderfully talented, Parkes receptionist.
She was born in Narrabri and moved to Parkes in January 2017, with her two children Ella and Daniel.
Bronwyn completed a Typing/Word Processing course at the Metropolitan Business College after leaving school and before moving to Sydney for 20 years. She has also completed Business Administration Cert III in Parkes.
Bronwyn has worked in various companies from her first job at her Uncle’s Private Investigation Company, Westpac Banking Corp
oration, 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.
She started working at Hughes & Co. in December 2018 and loves living and working in the country, where the community spirit makes it worthwhile.
Natalie was born in Lismore and moved to Parkes in 2002, with her twin sister and family.
Nat has a diverse background of skills such as hospitality, Disability employment services, mining, nursing home and management skills and during all these positions she strived to excel with her customer service and friendly attitude towards everyone and developed great connections with those she was working with.
Nat joined Hughes & Co in May 2019 and now runs our Forbes office as the Receptionist. She has gained lots of valuable knowledge within her past employment and has bought these skills with her to Hughes & Co and strives to make every client feel welcomed into the Hughes & Co office with her bright friendly bubbly personality.
Nat has a lot of enthusiasm to learn more in the legal field and enjoys working with the friendly team at Hughes and Co.
When she is not working, Nat enjoys spending time with her family, friends and exploring the countryside.
After completing her schooling, Laura moved to Dubbo and completed a Traineeship in Certificate III in Business, where she gained many knowledgeable administration skills while completing her course.
Laura has also worked in the hospitality industry previously and has obtained her Certificate III as a Gel Nail Technician.
Laura joined the Hughes & Co team in July 2019 and predominately works in our Forbes office as a receptionist being one of the faces of our firm. She is enthusiastic and brings a friendly smiling face to the team with an eagerness to learn more.
When she is not at work, Laura enjoys being outside with friends and family, baking and exploring our beautiful country.