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 i
n 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.
Business Manager & Solicitor
Business Manager & Solicitor Jessica Bourke is a local girl who grew up on a farm near
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 is passionate about giving back to the community and to her peers. Jess was the Central West Law Society Young Lawyers Representative in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Jess is currently the Central West Law Society Vice President. Jess also organises professional training for Young Lawyers and has volunteered with PCYC to teach the traffic offender program.
Jess joined Hughes & Co. Lawyers & Conveyancing in September 2016 and became Business Manager in early 2019.
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.
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 m
ature 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 and is our residential conveyancing guru.
Sarah Black, is a Senior Solicitor, who came over from McGroders to work here with us as a member of the Hughes & Co team.
Sarah is an experienced Solicitor and at one stage had her own practice in Parramatta.
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 and she is currently working in the Forbes office three days a week.
Sarah and her husband, Andrew, have lived on a property on the Lachlan River, West of Forbes, since 1987.
When not in the office, you can find Sarah gallivanting around the Southern Highlands, or
on the green, where she is an highly acclaimed golf player (not that she’ll tell you that herself). To keep up with Sarah’s golfing achievements, you can usually catch them in the local paper, the Forbes Advocate.
Solicitor, Teghan Coates,
who joined Hughes & Co. in November 2019. spent all her childhood in the nearby town of Wodonga surrounded by her loving family.
After successfully completing her Law Degree with Deakin University and her Practical Legal Training with the College of Law, Teghan is now undertaking her Masters in Applied Family Law, with the College of Law, as well a
s her Masters in Criminal Practice with the University of Wollongong.
After taking a short time away from the law to travel, work abroad including America and the Torres Straits, and spend time with her daughters, Teghan is now more passionate and determined to advocate for her clients.
Teghan says that she moved
to Forbes because she recognised the beauty of the town and aims to bring her children up in an environment that supports and shares her community values.
When not working or studying Teghan is kept very busy with her two children, Sylvie and Rosie and her three dogs, Dusty, Dash and Teddy Sparkles.
Teghan is very excited about commencing her role with Hughes & Co. and is looking forward to meeting you a
Stephen Warren joined Hughes & Co as a solicitor in March 2020. Stephen was born and raised in Newcastle and prior to becoming a Solicitor was a member of the NSW Police Force rising to the rank of Senior Sergeant. During his 20 year policing career he worked in general duties, criminal investigation and as a police prosecutor in a variety of operational police commands including Eastern Suburbs, Sydney City, Bankstown, Mudgee and Blacktown. He also spent several years working in police human resour
ces. Stephen completed his Bachelor of Laws through the University of New England in August 2019 and was admitted to the Supreme Court of NSW in December 2019. He also holds degrees in Arts and Policing.
Stephen is motivated by a desire to assist clients to find practical and cost-effective solutions. Stephen has a keen interest in all of the firms practice areas but has a particular interest in criminal, family and succession law.
When not at work, Stephen enjoys spending time with his wife and three young children in their new home in Parkes.
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 moved to Forbes in early 2018 and bought a house there in early 2019, after deciding that Forbes would be great place to live and grow her family.
Nicole was made Office Manager in late 2019, and now splits her time between both offices, helping everyone with office management, as well as assisting with Family Law matters, Estates and Debt Recovery.
Accounts Manager & Paralegal
Accounts Manager & Conveyancing Assistant, Kerrie Hessel brings with her 33 years of legal expertise after joining the Hughes & Co. team during the McGroders merge.
Working alongside Solicitors Palmer, Maccallum, Akon & McGroders for all those years, Kerrie 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.
Kez, as she is known, has embraced her new role within the Hughes & Co Lawyers & Conveyancing team and is the first port of call for all your residential conveyancing enquiries.
In her spare time, Kez enjoys spending valuable time with family and friends and is a long distance running/hiking enthusiast, who is always out searching for her next track to trek, or next mountain to climb.
Office Manager & Paralegal
Emma West has been in the legal industry for over 10 years and has recently been promoted to an Office Manager.
She completed her law studies in 2002 and began working at McGroders in 2014.
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 thoroughly enjoys 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.
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.
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 joined Hughes & Co in May 2019 as a Receptionist and quickly achieved her goal to become a Legal Secretary, with her “go get ’em” attitude and determination. 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.
Janelle Hopkins, was born and raised in Tottenham before moving and living in Dubbo and Cobar.
Janelle’s previous positions consist mainly of administration roles and she worked as the Practice Manager of Tottenham Medical Centre for several years.
In 2017 Janelle and her family relocated to Forbes where she worked as Property Manager for Tara Kelly Real Estate and Century 21 Central West for the past 2 years.
Janelle has a Certificate III in Office Administration, a Certificate III in Fitness, a Diploma in Practice Management and a Real Estate Licence.
Janelle joined our team in November 2019 and assists with reception in our Forbes office, along with working on various files with Steph.
When not working, Janelle like to spend time at home gardening, baking and spending time with her family.
Bronwyn Wilkinson is one of our warm and friendly, receptionists.
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.
Laura Milsom was born and bred in Dunedoo and moved to Forbes in 2018.
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 is one of the first friendly faces you will see sitting at reception at 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.