The Gold Coast District Law Association was established in 1963 to support the city’s growing legal profession. Founding members included solicitors from many of the Gold Coast’s oldest and best known firms, including, Benn and Ken Price and Dennis Roobottom (Price & Roobottom Solicitors), Frank McLaughlin and John Gordon (McLaughlin Gordon and Lennon), David Hill and Peter Collas (Hill Collas Bradley and Short, now Short Punch & Greatorix and Collas Moro Ross), Tony Primrose and Alan Couper (Primrose and Couper, now Rudkin Hitchcock and Cronin Shearer) and Tony Steindl (Steindls). 

Since those early days, the association has grown to become a highly regarded Gold Coast legal institution. 

The Gold Coast District Law Association has the reputation of being one of the most active DLA’s. This stems from the GCDLA’s incorporation in 2000 which led to the statement of clear objectives for the Association. 

We welcome lawyers from all over the city from different practice areas. 

Our association is committed to providing support, events, news and information and community to all lawyers on the Gold Coast. 

Committee Members

Mia Behlau – President

Mia Behlau is a Special Counsel at Stone Group Lawyers working in the Dispute Resolution team. She has over 13 years’ experience in the law practice industry, focused on commercial litigation and resolving commercial disputes. 

Mia is skilled in Competition and Consumer Law, Breach of Contract, Insolvency, Construction Law and Franchising Disputes. 

Mia is known for employing a holistic philosophy to resolving commercial disputes and is skilled in implementing strategy and adopting a commercial focus to provide value and solutions to clients.

She is an advocate for Gold Coast Legal Practitioners, current President of the Gold Coast District Law Association and regular presenter for continuing legal education through the Queensland Law Society. 

Mia is also a third generation Gold Coaster, married to lawyer husband Ron Behlau and together they have 3 children aged 15, 13 and 2.

Dean Evans - Vice President

Dean Evans works as a partner at Evans & Company Family Lawyers. He has been an admitted solicitor for more than 23 years. His practice handles family and relationships law matters and has grown to include 8 lawyers working in that field. 

Dean is a QLS accredited specialist in family law and has been engaged as a committee member and as this year’s vice president within the GCDLA. 

Dean contributes to the Committee and the profession from the perspective of being a small firm partner, a practitioner working in simple to complex matters in the family law and domestic violence jurisdictions, employer, spouse and parent. 

He also co-ordinates a CPD Program for Gold Coast Family Lawyers aimed at providing cost effective, collegiate and topical continuing legal education for family lawyers


Cliff Kroesen - Secretary

Cliff Kroesen is the director of Kroesen & Co. Lawyers at Southport. Cliff has a background in litigation and practises in the areas of Estates and Family law. Cliff is an enthusiastic advocate for his clients and enjoys resolving disputes.

Cliff studied on the Gold Coast at both Griffith University and Bond University and enjoys being a part of the Gold Coast Legal Community.

Outside of work Cliff has had significant involvement with Southport Surf Lifesaving Club where he has been a surf rowing coach for many years.

Erin Mitchell - Treasurer

Erin Mitchell is a senior criminal lawyer at Potts Lawyers. She commenced her career in 2011 and now practises in criminal, traffic and domestic violence law, appearing in courts across Queensland.

She has a passion for assisting her clients through the criminal justice system and ensuring they understand their options. She was previously a student of the Innocence Project and now holds a seat on Griffith University’s Innocence Project Executive Committee and Advisory Board. She has enjoyed volunteering at the Robina Community Legal Centre, both in the capacity as a lawyer and the Events Coordinator on that committee in the past.

Erin joined the GCDLA Committee in 2016 and was elected as Treasurer in 2018. She is heavily involved in planning events for our members, as she strongly believes that friendships within the profession are key to a happy career. Her DLA highlights include being one of the founders of the GLAD mentoring program, chairing at the QLS symposiums, having the opportunity to interview members of the judiciary at a DLA breakfast and participating in the hotly contested Trivia, Barefoot Bowls and Beach Relay events.

Caralee Fontenele 

Caralee is the principal and director or Caldwell Family Lawyers. She drives a team of dedicated family lawyers that are focused on helping people through their family law issues. 

Caralee is skilled in property division, parenting issues, domestic violence issues and complex family law disputes. 

Caralee is known for providing clients with practical legal advice and solutions with a focus to provide value and solutions so that clients can move on with their life after separation and divorce. 

She has been an active member of the Gold Coast District Law Association for three years with a keen focus and influence on digital technology and communication to benefit members.

Joelene Nel

Joelene is a passionate and professional family lawyer and mediator, she practices at McLaughlins Lawyers on the Gold Coast. 

Joelene contributes to the legal profession and local community by mentoring lawyers and volunteering at the Robina Community Legal Centre, Women's Legal Services Queensland and RizeUp.

Since 2015 Joelene has been an active committee member of the Gold Coast District Law Association. Her involvement has included various initiatives of the GCDLA both networking and professional development. The hotly contested annual trivia night being her personal favourite, but the International Women’s Day High Tea with Carla Zampatti, assisting with the Robina Community Legal Centre Charity Ball and the GCDLA / QLS Sympoisum are other highlights. Joelene, with fellow committee members, Erin Mitchell and Kathy Atkins, also co-ordinate the GCDLA GLAD (Gold Coast Lawyers Achieving Development) mentoring programme. Joelene held the position of Treasurer on the GCDLA from 2015- 2018.

Joelene is an advocate for encouraging and creating practical ways for practitioners to build wellness and wholeness into their work and home life. Joelene’s weakness is chocolate! 

Kathy Atkins

Kathy was admitted to practice in 1985 and commenced practising on the Gold Coast in 1987, first in commercial and property law and then in family law. She currently holds the position of Special Counsel to Jones Mitchell Lawyers, a Gold Coast firm practising exclusively in family law and is an accredited family law specialist. 

She is also an Associate Professor and the Associate Dean (External Engagement and International) of the Faculty of Law at Bond University. 

Kathy is currently the Chair of the Family Law Committee of the Queensland Law Society and the Deputy Chair of the Specialist Accreditation Board of the Queensland Law Society. She has served as a committee member of the Gold Coast District Law Association since 1995. 

Kathy’s a member of the Association's "Gold Coast Lawyers Achieving Development" mentoring program sub-committee and values the opportunity to support young lawyers in their legal career journey.

Lauren Hicks 

Lauren is the Practice Director of Hix Lawyers and focuses her specialities within this practice in the areas of Class Actions, Corporate and Commercial Litigation. 

During her studies at Bond University, Lauren attained a Certificate of Specialisation in Corporate and Commercial Law as well as General Legal Practice. 

Despite holding a Queensland Practising Certificate and High Court of Australia Practising Certificate, she also has experience in New South Wales, Victoria, the Federal Court and tribunals including but not limited to, QCAT and NCAT. 

Lauren is an elected committee member who sits on the board of the Gold Coast District Law Association.

Ross Lee 

Ross Lee is a solicitor and notary public practising at Lee Lawyers, Southport. The firm specialises in litigation, insurance law and mediation. 

In litigation and mediation, the firm has experience in commercial, body corporate, estate, building, property, IP and insolvency disputes. 

Ross is well known for his insurance law practice, both in managing insurance programs and in claim disputes. His firm has a strong practice particularly in TPD and income protection, commercial, body corporate and assisting businesses defend workers compensation claims. 

Ross is a former insurance underwriter and loss adjuster; he remains an ANZIIF certified insurance professional. His client list includes many of Gold Coast’s largest bodies corporate and businesses.

Ross Lee is a QCAT sessional member, QLS senior counsellor and founding president of the Robina Community Legal Centre initiative, which is a national, state and local award-winner. Ross continues a long Gold Coast family tradition of service and philanthropy.

Elisha Hodgson

Elisha Hodgson is a solicitor at OMB Solicitors currently practicing in Commercial Litigation and Body Corporate. Having been born and raised on the Gold Coast, she has developed strong ties and a keen interest in inspiring and connecting likeminded professionals in the development of our growing professional community. 

She is passionate about giving back to the community by volunteering at the Robina Community Legal Centre (one of the many great foundations that GCDLA supports) and continuing to volunteer her time to various committee positions including the Bond Equestrian Club and Tallebudgera Pony Club. 

Elisha is enthusiastic about achieving the objectives of the GCDLA by promoting confidence and goodwill between our community and the legal profession by increasing networking and professional development opportunities. In her downtime, Elisha can be found surfing at the beautiful Burleigh point, competing in the sport of Show jumping (Equestrian) or coaching young riders in Equestrian from her property in Tallebudgera.


Anna Morgan

Anna Morgan is Special Counsel at Ramsden Lawyers and Practice Leader of their new Personal Injury offering under the brand Evolve Legal.

Anna has held positions in the GCDLA of President (3 years), Treasurer (2 years) and committee member (2 years). During Anna’s tenure as President, she focused on supporting member’s efforts to form relationships and networks through social events, supporting mental wellbeing initiatives for the benefit of the profession and lobbying for a Supreme Court presence on the Gold Coast.

Anna also authored and lectures a post-graduate subject at Bond University called Expert Witness & Dispute Resolution.    

Anna sits on organising committees for various QLS conferences including the QLS Symposium, Gold Coast Symposium and QLS Personal Injury Conference.

Prior to joining Ramsden, Anna had worked at Maurice Blackburn for over 8 years, after first spending more than 11 years at Minter Ellison.

Lynne Weathered

Lynne Weathered is a lecturer at Griffith Law School. She is the Director and one of the co-founders of the Griffith University Innocence Project – a pro-bono in-house clinic at Griffith Law School (Gold Coast campus) which brings together lawyers, academics and students to investigate claims of wrongful conviction with the aim of assisting people who have been wrongfully convicted.

From 2004 – 2014, Lynne was a Board Member of the (international) Innocence Network and she remains on the International Committee of the Innocence Network. 

As an academic, Lynne also teaches a wrongful conviction course at Griffith University and has published a number of journal articles on issues related to the investigation and correction of wrongful conviction both in Australia and internationally.

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