Our Professionals

Our 'best people' are not only recruited for their technical ability, but for their industry understanding and for their approach to doing business.

We pride ourselves on being flexible and pro-active which enables us to build open and honest relationships with each other and our clients. We allow our people to be individuals, express opinions and contribute to outcomes for clients.

We have a real commitment to our people who in turn have a real commitment to our clients.

Meet our Lawyers

Craig Doyle – Principal Lawyer LLB, BEc

CraigCraig is an accredited specialist by the Law Society of NSW in both business law and commercial litigation. He is an arbitrator of both the Local Court and the District Court and was admitted as a solicitor in 1984.

Craig's clients include property developers, entrepreneurs, corporations and business people. Craig worked for major national law firms in his early years of practice. He specialises in commercial transactions and documentation, commercial property, property development, the Retail Leases Act and issues with corporations. He is the firm's lead partner in commercial litigation and acts in commercial and transactional disputes.

Craig has a Certificate in Foundations of Directorship from the AICD and is a Notary Public.

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Brian Blakemore – Senior Lawyer


Brian provides legal advice to government authorities, financial institutions, building societies, private companies and individuals in a wide range of property related transactions. He acts for developers in some of Newcastle's largest residential and commercial/industrial developments.

Brian's 40+ years experience and knowledge enables him to provide specialist advice in relation to complex property sales and acquisitions, leases, mortgages, securities, planning and environment and compulsory acquisitions.

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John Saddington – Senior Lawyer

John has been working in legal practices for over 40 years in the areas of conveyancing (commercial and domestic), purchase and sale of business, commercial leasing, wills and estates, family provisions claims, testamentary (will) trusts, commercial litigation, superannuation including acquisition of real estate by a Self-Managed Super Funds and family discretionary trusts.

John has been a director of a building supply business and a director of other small businesses, and as a result, has an acute understanding of the needs of business clients. He was a board member of the local branch of the YMCA and has acted for licenced clubs.

John’s experience in conveyancing includes acting for developers on staged strata and land developments, and also for a retirement village operator.

He also brings to McDonald Johnson his very experienced legal staff, Sharon Derwin, Sandra Hooper, and Karen Barry.

Outside of work John enjoys spending time with family, sailing, swimming, kiteboarding & surfing (badly) and had a short stint at gliding at Warkworth.

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Lee-Anne Dimmock- Senior Lawyer BEc, LLB, Dip Leg Prac

Lee-Anne Dimmock has over 15 years’ experience practising in the following core areas:

  • Property & Development;Lee-Anne
  • Business succession & Estate Planning;
  • Corporate Law; and
  • Commercial Law.

Lee-Anne's expertise and understanding of the interplay of the above practice areas allows her to provide her clients with in-depth knowledge and practical advice.

Due to her knowledge, diligence, appreciation of commercial considerations and proactive approach, Lee-Anne has recent experience acting for a number of developers in mixed use strata and stratum construction projects.  Lee-Anne’s high level skills are evident in her pragmatic advice on subdivision strategy and titling considerations, drafting of project specific special conditions, by-laws, easements and management statements and liaising with project consultants to ensure a co-ordinated approach for the developer.

Lee-Anne has a niche area of practice assisting clients with their business succession and estate planning needs.  By reviewing a client’s existing superannuation and life policies, trust arrangements and business interests, Lee-Anne assists to cut through any confusion for clients when considering estate and non-estate succession planning.  She also encourages open communication with a client’s accountant and/or financial planner to break down any barriers a client may feel to ensure a comprehensive and co-ordinated approach between advisers.

Lee-Anne’s experience includes implementing intellectual property protection strategies, banking and finance structuring, due diligence for business acquisitions and commercial litigation.

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Peter Owens – Special Counsel BA, LLB

Peter has practised as a Solicitor in Newcastle since 1980.

Areas of law in which Peter has significant experience include:

  • All aspects of buying, selling and leasing residential, commercial and industrial properties;Peter
  • Land development and subdivision including easements and covenants;
  • Strata title development and management;
  • Old System title and conversion and Crown Land dealings;
  • Residential and commercial developments;
  • Assistance with relocation of executives of a number of listed Public Companies in NSW;
  • Estate planning;
  • Estate administration; and
  • Elder law.

Over time Peter has acted for a number of Listed Public Companies as well as major property developers in Newcastle and the Hunter region.

Presently Peter is a Board member of Northern Metropolitan Cemeteries Trust, having been appointed to this position by the NSW Government.

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Andrew Johnson – Special Counsel BEc, LLBAndrew J

Andrew was admitted as a solicitor in 1987 and is an Accredited Specialist in Property Law.

He practises in the area of Estate Planning including Wills, Testamentary Trusts, Powers of Attorney and Appointment of Enduring Guardians. 

With superannuation becoming increasingly important as a financial resource for many, Andrew strongly believes in liaising closely with clients’ financial advisors when reviewing their estate planning needs.

As one of the earlier practitioners in the area to become accredited by the Law Society of New South Wales as a specialist in property law, Andrew has extensive experience in residential and commercial conveyancing, commercial and retail leasing, and has a particular interest in Old System title.

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Anna Shelly – Lawyer BComn (Dist), LLB, Dip Leg PracAnna

Anna commenced practise with the firm in 2015, gaining a wealth of experience in a variety of practise areas including commercial litigation, family law, debt recovery, family provision claims, personal injury and insurance litigation.

Shortly after joining the firm, Anna pursued her passion for family law and began focusing her practise on assisting parties navigating the often-stressful family law process.

Anna is adept at providing practical, easy to understand advice and at negotiating speedy and positive outcomes for her clients. She is a skilled writer and an empathetic ear.  

Anna regularly appears in family matters before the Newcastle Family and Federal Circuit Courts and civil matters before both Newcastle Local and District Courts and the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. Anna can also accept Agency matters in these jurisdictions at short notice.

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Kate Horton – Lawyer  BAborStud, LLB, GDLPKate

Kate has been working exclusively in the area of family law for the past 9 years. She was admitted as a solicitor of the NSW Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia in 2017.

Prior to her admission, she spent a number of years working as a Judge’s Associate in the Federal Circuit Court of Australia, working closely with one of our current residing Judges. During these years she obtained unique insight into the Courts’ approach in family law proceedings as well as extensive exposure to family law advocacy. She also gained a deeper understanding of the emotional and practical challenges faced by people going through separation, as well as alternative approaches to resolving family law issues other than litigation.

Since being admitted Kate has proven her own abilities as a skilled family law practitioner and advocate. Kate frequently appears in the Family Court and Federal Circuit Court in all range of family law matters.

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Jared Resevsky – Law Graduate BBus, LLBJared

Jared completed his combined degree at the University of Newcastle in 2016.

Prior to joining McDonald Johnson in 2018, Jared worked at a multinational business services consultancy firm in Newcastle as a Tax Consultant.

Jared assists Craig Doyle with commercial litigation and conveyancing.

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Andrew Morello – Lawyer BCom, LLB, Dip Leg PracAndrew M

Andrew was admitted to the Supreme Court of New South Wales in 2018 after completing his combined degree in Law and Commerce (majoring in finance) at the University of Newcastle in 2017.  

Andrew joined the firm in 2018 and works primarily in commercial law, assisting the partners with conveyancing, property and development, wills and estate planning and commercial litigation.

Before joining the firm, Andrew worked for a Financial Planning business, attaining experience across financing, property trends and cycles.

Andrew is a self confessed property enthusiast and has passion for financial analysis and modelling to assist his understanding in the due diligence stage.

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