I want the happy every after!
Why should we settle for anything less?
This glorious dawn is the view from my home office.
Law is only a tiny part of what I offer. Here is why!
I am an Aussie poet and storyteller who bought into the lie that I needed a "real job" to survive. I collected layers and layers of intellectual armour in the form of letters - so many letters - after my name. I became a researcher, an editor, a lawyer, a mediator, always desperate to be of service, always bewildered because skill never seemed to lead to success. I wasn't happy.
So I decided it was time to write a brand new ending as the author of my own epic adventure.
I chose joy and put love in the driver's seat, realising that law need not be based in fear and avoidance. The best brave boundaries are built on words that sing. I am the bridge between the old paradigm and the new. I stand in my power as the channel of peace, the go-between, the translator... and I choose to ignore the whispers that tell me to stay beige, to doubt my magic, to hide and be safe.
Once I forgave myself for becoming a lawyer, I started focusing on being the kind of lawyer you need me to be.
Once upon a time...
As a child, I entertained myself endlessly with worlds woven from words, but the adults in my life convinced me that I needed a proper profession. I was an academic over-achiever, so law seemed like an obvious choice.
Time and time again I watched my clients getting caught up in endless litigation, fighting court battles that would end with everybody losing. It was not unusual for them to spend more than the amount in dispute on legal fees and any relationship they had with the other side was completely destroyed in the process. They suffered, their business suffered, their family suffered. I suffered.
I didn’t want to get involved in criminal law or family law (the bread-and-butter of most small-town solicitors) and I am really not a big city girl, so I took on all the matters that my colleagues didn’t want - the ones with box after box of documents to read, or the incomprehensible legal jargon to make sense of - which pretty much meant all the legal needs of the local small businesses. It was fascinating, but it didn’t fuel my fire. It was far too adversarial.
And I wanted to homeschool my babies while still taking on every intellectual challenge that crossed my path.
I have a Bachelor of Arts with first class Honours in English. I wrote my thesis on the Poetics of Michael Leunig, the whimsical Australian cartoonist.
I went on to get a Bachelor of Laws with first class Honours. I wrote my thesis about how judges create meaning when they interpret statutes, in the year my first child was born.
My Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice was earned while I mothered two very active little boys, both under 4.
There had to be a better way.
I wanted more!
I was pregnant with my third child when I commenced a Masters in Law, majoring in Alternative Dispute Resolution.
I achieved this with Honours, and my baby accompanied me to every seminar. It's a good thing this bub was a very co-operative little girl and I had no qualms about baby-wearing and breastfeeding discretely in public.
My thesis topic was The Potential for Online Dispute Resolution in Australia, a potential I still strongly believe in, especially for online entrepreneurs.
My creative, quirky, home-schooled kids ensure I practice dispute resolution on a daily basis!
I went on to earn a Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution to hone my communication skills and became an accredited mediator and FDRP. I trained with Jon Graham and Lori Yasenik as a Child Consultant so I could practice Child Inclusive Family Mediation.
I wrote courses in Risk Management, Professional Responsibility and Leadership for the College of Law, eventually becoming a Program Developer.
It wasn't enough.
And then I found you!
You and your business make my work sparkle!
You let me practice law in a way I can love!
I love guiding you through the maze of legal requirements for your business.
I love supporting you to take ownership of your legals and craft Contracts that Care.™
I love giving you new tools to enable you to up-level with confidence.
I love leaping outside the legal box so we can get amazing results for you by shifting your mindset blocks.
I love delving deep into the new paradigm of business and sharing my understanding and experimentation with you.
I love challenging your perception of risk and conflict so you can see opportunities and solutions instead of fear.
More than anything else, I love giving my all in creative, caring, genuine, professional service to you.
The holistic tooth fairy
I feel so comfortable, aligned and safe, working with Michelle. She’s the perfect lawyer for a tooth fairy!
Health writer & nutritionist
I have legitimately had clients email me to say they actually enjoyed reading their client agreement!
path of the goddess
I’d never met a lawyer before who I could really ‘vibe’ with and whom I trusted, until I started working with Michelle.
Do you ever worry that you don't know what you don't know?
I provide the information you need - and I make it easy to read!
Qualifications: BA(Hons I)(USyd)(2001); LLB(Hons I)(UNE)(2007); GradDip Legal Practice (2009); Admitted as a solicitor in NSW (2010); LLM(Hons)(UTS)(2013); GradDip Family Dispute Resolution (2014); Member of the NSW Law Society; Mediator
Michelle Whitehead is an Australian lawyer, mediator and mentor who provides ethical business owners with the ultimate tools for protecting both themselves and their clients with integrity.
Michelle believes wholeheartedly in the need for education around legal concepts, particularly for creative entrepreneurs who – when faced with paying a lawyer to bore them to death - would rather run the risk of not knowing.
She is enchanted by the fascinating challenge of reinventing traditional legal constructs for the needs of a new paradigm of business, basing them on principles of connection and caring rather than fear and avoidance.
She creates contracts that care, demystifies intellectual property, advises on setting brave boundaries, handles conflict with compassion, and provides risk management with a woo woo twist.
She is also an unschooler who can't resist any story that ends happily ever after.
Let's have a chat to see if we are a good fit.
Words like authentic, warm and genuine are so overused. Perhaps you are wondering if I am too good to be true?
I would be delighted to offer you a free 30 minute, no-obligation consultation so you can decide for yourself.