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Heather McKinnon

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Family Law, Practice Group Leader

Location Coffs Harbour, New South Wales
Language English

For the past 30 years, Heather has built a formidable reputation as one of the leading Family Law authorities in Australia. She provides an innate ability to translate the complexities of the law into simple language and brings vast amounts of compassion, common sense and understanding for those involved in one of life’s most traumatic experiences.  

"It is my firm belief that Family Law is all about balance, care and absolute fairness, especially where children are involved."
- Heather McKinnon 

Career History

  • Slater and Gordon since 2008 (practice group leader)
  • 2005 - 2008 Crane Butcher McKinnon, Lawyers, Coffs Harbour (partner)
  • 1995 - 2005 Fishburn Watson O'Brien, Coffs Harbour (partner)
  • 1991 - 1995 Sole practice, Heather McKinnon Solicitor, Coffs Harbour
  • 1985 - 1991 Watts McKinnon Miller, Coffs Harbour (partner)
  • 1982 - 1985 Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Sydney (solicitor)
  • 1989 - 1997 Southern Cross University, NSW (visiting lecturer in law)

Board and Advisory Committee Positions


  • Member - Board of Women’s Legal Services NSW
  • Member - Specialist Accreditation Family Law Advisory Committee, NSW Law Society


  • Chairperson - Regional Committee Family Law Section (Law Council of Australia)
  • Director - Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators & Mediators. (AIFLAM)
  • Member – National Marine Science Centre Advisory Committee
  • Member – Warina Women’s Refuge Committee
  • Member – Child and Parent Support Services Committee
  • Member - Mid North Coast Development Board
  • Co-Founder – Enterprise Training Company
  • Vice President – Coffs Harbour Chamber of Commerce

Memberships and Associations

  • Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia
  • Law Society of New South Wales
  • NSW Women Lawyers Association since 1983
  • Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (USA)
  • Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators 

Professional Qualifications and Admissions

  • Arbitrator under Family Law Act Regulations (2001)
  • Law Society Accredited Specialist Family Law (1993)
  • BA LLB Macquarie University (1983)
  • Qualified Independent Children’s Lawyer
  • NSW Department of Community Services legal representative


  • 1989 Law Society of New South Wales Lawyer of the Year