Location(s): Brisbane
Qualification(s): LLB (Hons), Post Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice, Queensland Law Society accredited specialist

Michelle James leads Maurice Blackburn’s Queensland and Northern Territory road injury, work injury and public liability practices, and is the head of our national abuse law practice.

Based in our Brisbane office Michelle has been working in the legal industry since 1998 and is a tenacious fighter for the rights of injured people. She was admitted to practice in 2001 and is a Queensland Law Society personal injuries accredited specialist.

Michelle is recognised not only for her legal accomplishments, but her strong leadership and governance capabilities with appointments to the Boards of Maurice Blackburn, the Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland and Queensland Building and Construction Commission.

Michelle is an experienced compensation lawyer with a particular interest in bringing claims on behalf of survivors of institutional and other abuse, and helping clients with compensation claims relating to injuries suffered at work, in a road accident, or in a public place. She is also an excellent communicator with expertise in advocacy.

“I have always had a strong sense of social justice and a willingness to stand up for what is right,” says Michelle.

“It was natural to want to use the law to achieve this end. It has allowed me to advocate, privately and publicly, for those who are unable to advocate for themselves.

“It is rewarding to know that I make a genuine difference in the lives of individuals who have been injured in accidents or harmed by the negligence of others. I also enjoy using my profile to advocate for positive legal policy.”

When it comes to the sensitive legal area of sexual and institutional abuse, Michelle is specially trained in trauma informed practice which ensures she works with clients to access justice in a way that recognises the complex trauma they have suffered. She stands apart from her contemporaries in the way she deals with the stories of these individuals whose trust has been breached in the most horrific way.

“I am driven by the injustice I witness on a daily basis where lives have been irreparably damaged by the actions of others, and knowing I can effect positive change for them.”

Michelle’s advocacy and leadership have been a feature of her legal career. She was the first woman to be elected President of the Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland branch, the Queensland Law Society recognised Michelle’s extensive contribution to the legal industry with the 2013 Agnes McWhinney Award, and she was also listed in the prestigious Doyles Guide in 2015.

Michelle is also a trained adult literacy tutor.

Memberships & accreditations

  • Maurice Blackburn Board Member
  • Maurice Blackburn Audit and Risk Committee Member
  • Australian Lawyers Alliance Queensland Board Member (current) and past president (2013-2018)
  • Queensland Building and Construction Board Deputy Chair
  • Queensland Building and Construction Regulatory and Resolution Committee Chair
  • Queensland Building and Construction Finance, Audit and Risk Committee Member
  • Queensland Law Society Specialist Accreditation Advisory Committee Member (2011-2019)
  • Queensland Law Society Member


  • Queensland Law Society Agnes McWhinney Award winner, 2013
  • Listed in Doyle’s Guide, 2015