BA (Hons) / LLB UNSW
Andrew established a firm, Andrew Chalk Associates, in 1996 which became Chalk & Fitzgerald when he joined with James Fitzgerald in 2001. Prior to that, Andrew worked for both a large and small Sydney firm and also for the NSW Aboriginal Legal Service.
Andrew has earned his personal reputation for legal and strategic advice, as well as for his dedication to advocating the interests of his clients, through playing a key role in many successful proceedings and negotiations. This includes his role in:
- Representing Indigenous bodies in relation to the enactment of the Native Title Bill 1993, and the Act's amendment in 1997-1998,
- Numerous successful Aboriginal land claim appeals in NSW;
- Successful native title claims for the Lardil, Kaiadilt, Yangkaal and Gangalidda Peoples in the Gulf of Carpentaria region of Queensland,
- Advising Aboriginal Land Councils and representative bodies throughout Australia over many years.
Andrew has written and presented numerous papers on environmental and planning law, administrative law, cultural heritage protection, land rights and native title.
Andrew is Chair of Gawad Kalinga Limited, the Australian arm of the international community development organisation. He is also a past Chair of the Environmental Defender's Office Ltd (NSW), a director of the Mark Tonga Relief Fund and the Secretary of the NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Administrative Law.
James founded the firm with Andrew Chalk in 2001.
James has previously worked with large commercial law firms in Sydney and Melbourne and as a former principal legal officer of the Cape York Land Council. He also worked, on secondment, as advisor to former Deputy Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Gareth Evans QC, and the former shadow Attorney-General, the Hon Nick Bolkus during the Native Title Amendment Act debates of 1997-98.
James' practice has built on his experience and skill as a legal negotiator. Highlights of James' career have included his roles in:
- Formulating the legal strategy for the conduct of native title claims on behalf of Aboriginal traditional owners of Cape York, including the Wik Peoples,
- Large scale native title agreements between traditional owners and Alcan South Pacific Pty Ltd and Comalco Ltd in relation to bauxite mining in western Cape York.
- Drafting the minority report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Native Title in relation to the 1997-1998 amendments to the Native Title Act 1993,
- Negotiating a regional land use agreement in relation to the Karratha/Burrup Peninsula area of Western Australia, and
- Negotiating major native title agreements between Rio Tinto Iron Ore and numerous Pilbara traditional owner groups.
James recently participated in a working group reporting to the Commonwealth Attorney-General and the Minister for Indigenous Affairs in relation to managing income from agreements between Indigenous land holders and resource developers.
James has delivered numerous seminar presentations.
BA / LLB, LLM UNSW
Jason joined Andrew Chalk Associates in 1996, having previously worked for the Office of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner at the Commonwealth Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission.
An Aboriginal person himself, Jason has acted for many years as an external adviser to Aboriginal land councils and representative bodies across the nation. He has extensive knowledge and experience in relation to land rights, native title law and natural resources law.
Highlights of his career have included his involvement in:
- Many successful Aboriginal land claim appeals in NSW, including the first appeal to be dealt with by the High Court,
- The successful Wellesley Islands native title (seas) claim on behalf of the Lardil, Kaiadilt, Yangkaal and Gangalidda Peoples, and
- The successful native title claim made on behalf of the Githabul people of north-eastern NSW.
Jason is a board member of the Law and Justice Foundation.
BA /LLB (Hons) USyd
Before joining the firm in 2001, Dominic acquired broad legal experience in areas as diverse as criminal law, family law, tax and customs revenue and administrative law, as well as land rights and native title. He previously worked for the Australian Government Solicitor, the Northern Territory Legal Aid Commission and the Northern Land Council. He has also practiced as a sole practitioner in Darwin and as a mediator.
Dominic is a highly competent technical lawyer but with a strong ability to perceive a client's underlying objectives.
He counts amongst the highlights of his career:
- Negotiations over uranium mining in the Northern Territory,
- Judicial review proceedings over aspects of the Northern Territory criminal justice system,
- Aboriginal land claim and native title proceedings, and
- Advising on major structural reforms to land rights in NSW.
Dominic has written and presented papers for various conferences and has volunteered his time as a legal adviser and board member to several community legal centres.
BA / LLB Macquarie (Hons / University Medal)
David joined Chalk and Fitzgerald in 2011. He was previously a partner in a large national firm and, in addition to his role leading its Sydney Communications, Energy & Infrastructure team, was staff partner of its Sydney office – a role in which he contributed significantly to the development of that firm and its people.
David has extensive experience advising on large scale infrastructure projects, privatisations and joint ventures and on a wide range of commercial transactions and corporate and governance issues. The focus of his work with the firm is in assisting Indigenous Australians in realising their aspirations, pursuing opportunities and developing more effective organisations.
In addition to his work with the firm, David conducts his own consultancy in organisational development, leadership, conflict resolution and change. He has extensive experience providing strategic, commercial and governance advice to Indigenous organisations, including the Wik Peoples of Cape York.
Since 1997 David has been the Chairman of the Karen Lynch Foundation, which awards an annual Memorial Scholarship to an Indigenous university student. He also chairs the W1 Foundation, which aims to improve the wellbeing and status of women and children in Pakistan.
BA /LLB (Hons) Adelaide
James has practised as a lawyer since 2000.
In that time he has worked extensively in native title and land rights matters. Prior to joining the firm he worked as a legal officer both in the native title unit of the Aboriginal Legal Rights Movement Ltd of South Australia, and for New South Wales Native Title Services Ltd.
James' work in native title has included representing the Nguraritja traditional owners of De Rose Hill station in their native title claim. This well known claim went on appeal to the Full Court of the Federal Court and then the High Court of Australia and was ultimately successful.
James has worked with us since 2008.
Jessica has practiced as a lawyer since 2005.
Before joining us, Jessica worked in the Environmental Prosecutions Department of City of Sydney Council and then for Sydney firm of Henry Davis York in their environment and planning team.
Jessica joined us in 2008, with knowledge, experience and skills in litigation, environment and planning law, and land law. Her practice with us now also includes Aboriginal land claim and native title proceedings.
Highlights of her career so far have included:
- Representing clients at mediations in commercial and land and environment matters.
- Advising clients on planning and environment and cultural heritage.
- Many successful land claim appeals in NSW.
- The development and preparation of evidence for native title claims;
- Managing stakeholder relationships in complex land matters; and
- Appearances before the Land and Environment Court of NSW, the Supreme Court of NSW and the Federal Court.
Jessica is an active member of the Environment Committee and Human Rights Committee of NSW Young Lawyers.
BA (Hons) / LLB (Hons) UWA, LLM (Public Law) ANU, LLM UNSW, SJD UNSW
Dr Scott Calnan's work prior to joining Chalk & Fitzgerald was in academia. He was awarded the higher degree of Doctor of Juridical Science by the University of New South Wales. He has worked variously as a tutor and lecturer, principally in human rights law, for the University of Sydney, Macquarie University and the University of Western Sydney. Scott also undertook a litigation placement with the NAACP in Baltimore during 2005.
Highlights of his career have included:
• Many successful land claim appeals in NSW.
• Involvement in the development and preparation of evidence for native title claims; and
• Appearances before the Land and Environment Court of NSW, the Supreme Court of NSW, the Federal Court and the Administrative Decisions Tribunal.
Scott is the author of the book The Effectiveness of Domestic Human Rights NGOs: A Comparative Study. He has written papers published by the Australian Human Rights Centre at the University of New South Wales and has also contributed to Halsbury's Laws of Australia. Scott is also a long-standing member of the Human Rights Committee of the NSW Law Society.
Scott began practice as a lawyer, and joined us, in 2007.
Senior Lawyer, ,
BA (Hons) /LLB (Hons), USyd
Linda was admitted as a lawyer in 2007. After
graduating, Linda worked as an associate to a judge of the NSW Land and
Environment Court. She then spent a number of years practicing as a solicitor at
a large international law firm in London, specialising in environment, health
and safety law. During this time her work included advising corporate clients
on the development of large energy and infrastructure works, environmental
issues involved in the sale and purchase of businesses and commercial property
After returning to Australia in late 2010,
Linda worked in the legal team of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council,
assisting on land claim litigation, land dealings and advising on the NSW Aboriginal Land Rights Act. Linda joined us in 2011.
Practice Manager and Financial Controller,
Marta Radmilo is the firm’s Financial Controller and Practice Manager. Marta completed her Accounting Diploma in 1991 and has been in law firm administration ever since. Marta commenced with Chalk & Fitzgerald as the financial controller in 2004. She took on the role of practice manager in 2011.
Librarian and Researcher,
Dip Lib St
Jennie is our librarian who has provided research support to our litigation and negotiation teams since 2000.
She has developed a deep understanding of the materials relevant to our areas of practice, including the most obscure international citations, and has great skills in efficiently retrieving them. Her ability to organise information in this specialised area has benefitted both our lawyers and our clients.
Our wonderful support team,
Sonja Nichols, Leanne Mitchell and Caitlin Wheeler are the heart of our support team, they are responsible for general administration.