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Michael Purcell returns to practice at Purcell Taylor Lawyers

It’s not every day a legal practitioner returns to a firm carrying his name, to work with the two lawyers he hired to the same firm more than twenty years ago.

Posted: February 21, 2023

It’s a story of respect, loyalty, trust, and friendship. Words, sometimes thought to be far removed from the realm of law firms. But this story may make you think twice about what you thought you knew about lawyers.

When Michael Purcell decided to start his own firm with his colleague in 1999, a tenacious young up-and-comer named Melody pursued him with a dogged determination that she would work with him. Melody ultimately joined Purcell Taylor Lawyers as an articled clerk in 2000.

Then, a young Andrew Peel also joined the firm in 2002. Nobody knew then, how rare, and special this combination would be. 

  Michael earlier in his career at Purcell Taylor   Michael on his return to Purcell Taylor
 Michael earlier in his career at Purcell Taylor  Michael on his return to Purcell Taylor

Over the following almost two decades Michael would teach and guide the talented young lawyers as they became highly skilled and respected practitioners in their own rights.

The pair went on to both become part-owners of the firm, before taking full ownership in 2021. Both have worked their entire careers at the same firm together.

Now, Michael Purcell has come out of retirement as a ‘new-starter’ at Purcell Taylor Lawyers, but this “new-starter” has more than 42 years experience in practice of the law.

 Purcell Taylor Lawyers  Purcell Taylor Lawyers

“What a wonderful thing to come back into a business that you established with your two articled clerks as the owners,” Michael said.

“You will find it very rare in the practice of the law, or indeed in any business, where you take on trainees, for want of a better word, and for them to stay with you for over twenty years and you get to see them move through their articles, practice the law and then take over your business,” he said.

Purcell Taylor Senior Associate and Family Lawyer Eddie Wood has recently relocated to Japan for a period of time and will continue to work remotely, together with Madison Preston and now Michael Purcell as part of the expanding Family Law Team.

Michael will work predominantly with lawyers Eddie Wood and Madison Preston in Family Law.Michael will work predominantly with lawyers Eddie Wood and Madison Preston in Family Law.

Michael has extensive experience across many areas of law. In his early career he was involved in all manner of practice from family law to criminal matters and general conveyancing. He worked in commercial law on the Gold Coast in the 80’s and as a Legal Aid practitioner, served as the Public Solicitor for Vanuatu, consulted on the revamp of Queensland’s Criminal code in the early 90’s and ultimately ended his career specialising in family law, as the North’s most senior Independent Children’s Lawyer.

Director Melody Cornish said Michael’s knowledge and experience would be invaluable to the firm, its staff, and its clients.

“Michael has been more than a mentor to Andrew and me, we’ve worked so closely for so many years and we have so much respect for him as a lawyer and as a person,” she said.

“He is a true problem solver. He is skilled at mapping out the way forward, as opposed to focusing on the roadblocks that may lay ahead.

“That is one of the many things he’s taught Andrew and I over the years and we’ve taken that approach with us into leading this firm.

“Now, he’s come back to join us at just the right time to help us adapt and grow  our already very busy family law department,” she said.

Mr Purcell said the pair should be commended on the team-centric culture they have built in just a few short years as outright owners.

Melody and Andrew with their Purcell Taylor Lawyers teamMelody and Andrew with their Purcell Taylor Lawyers team

“Melody’s nature is admirable for many reasons; she is dogged in what she sets about doing, and that, coupled with her intelligence and her otherwise kind demeanour, makes her a remarkable person,” he said.

“And Peely, I was probably as tough on him as I was on my six sons, but he is another remarkable, intelligent lawyer with a commitment to giving nothing but 110% in his endeavours and to helping people.

“They’ve clearly brought their own ideas to the leadership of the firm and how the practice should be run, and I think it’s remarkable to walk into this environment.

“These two people…their ethics are unquestionable, their characters are tremendous and I’m proud of them.”