Introduction: Ted Neaves, Principal Shoalhaven Lawyers

When Shoalhaven Lawyers opened its doors for the first time in 2018, Principal Ted Neaves could never have predicted that less than a year later the practice would find itself representing two innocent fishermen, at the centre of one of the most high-profile drug trials this country has ever seen.

Eventually, both brothers were found not guilty of conspiring to import a border-controlled substance, after being accused of being part of one of Australia’s largest cocaine syndicates. Three other men, Joseph Pirrello, former Sydney Roosters football player John Tobin, and businessman Simon Spero were sentenced to at least 14, 8½, and 9½ years behind bars respectively.

All of the subsequent media attention to this high-profile case certainly put Shoalhaven Lawyers on the map, and although he knew the case would probably draw a fair share of media attention, at the time, Ted’s focus was firmly on justice being served.

“Our job was to obtain the right outcome for two men who were not guilty,” says Ted Neaves.

This one sentence provides insight into the fundamental principle behind the Shoalhaven Lawyers’ client service philosophy, which is about providing easy access to experienced legal services when you need them.

“No matter whether people live in the city, or a smaller regional area like Shoalhaven, irrespective of their background … or culture or education, or any personal attributes or socio-economic standing … People from all walks of life deserve the same access to justice,” says Mr. Neaves.

“Sometimes life presents situations where people find themselves on the wrong side of the law, or in a messy divorce, or in a disagreement with a business partner or employer. Finding the right lawyer who can help you and give you the right advice needs to be simple, and it shouldn’t cost you an arm and a leg, either.”

For this reason, Shoalhaven Lawyers offers a broad range of legal expertise, from criminal law, family, employment, compensation, and general litigation across five offices in the area: Burrill Lake, Nowra, Milton, Ulladulla, and Wollongong.

 ‘Demystifying’ the law

“We also believe in helping people to understand the law – it’s complex and it governs all aspects of our civility, our society, and yet most people have such a limited understanding of it.”

“It’s important for us to encourage everyone to know their rights and responsibilities under the law, and as well as to understand the court processes and why things happen the way we do,” explains Mr. Neaves.

Clients appreciate the ‘straight-talking’ advice they receive and the fact that many legal matters are able to be resolved quickly and easily when you get the right advice. Client testimonials and recommendations on the Shoalhaven Lawyer’s website are a testament to Ted’s practical understanding of the law and his commitment to obtaining the best possible outcomes for clients.

Helping the vulnerable

“We recognise that people come to us when they have a problem they can’t solve on their own,” says Ted. They’re vulnerable and they need professional legal expertise, whether it is a matter for the High Court or the Small Claims Court – we recognise that this legal problem is causing them duress and it is our job to do everything in our power to help.”

The focus of Shoalhaven Lawyers is, therefore, to keep fees reasonable and affordable by offering fixed fees where possible, easy payment plans, and assistance accessing legal aid where applicable.

“This means people can have their matters dealt with as efficiently as possible and move forward with their lives. Going to court can be stressful and emotionally draining – we want to make sure that’s minimised. Sometimes, though, if it is a particularly complex matter, court processes do take time, and that’s unavoidable because we’re aiming for the best outcome, and this is not always the quickest,” explains Ted Neaves.

One of the characteristics that are unusual about Ted Neaves, is that he has not always been a lawyer. He worked in both project management and marketing for a number of years before following his passion. He was admitted to the bar in 2015 and since then has appeared in the High Court of Australia, in the New South Wales Court of Appeal, and in more than 300 local court matters (mostly for drug and drink driving).

He works with a range of other specialists across the region. Shoalhaven Lawyer’s legal services are accessible 24 hours a day, seven days a week.