Former Minter Ellison lawyer Nicholas Stewart joined Dowson Turco Lawyers as a partner in 2012.
The firm, set up by two LGBTIQ lawyers back in 2008, now has around 11 lawyers across property, family, estates and criminal law practices.
“We think the gay community has a particular need for lawyers who understand their families and their relationships,” Stewart told Australasian Lawyer.
“We are not just there for the pink dollar; we are actually gay lawyers and understand gay relationships and anything in the field of law relating to gay crime or estates.”
According to Stewart, the firm isn’t just filling a gap in the legal market, but a social gap as well.
“I think there’s a role for gay people in all organisations,” he said.
“I think the firm is filling a gap and I love being part of that.”
As head of the firm’s criminal law practice, he said he can often build a better informed case as he fully understands motivations behind actions within the community.
“The family law act and the way that family law courts decide cases is typically in a framework designed by heterosexuals,” he said.
“The amendments to the family law act in 2009 sought to include defacto couples in that but with a heterosexual framework or viewpoint.
“We ran a case that was based on evidence that gay men don’t necessarily subscribe to the same values or designs of relationships that straight men might,” Steward said, describing a case where a gay man claimed he was in a defacto relationship to lay claim to an estate.
Representing a long running high profile gay assault victim, the firm is well known in the gay and lesbian community, last week receiving a local business award for their focus on pro bono work and community engagement.