Solicitors’ chambers move raises the bar
BEECHWORTH solicitors Helen McGowan and Matt Grogan have raised the bar with their chambers’ relocation next week to Old Beechworth Gaol.
The pair and their staff for three years have, as Halliday Solicitors, practiced from Beechworth’s Anglican Church rectory in Ford Street, which the diocese let while its parish priest lived elsewhere.
But with the appointment of a new priest later this month Ms McGowan and Mr Grogan had to find new chambers.
“There’s the obvious elephant on the dance floor – that the lawyers are practicing from the gaol,” Mr Grogan said on Monday.
“As commercial office space ready-made in Beechworth is not that easy to come by, there was a little bit of necessity.”
So when the opportunity presented itself to take space in Old Beechworth Gaol, owned by a consortium led by the Australian Centre for Rural Entrepreneurship and in which there are numerous local investors, they moved.
“We’re pretty inspired by the idea of what’s happening here at the gaol and the opportunity to be first followers – to sign on the line and commit to it – was important,” Mr Grogan said.
“We’re not really first followers in one sense because so much of the community is behind (the gaol project) already with their commitment and money.
“But to make the decision, sign a rental agreement, move in and make this little part of it our own has been important.”
The new chambers are in what is known as “the gaoler’s” on one side of the main gate. Its mirror – “the turnkey’s” – is on the opposite side in the front wall.
“Matt’s been very keen because we support the social enterprise culture (of ACRE),” Ms McGowan said.
“We’re really impressed by the vision and enthusiasm of not only the investors but also the people who are carrying it out. “We want to be part of that. “With us, our theme is transition. “Our work is often with people in transition – from certainty, through uncertainty, to certainty again.
“We’re modeling some of that here – transition law.”
Ms McGowan said there was a strong sense of justice in their new chambers, to which they move on Monday.
“Yes,” said Mr Grogan, “to get to our deed room we’ll actually walk under a beam that has been made out of the old gallows beam on which people were hanged.”
Ms McGowan said the law could be a harsh master.
“As lawyers we pride ourselves in that very pragmatic line, not only knowing the law but also really giving pragmatic opinions in a timely way for people,” she said.
Mr Grogan said the pair had appreciated the help of the Wangaratta Anglican diocese and Beechworth parish while the practice leased the rectory.
NEW MOVE: Beechworth solicitors Helen McGowan and Matt Grogan at the door to their new chambers in Old Beechworth Gaol’s front wall.