Our People

At Meerkin & Apel we have a strong team committed to the work we do. Our dynamic team combines the strengths of our younger lawyers with many years experience of our longer serving lawyers supported by a dedicated and efficient administrative personnel.

Isaac Apel

Partner 

Contact

T 95100366
F
95100399

Email ia@meerkinapel.com.au

Isaac’s practice focus is litigation and commercial law for both corporate and private clients. Isaac is a skilled advisor and negotiator in the commercial field and a tough adversary in Litigation.  He also specialises in entertainment and intellectual property.  
 

Isaac Apel is the Managing Partner of the Firm and is responsible for the strategic direction and management of the Firm both as to the quality and type of legal work performed, as well as the human and capital resources.  

Isaac graduated from Melbourne University with a Bachelor of Laws. 

Michael Czarny

Partner 

Contact

T 95100366
F
95100399

Email mc@meerkinapel.com.au 

Michael practises in Banking & Finance specialising in both residential and commercial property mortgage transactions.  

Michael assists his private lender clients in negotiating, due diligence, documenting and completion of transactions. 

Michael was admitted to practice 1977. 

Rodney Saw

Partner 

LLB, B.Com (Melbourne)

Contact

T 95100366
F
95100399

Email rks@meerkinapel.com.au
 

Rodney has been a partner in the Commercial and Property law section of the practice since 1986.  He draws on over 30 years' experience to provide personal and practical advice and assistance to private and corporate clients in a broad range of commercial and property related transactions.

Rodney has advised clients in a wide range of commercial matters including:

  • property acquisitions and disposals
  • property developments and subdivisions
  • building subdivisions
  • leasing both commercial and retail
  • Option Agreements tenders and expression of interest
  • property-related stamp duty and GST advice
  • development, sale and purchase of leasehold interests within Victorian alpine resorts
  • sale and purchase of businesses

Marvin Weinberg

Partner

Contact

T 95100366
F
95100399

Email mw@meerkinapel.com.au

Marvin is a Partner in the Commercial and Property Departments of the Firm.

He has extensive experience in dealing with Testator's Family Maintenance Claims, challenges to Wills and other estate related matters.  Marvin also practises in the areas of sports law and acts for a number of high profile sportsmen and women.

Marvin is a practitioner with over 30 years experience and has been involved in many large and complex transactions on behalf of his clients.

Marvin graduated from Monash University in 1978 with a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Bachelor of Economics degree.

Emanuel Tumino

Partner

Contact

T 95100366
F
95100399

Email et@meerkinapel.com.au

Emanuel was admitted to practice in 1981 and is a Litigation Partner of the Firm. 

His areas of focus are general and commercial litigation, building disputes and mediation in all courts from the Magistrates Court to complex Supreme Court cases.  Emanuel also conducts matters in the building and the retail tenancy lists in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal and has extensive experience in contract disputes, Trade Practices Act and Fair Trading Act issues, professional negligence matters, estate disputes and corporate debt recovery.

Emanuel is fluent in Italian and his many years in practice bring a wealth of experience, broad knowledge and incisive and effective negotiating skills to his client's matters.

Emanuel is a member of the Rotary Club of Footscray and is a committee member of the Rotary District 9800 Youth Exchange Committee.

Hugh Maclaren

Partner 

Contact

T 95100366
F
95100399

Email

hm@meerkinapel.com.au

Hugh is a Partner in our litigation department, focusing on commercial litigation.  He was admitted to practice in 1995 and has a wide range of experience in general commercial litigation, intellectual property and corporate and securities litigation including director’s duties and partnership disputes.  Hugh is an accredited commercial litigation specialist.

Hugh acts for a range of clients from individuals through to major corporations advising and where appropriate, litigating.  Whether enforcing a matter through to judgment, or resolving disputes on commercial terms, his particular emphasis is on finding practical and commercial solutions.

Hugh also has an insolvency practice and advises creditors, directors and insolvency practitioners in matters from bankruptcies through to liquidations of corporate groups.

Howard Chait

Partner 

Contact

T 95100366
F
95100399

Email

hc@meerkinapel.com.au

Howard is a Partner in our litigation section.  He draws on over 25 years experience as a Lawyer and Partner previously in both national and mid-tier legal firms.

Howard has substantial expertise in the areas of corporate reconstruction, insolvency and complex litigation and dispute resolution in a wide variety of matters (including litigation in respect of banking disputes, intellectual property, shareholder and director disputes, estate matters, contracts, joint ventures, negligence and disputes brought under the Competition and Consumer Act).

Amongst other matters Howard has been involved in over the years since he was admitted as a Lawyer, he has more recently been involved in:

  • Acting for the directors of a large car parts manufacturer which collapsed.
  • Acting for one of the partners in a restructuring of an established dental practice.
  • Acting for a group of shareholders in a restructure of a large electrical company.
  • Acting for a national bank in relation to managed investment schemes after the responsible entity collapsed.
  • Acting for the administrators and then liquidators of a large property development company.
  • Acting for the administrators of a group of companies in the dairy industry and drawing a deed of company arrangement on a pooling basis.
  • Acting for investors in relation to a foreign based telecommunications company and advising on issues including the tracing of assets, cross border matters and forum non-conveniens.
  • Acting for the executor of a large deceased estate in Part IV proceedings.
  • Acting for the owners of a vineyard in a large claim arising from chemical spray drift.

Howard's professional affiliations include membership of the Commercial and Litigation Sections of the Law Institute of Victoria and Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA)

James Pergl

Special Counsel

Contact

T 95100366
F 95100399

Email
jp@meerkinapel.com.au

James Pergl is a senior associate with Meerkin & Apel and was admitted to practice in 1996.

James practises in commercial litigation and family law and has experience in all jurisdictions with expertise in large commercial disputes, Trade Practices, disputes between directors and shareholders, building disputes and complex family law property matters.

James graduated from Monash University with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts (Hons). He has practised both in London and Australia.

Joanne Randello

Partner

Contact

T 95100366
F 95100399

Email
jr@meerkinapel.com.au

Joanne Randello practises in Family Law.

Joanne has extensive experience in complex property disputes and children's matters. Joanne has particular expertise in agreements which protect assets prior to, and during, cohabitation or marriage.

Joanne recognises the unique nature of family law disputes and provides her clients with commercially prudent legal advice delivered in an empathetic manner. Joanne leaves no stone unturned in achieving the best result for her clients. Joanne is an advocate of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) processes, such as mediation and often uses ADR to commercially resolve a dispute.

Joanne also lectures and conducts tutorial sessions in family law for tertiary students as part of the LLB degree.

Debra Foulkes

Special Counsel

Contact

T 95100366
F 95100399

Email

df@meerkinapel.com.au  

Debra has practised in family law for 25 years.  She has been involved in numerous complex property and parenting matters over the years, including:-
  • High net worth asset pools;
  • Asset pools where the assets are controlled by family trusts and/or corporations;
  • Relocation cases (where one party wishes to relocate with the children interstate or internationally);
  • Cases where there are intractable disputes between parents;
  • Acting on behalf of third parties, such as grandparents, in family law disputes;
  • Child support matters;
  • Matters where there are intervention orders.

Debra has also had experience as an Independent Children’s Lawyer (a lawyer appointed by the court to represent the interests of children).  She is an LIV Accredited Specialist in Family Law. She holds a Master of Law from Monash University and has a LL.B (Hons) and a BA from University of Melbourne. She has also practised in the area of Testator’s Family Maintenance.

She has a sensible common sense approach to matters and will mediate wherever possible however she is a firm advocate for her client.

Brooke Jolly

Partner


Contact

T 95100366
F 95100399

Email

bj@meerkinapel.com.au

Brooke Jolly is a lawyer in our Employment Law and Workplace/Industrial Relations Department, having been admitted to practice in 2015.

Brooke provides high-level, strategic and practical advice and assistance in a wide range of employment law and workplace relations areas, including the following:

  • Defending claims made by employees, such as unfair dismissal and general protections applications;

  • Managing workplace disputes, disciplinary procedures and bullying, harassment and equal opportunity complaints;

  • Drafting and implementing employment contracts, policies and procedures, post-employment restraints, protection of confidential information and intellectual property;

  • Restructuring and redundancy advice and assistance;

  • Managing long-term serious injuries and responding to workplace incidents;

  • Dealing with industrial action and union consultation and communication strategies;

  • Advice regarding Modern Awards and Enterprise Agreements; and

  • Performance management.

    Brooke graduated from Deakin University in 2014, with a combined Bachelor of Arts (majoring in Social and Political Thought) / Bachelor of Laws (Honours).

Natasha Sim

Senior Associate


Contact

T 95100366
F 95100399

Email

ns@meerkinapel.com.au


 

Natasha advises employers and employees on a wide range of employment law and workplace relations matters. She is an adept advocate and has appeared regularly in both federal and state courts and tribunals. Her extensive litigation experience assists her to provide commercially pragmatic, strategic advice to employers, aimed at minimising the risk of future disputes.

Natasha acts for clients in numerous sectors including independent education, community services, local government, labour hire, medical research, not-for-profit, and professional services.  Her experience includes the following:

  • Acting and appearing for clients in unfair dismissal, general protections, underpayments, discrimination and sexual harassment proceedings (including at mediations and hearings)
  • Advising on management of employee performance and conduct, workplace investigations and dismissals (including advising on an organisation’s obligations under mandatory reporting and reportable conduct schemes)
  • Advising on management of executive employee performance and conduct, as well as associated corporate governance considerations
  • Advising on transfers of business, labour hire licensing requirements, independent contracting, and maximum- and fixed-term contracts
  • Advising employers on workers’ compensation obligations and contesting claim acceptance
  • Advising faith-based organisations on anti-discrimination laws and applying for exemptions
  • Drafting and advising on employment contracts, independent contractor agreements, awards, enterprise agreements and workplace policies
  • Advising organisations on the National Redress Scheme, Child Safe Standards and registration standards for independent schools, including in the course of special reviews conducted by government regulators
  • Enforcement of restraints of trade

Kristoff Lajoie

Lawyer

Contact

95100366

95100399

Email

kl@meerkinapel.com.au

With over a decade of experience in practice, Kristoff has developed a strong practice and loyal client base in a range of matters concerning commercial and business law, as well as disputes and litigation and employment law. He has enjoyed working with both long term and new clients ranging from dealing with everyday needs of small business owners to complex transactions.

Kristoff’s work has included matters concerning corporate and trust structuring, shareholding matters, commercial and retail leasing and purchasing and sales of businesses. In his litigation experience, Kristoff has appeared as an advocate in Victorian and Federal courts and tribunals as well as instructing counsel on matters concerning property, fraud, civil and commercial disputes and corporate matters including insolvency. In employment law, Kristoff has acted for both employers and employees in the civil courts and Fair Work Commission, giving him a broad understanding of how best to manage issues on both sides, efficiently and effectively.

Prior to legal practice, Kristoff was a professional musician freelance and with Sony Roadshow records. While Kristoff remains a published musician, he pleased to have his performance days in his past and focus on his legal practice.

Jean Jacob

Lawyer

Contact

95100366

95100399

Email

jj@meerkinapel.com.au

Jean is working in our Commercial Property team and is involved in all areas of commerical documentation and property work.

He is also working with our Banking and Finance team documenting loan agreements and variations.

Jean was admitted in September 2021and holds a Juris Doctor from The University of Melbourne.

Sarah Harrison

Lawyer

Contact 

T 95100366

F 95100399

Email

smh@meerkinapel.com.au

Sarah is working in our Commercial team and is involved in Trusts, Leasing and and peparation of corporate commercial agreements. She also handles Intellectual property matters, in particular trade marks, including applications for registration of trade marks.

Sarah completed a Bachelor of Laws and Criminology at Deakin University and was admitted in November, 2021

Rob Wall


Contact

T 95100366

F 95100399

Email

rw@meerkinapel.com.au

Rob is a Workplace Relations Advisor with Meerkin and Apel providing advice and assistance on a wide range of human resources/industrial relations issues mainly in the Local Government and Water sectors. As a practical, hands on Advisor, Rob provides advice tailored to the situation with the benefit of 20 years experience in these sectors. This includes negotiating enterprise agreements and advice on human resource management issues. Over this period of time, Rob has established and developed ongoing relationships both on an individual and corporate level.

Rob has a Bachelor of Business degree from Monash University.

David Tozer


Contact

T 95100366
F 95100399

Email dt@meerkinapel.com.au

 

David is a Workplace Relations Advisor with Meerkin & Apel, providing human resources and industrial relations advice in respect to Local Authority related matters.  David was recently appointed after twelve years in Local Government.  David started his Local government career at Mildura Rural City working in the Rates Best Value Units.  A 12 month appointment at  Mount Alexander Shire as Accountant was followed by a move to Moyne Shire, where he was Manager Organisational Development for six years.  

Apart from conducting numerous senior appointments including CEO recruitment, David has supervised the conduct of municipal elections, negotiated several enterprise agreements and co-ordinated Council’s internal audit process.  David provides support on matters regarding enterprise bargaining, disciplinary process, banding classification, recruitment process and governance.

David holds a Diploma in Human Resources from South West TAFE.

Elisa Kelly


Contact

T 95100366

F 95100399

Email

ek@meerkinapel.com.au

Elisa is a Workplace Relations Advisor with Meerkin & Apel, providing human resources and industrial relations advice mainly to local government and statutory authorities.  Prior to commencing with the Firm, Elisa practised in that area of expertise for 15 years in Local Government and before that was employed by the Victorian Government as a Solicitor with the Industrial Relations Division of the Department of State Development. 

Elisa commenced her local government career at the City of Boroondara working in Economic Development for 5 years before returning to her area of passion, industrial relations and human resources at Nillumbik Shire Council.  In 2005 Elisa joined Manningham City Council where she held various IR/HR related positions over nine years.  Elisa has vast practical experience in enterprise bargaining, performance management, policy and procedure development and recruitment.

Elisa has a BA.LLB (Latrobe University) and MBA (Swinburne University).