Our People

Monaco Solicitors

We understand the difficulties of having to deal with the impacts of your injuries. Our experienced team at Monaco Solicitors, have successfully finalised thousands of claims recovering millions of dollars for our clients.

When you are with Monaco Solicitors, you are assigned to one of our lawyers specialising in the particular area of compensation law who works closely in tight knit teams to achieve the best outcome for you. Our people are always available and pride themselves in being here to advise you and answer any of your questions.

Our People

Leon Monaco

Leon is the managing partner of Monaco Compensation Lawyers. He has approximately 23 years' experience in representing clients injured in accidents of all kinds or as a result of medical malpractice.
Leon’s main focus  is mostly substantial and demanding claims, usually involving complex matters of facts and law. His experience extends to Workers Compensation, Motor Accident, Public Liability and Medical Negligence Claims of all kinds.
Leon’s work has taken him to the highest courts in Australia, including the Supreme Court of NSW, Court of Appeal of NSW, and the High Court of Australia.
Leon never forgets that he works for and on behalf of his clients. He is driven by a desire to obtain the best possible outcome in each and every case. Leon also mentors young lawyers within the firm.
Leon is a member of the Australian Lawyers Alliance. He is committed to advancing the rights of injured people all over Australia. He is active in lobbying and making representation to various government agencies to ensure that the law does not discriminate against persons who suffered harm and loss as a result of someone’s negligence.

Kelly Keane

Kelly is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law, a Partner of the firm and has approximately 20 years experience in acting for both plaintiffs and insurers/self-insurers. The first half of Kelly's career was spent working as a solicitor and partner of a legal firm whose sole practice involved acting for insurers and self-insurers in all aspects of personal injury litigation.  Kelly managed the Sydney office of a national defendant personal injury law firm which included the supervision, mentoring and training of solicitors and other staff whose practice areas included all aspects of personal injury litigation.

Currently, Kelly is the supervising partner and Team Leader of Monaco Solicitors in relation to a large portfolio of plaintiff clients in the areas of workers compensation, work injury damages, motor accident, public liability, dust disease law, TPD & superannuation policy based claims. Kelly's experience is diverse and extends also to the mentoring and training of other compensation lawyers and staff within the practice as well as personally handling the more complex personal injury matters within the practice.

Kelly has provided advice and representation for plaintiffs and defendants in all areas of personal injury litigation and has valuable insight into how defendant organisations handle their workers compensation and other claims and employees.  Kelly was also the liaison partner for a number of high profile government and private employers when working in her previous role as a solicitor for a defendant legal firm. 

Kelly works out of Monaco Solicitors' Sydney and Coffs Harbour offices and also travels regularly to visit clients in the firm's other north coast branch offices.

Maria Aravena

Maria is a Senior Associate at Monaco Solicitors. She is admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. Since her admission as a solicitor, she has practiced exclusively in personal injury law. Maria specialises in medical malpractice claims. She has assisted people with a wide variety of injuries arising from medical malpractice, ranging from misdiagnosis, delayed diagnosis to birthing trauma and other paediatric compensation claims.
In addition to her work in the area of medical malpractice, Maria has also been involved in the representation and resolution of claims in the areas of public liability, motor vehicle accident claims and industrial accidents.
Maria possesses all the necessary skills and experience in litigation and negotiation to advance her client's best interests. She is a compelling advocate, and is able to determine the most appropriate course of action to achieve the most satisfactory outcomes for her clients. This may mean preparation of a case for settlement out of court or it may mean taking a matter through the court system to ensure that a fair outcome is achieved.

Maria has substantial experience in managing claims at the highest level, including Supreme Court, Court of Appeal and the High Court of Australia. In fact, recently, Maria helped set a precedent for the whole of Australian law with the case of Tomlinson determined by the High Court of Australia.

Maria is fluent in Spanish.

Vanessa Mouawad

Vanessa Mouawad, a solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia brings to the Monaco Solicitors team a wide range of legal experience and knowledge, having worked as a paralegal for Counsel and a national firm in the past.  
Vanessa practices in numerous areas of law, including:
• Motor vehicle claims;
• Public liability and occupiers liability claims;
• Compensation to relatives claims;
• Work injury damages claims; and
• General negligence claims.
Vanessa has extensive experience lodging applications with the State Insurance Regulatory Authority, including lodging Medical Assessment Service ('MAS') and Claims Assessment and Resolution Service ('CARS') applications for the purposes of determining a client's rights to pain and suffering damages. She has substantial experience in assessing complex and demanding claims. As part of her experience, she has a thorough understanding of the American Medical Association Fourth Addition Guidelines (AMA4), which are used for assessing damages with respect to motor accident claims of all kinds. Vanessa's experience extends to fully preparing all kinds of matters for CARS Assessments, District and Supreme Court hearings and instructing both Junior and Senior Counsel/Barristers.     
Vanessa has also frequently worked on public liability and occupier's liability cases against large insurance companies. Her work has lead to substantial exposure to ligation and appearing in the District and Supreme Courts on behalf of her clients. She has a very good understanding of procedures used by the courts, which she gained as part of preparation and appearance at directions hearings, summons, motions, preliminary and status conferences. Vanessa has also had experience in managing cases the Court of Appeal, which is the highest court in her particular state.
Vanessa aims to expeditiously finalise her client's matters through alternative dispute resolution processes, ensuring that they receive the best outcome, but would not hesitate to defend her client's rights in court should it be necessary.
Vanessa is fluent in Arabic.

Audrey Pham

Audrey is a personal injury lawyer specialising in Workers Compensation claims. She is admitted as a solicitor in the Supreme Court of NSW and the High Court of Australia. With over 7 years of experience in personal injury, Audrey has handled a variety of additional plaintiff compensation claims including Work Injury Damages (employer negligence) claims, Compulsory Third Party (CTP - Motor Accident) claims, Total & Permanent Disability (TPD) claims.
As part of her work, Audrey regularly attends the Workers Compensation Commission ('WCC') and District Court. She also has substantial experience in navigating medical assessment claims through the WCC Medical Assessment process. She is particularly good in identifying complex assessment issues, which has resulted in a very high rate of favourable assessments obtained by her clients. She has also managed a large number of claims through the medical appeals process with WCC and, again, over the years obtained a very high rate of favourable outcomes at this level. This insight into the processes and procedures of workers compensation claims, along with extensive knowledge of the AMA5/Whole Person Impairment has enabled Audrey to add value to all of her workers compensation matters. Audrey is also very good at identifying potential additional claims on behalf of her clients, including negligence by third parties (not the employer), labour hire cases and superannuation claims. This has resulted in additional benefits paid to her clients in a large number of Workers Compensation claims handled by Audrey.
Audrey is a WIRO Approved Legal Service Provider (ALSP). Her extensive experience as a paralegal in personal injury developed her end to end knowledge of personal injury claims.
Audrey is bilingual, speaking fluent Vietnamese.

Elisa Lee

Elisa Lee is a solicitor in our Superannuation benefits team and she has admitted in the Supreme Court and the High Court of Australia. She specialises in Superannuation insurance benefit claims including Death benefits claims, terminal illness claims, Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) claims and also Income Protection (IP) claims (also known as Salary Continuance benefits). Elisa has extensive experience handling superannuation benefit claim matters from the very initial stages to drafting submissions and preparing further evidence to submit for internal review. She is also constantly litigating these matters in the Supreme Court.

She has experience in applying for Letters of Administration and Probate in the Supreme Court as well as commencing proceedings to determine who the correct beneficiary is for death benefit matters, overturning decisions at Procedural Fairness stage of the claims, drafting submissions to the Claims Review Committee and also suing the Insurer and Superannuation Fund Trustee for making the wrong decision on claims and commencing legal proceedings in the Supreme Court.

She has extensive experience in reviewing insurance policy documents and Trust Deeds to ensure that her clients are entitled to the benefit they deserve, drafting submissions for internal review, litigating TPD and Death Benefit matters in the Supreme Court, preparation and lodgement of TPD/Death Benefit/IP claims to the Insurer and Trustee to ensure the claims are approved.

Further, she has experience in a variety of matters such as challenging the decision in the Supreme Court for Police Blue Ribbon TPD matters, as well as challenging the calculation of the IP benefit payments from Qantas Super and also challenging the beneficiary's right to the death benefits by filing a caveat.

Elisa is fluent in Korean.

Jacky Li

Jacky, a solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia has over three years of experience working in plaintiff litigation. Jacky is experienced in the full range of personal injury matters, including:
· Motor vehicle claims;
· Public Liability and occupiers liability claims;
· Compensation to relatives claims;
· Work injury damages claims; and
· Other general negligence claims.

His focus has been on general negligence claims, motor accident claims and appellate matters. He has a lot of experience preparing matters for the Claims Assessment and Resolution Service (CARS), the District Court and Supreme Court of New South Wales. Jacky has helped prepare a number of special leave applications to the High Court of Australia. He is familiar with both the substantive laws in each of these areas and also the procedural requirements of the courts and tribunals.

Jacky works closely with Ms Mouawad, senior associate and under her guidance he has become a well balanced litigant adept at case management and strategy to advance his client’s claims.

Jacky is bilingual, speaking fluent Cantonese.

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With offices in all Australian States and Territories, Monaco Compensation Lawyers is one of Australia's leading compensation law firms.