Our People

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When you are with Monaco Solicitors, you are assigned to one of our lawyers specialising in the particular area of compensation law. Each of our lawyers work closely in tight knit teams (or “brains trusts”) so we are able 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

Managing Partner - Senior Lawyer

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 most 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.
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Kelly Keane

Partner - Senior Lawyer Accredited Specialist

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 organizations 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.
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Vanessa Azzi

Senior Associate - Senior Lawyer

Vanessa Azzi, a Senior Associate, is a solicitor admitted in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and High Court of Australia. She 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.

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 appearances at directions hearings. Vanessa has also had experience in managing cases in the Court of Appeal.

Vanessa aims to expeditiously finalize 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.
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Anthony Porthouse

Special Counsel - Senior Lawyer - Accredited Specialist

Anthony is an Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury Law and Special Counsel at Monaco Solicitors. He has over 25 years experience acting for plaintiffs as both solicitor and advocate.

Anthony has a wide experience in all areas of personal injury law but has particular expertise in medical negligence, complex claims, and catastrophic injury. Anthony has a detailed understanding of the medical and legal issues that arise in these types of claims.

Anthony is a skilled litigator, driven to obtain the best possible result for clients at trial or by alternative dispute resolution. He has a special interest in the practice and procedure of the courts and works to obtain a tactical advantage for the client in those areas. He believes that thorough preparation is the key to obtaining the best result possible for each and every client.
Anthony relishes litigation and has achieved a number of multi-million dollar verdicts in difficult and novel cases. He works predominantly in the bullring of the District and Supreme Court but has extensive experience in most courts and tribunals, including the Federal Court, Conciliation and Arbitration Service and Workers Compensation Commission, as well as all appellate levels up to the High Court.

Anthony is also committed to alternative dispute resolution and will work to achieve a suitable outcome for the client without the additional costs of a court hearing, where possible.
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Ben Ralph

Senior Associate

Ben Ralph is a Senior Associate and leads our Superannuation, Total and Permanent Disablement (TPD) and Life Insurance department.
Ben previously worked in-house for insurers and now brings his developed knowledge of TPD and life insurance claims to the firm.
Ben hails originally from North Queensland and is passionate about getting the best possible outcome for his clients as well as resolving matters as quickly as possible. Ben prides himself on his ability to connect well with clients.
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Larissa Atkinson

Senior Associate

Larissa Atkinson is a Senior lawyer, working as part of our medical negligence team. She has over 12 years’ experience representing injured clients across all areas of personal injury law. Since 2017, Larissa has worked exclusively for clients injured due to medical and associated treatment.

Larissa is dedicated to achieving the best result possible for every client. She understands that the legal system can be daunting, and ensures that her clients are supported throughout their claim: from commencement of investigations, through to resolution.

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Daniella Dababneh


Daniella Dababneh was admitted a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW in 2020 and works closely with our Senior Associate, Ben Ralph, in our superannuation, total and permanent disablement and life Insurance team. Daniella also works closely with our Partner, Kelly Keane, in our Workers Compensation team.

In understanding the strain of one’s inability to function as they once could, Daniella uses this as her core motivator in working tirelessly and efficiently. She recognises the psychological, physical, economic and social effect of injuries and illnesses and works meticulously in an avid matter to provide excellent representation and ensure that the outcome of her all her client’s matters are both just and fair.

Daniella prides herself on having strong communication skills and an ability to liaise with clients from all walks of life. This has allowed her to build durable and confident relationships with her clients.

She is a passionate advocate for those who are suffering from injury or illness and brings knowledge and skills from her previous experience. Prior to joining Monaco, Daniella assisted in the representation of plaintiffs in the areas of Motor Vehicle Accidents and Medical Negligence. Daniella also worked closely with the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans to formulate submissions to the Commonwealth Parliaments Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trades Inquiry into Human Organ Trafficking and Organ Transplants.

She also speaks Arabic.
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Tom Drake


Tom Drake is an Associate lawyer, working as part of our Workers’ Compensation team. In 2019, he was admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW, after completing a Juris Doctor at the University of Technology, Sydney. In the Workers’ Compensation team, Tom works closely with our Partner, Kelly Keane. His focus is Work Injury Damages and industrial accident claims. Tom brings over 11 years of personal injury law expertise to the firm.

After his admission, Tom worked at a firm where he represented Workers’ Compensation insurers. This gives him valuable insight into insurer strategies, and makes him uniquely qualified to help clients navigate the pitfalls of Workers’ Compensation and Work Injury Damages claims. Tom cares deeply about his clients, and has great empathy for the way a workplace injury can alter someone’s life. He ensures his clients receive maximum compensation, as well as every valuable benefit they are entitled to.
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Mallika Uppal


Mallika Uppal is one of our medical negligence specialist lawyers. She works closely with Anthony Porthouse, Special Counsel and Accredited Specialist in Personal Injury.

Mallika graduated with honours in her law degree and has specialised in medical negligence since her admission as a legal practitioner. Prior to working at Monaco Solicitors, Mallika gained valuable experience in the Federal Government representing ministers and governmental departments in high profile and high value claims involving medical negligence.

She draws upon her experience working in defendant claims to predict the other sides case strategy towards a claim. This unique insight equips her with the skills to ensure her cases are meticulously prepared and allow her to achieve the best possible outcome for her clients.

Mallika is a passionate advocate for her clients. She understands the daunting nature of legal proceedings and the trauma associated with her client’s injuries. Although she is known for her empathetic and warm demeanour, Mallika is not afraid to rigorously fight for her client’s rights
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Jordan Busic


Jordan Busic is a specialist solicitor, working as part of our medical negligence team. In 2019, he graduated from Macquarie University with a double degree in Commerce and Law (Honours).

Prior to joining our firm, Jordan worked at community legal centres, discovering a passion for helping people neglected by the health system. This led Jordan to a career in medical negligence, eventually bringing his years of experience to Monaco Solicitors.

Jordan derives great satisfaction from helping clients achieve their best possible outcome. He understands the emotional trauma that often comes with medical malpractice, and is dedicated to helping his clients achieve closure.
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Lucy Tait

Law Graduate

Lucy Tait is a law graduate, working as part of our Medical Negligence team. In 2021, she completed her Juris Doctor Law degree. Lucy also holds a Bachelor of Nursing, and practiced as a Registered Nurse for ten years.

Previously, Lucy worked as a Nurse Executive at one of Sydney’s major hospitals, where she was awarded an executive medal for ‘above and beyond’ patient care. While assisting on coronial enquiries, Lucy developed a passion for law. She felt that the legal profession could benefit from the knowledge and experience of frontline practitioners.

Working alongside Special Counsel Anthony Porthouse, Lucy uses her strong legal expertise and background in healthcare to achieve justice for patients and their families. She is specialised in reading and interpreting clinical records, and is a passionate advocate for clients who have suffered injury and loss through medical negligence.
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Daphne Zhuang


Daphne Zhuang is a paralegal, working as part of our Medical Negligence team. She is currently in her fourth year of a combined law degree.

Daphne assists the team with all stages of a medical negligence claim, including: drafting chronologies; preparing for mediations; and briefing counsel and medical experts. Daphne prides herself on her empathy, as well as her ability to connect and communicate with clients.

Outside of law, Daphne enjoys reading, learning languages, and painting. Daphne is fluent in Mandarin.
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Katarina Miskovic


Katarina Miskovic is a Paralegal, working as part of our Workers’ Compensation team. In 2022, she will complete her combined Bachelor of Law and Arts.

Katarina works closely with Associate Tom Drake and our other Workers’ Compensation solicitors. She assists with every stage of a claim, and helps our clients every step of the way.

Katarina is driven by the rewarding nature of Workers’ Compensation, and prides herself on delivering respectful, understanding client care.

Katarina works tirelessly to capably support our clients, and help the Workers’ Compensation team achieve a just and fair outcome for them.
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Andrea Cuadros Lu


Andrea is a paralegal, working as part of our Superannuation and TPD team. She is currently undertaking a combined degree in Law and Commerce, majoring in Marketing Management.

Working closely with Senior Associate Ben Ralph, Andrea performs our free investigations into client’s superannuation accounts and benefits. She enjoys critically analysing insurance policies, and uses her strong legal knowledge to achieve the best outcome for both clients and businesses.

Andrea understands that every client is unique, and she approaches every case with empathy and patience. She finds personal injury law rewarding, and prides herself on the difference she and her colleagues strive to make.

Outside of work, Andrea enjoys reading, astronomy and spending quality time with friends and family. She is also fluent in Spanish.
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Nguyen Lan Darcy


Nguyen Lan is a paralegal, working as part of our Workers’ Compensation team. She is currently undertaking the fourth year of her combined Bachelor of Law and Arts at the University of New South Wales.

Nguyen Lan works closely with the team to guide and support claims through the Workers’ Compensation system. With a background in client service roles, Nguyen Lan understands both how intimidating the Workers’ Compensation system can be, and how crucial clear communication is. Nguyen Lan is conversationally fluent in Vietnamese

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Sally Sutton


Sally Sutton is a Paralegal in our Superannuation Benefits Team. She has been working in plaintiff personal injury law firms for 30+ years.

Sally works in the Superannuation Benefits Team alongside Ben Ralph. Sally assists with all aspects of Total and Permanent Disablement Claims, Income Protection Claims, Terminal Illness Claims and Death Benefit Claims from the initial stages of preparing claim forms through to assisting with preparation of briefing counsel for claims that are litigated in the Supreme Court.

Sally has worked with Senior Counsel and lawyers on plaintiff personal injury matters such as workers compensation, work injury damages, public liability, dust diseases and motor vehicle accident claims. She has an extensive knowledge of plaintiff personal injury matters.
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Emily Parker


Emily is a Paralegal working within our superannuation and TPD team and is currently undertaking her law degree. She works closely with the TPD team to perform our free investigations into client’s superannuation accounts and benefits. With her degree focusing on communications, Emily understands that all clients deserve empathy and kindness during their most difficult times.

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Kitty Yen


Kitty Yen is a Paralegal, working across numerous areas of law, including: motor vehicle claims, family provision claims, public liability claims, and general negligence claims.

She is currently undertaking a combined Bachelor of Law and Psychology at the University of New South Wales.

Working closely with Senior Associate Vanessa Azzi, Kitty liaises with clients and other firms; drafts affidavits, court documents and internal review submissions; briefs counsel; and managing the team’s existing and prospective clients.

Kitty has a passion for clients, approaching all communication with enthusiasm and empathy. She is committed to ensuring a fair outcome and quality representation for all clients.
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Edward Ford


Edward is a Paralegal working as part of our Medical Negligence team. He is currently undertaking a combined Bachelor of Law and Arts, majoring in International Relations.

Prior to joining the firm, Edward worked at a community legal centre that specialised in welfare rights. There, he developed a passion for helping welfare recipients secure the financial assistance they deserve. Edward brings this passion to bear in his Medical Negligence work, helping clients with medical malpractice injuries receive financial compensation and closure.
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