Burbank & Brown

Nowra, South Coast & Wollongong Lawyers

About Us

People you can trust

Burbank & Brown Lawyers & Conveyancers are experienced in life and law. We know how difficult a brush with the law, a court appearance, separation or passing of a family member can be if and when it happens. We will be there for you.

Formerly MDV Family Lawyers, we are the longest established family law practice in the region, and are highly experienced in the law that you need during all stages of your life. We will support our clients towards a favourable resolution.

If you are seeking realistic, honest and compassionate legal advice, Burbank & Brown are the legal team for you.

What We Do

Nowra, South Coast & Wollongong

We are based in Nowra in the beautiful Shoalhaven region, and assists clients on the NSW South Coast as far south as Ulladulla and Moruya, and north to Shellharbour, Wollongong and Sydney.

We understand that during all stages of life our clients may need us. Whether you are buying your first home, selling to downsize or upsize, dealing with a marriage breakdown, a brush with the law, a traffic offence, a criminal matter or making or updating your Will, we understand and can guide you through the process.

The team at Burbank and Brown in their offices in Nowra NSW Australia

Why Choose Us

Our dedication to particular specialisms of law – namely family law, estate planning, conveyancing and criminal law – provides our clients with confidence that they are seeking advice from, and being represented by experts in these fields. As specialists, we are highly experienced in family law processes and supporting clients to a favourable resolution.

Having a small, dedicated and talented team allows us to offer clients a more personalised service. If you are seeking realistic, honest and compassionate legal advice and representation then Burbank & Brown are the legal team for you.

When dealing with the courts it is important that you are represented by a professional legal team with a solid reputation. We have worked hard to build a positive reputation with both the courts and other law firms in the Nowra and Shoalhaven region. When choosing Burbank & Brown you can feel 100% confident that a respected firm is representing your interests.

Family law matters can be stressful, personal and highly emotional. Our aim at Burbank & Brown is to support and guide you through this difficult time by providing professional, responsive and effective legal advice at all times. You can trust that your privacy will be respected, and that at all times you will feel comfortable and confident with our representation.

Burbank & Brown takes pride in the provision of effective, compassionate and realistic family law advice. We take our responsibility towards our clients very seriously. We want you to feel 100% confident that we are representing your interests at all times and that we will work tirelessly towards the best possible result for you.

Melissa Vine, Principle Solicitor at Burbank and Brown

Melissa Dianne Vine

Principal Solicitor

Qualifications: LLB, BCom, GDLP, FDRP, LLM (Applied Law-Family Law)

Melissa graduated from the University of Wollongong in 2010 and has practiced in the Sydney CBD, Wollongong and her home town of Nowra before making the bold decision to start her own law firm. Melissa is passionate about exceeding clients expectations.

Following her admission Melissa practised in the areas of conveyancing and civil litigation, wills and estates and family law. Following the opening of MDV Family Lawyers, now Burbank & Brown, in 2015 the focus shifted to the provision of specialist family law services. Melissa is a member of the NSW Law Society, the Women Lawyers Association of NSW, a Specialist Domestic Violence Panel Solicitor and an accredited Independent Children’s Lawyer. Melissa also has post graduate qualifications as a registered Family Dispute Resolution Practitioner and holds a Masters in Applied Law – Family Law.

Lisa Cooke

Senior Associate - Family Law

Qualifications: LLB, GDLP

Lisa has returned to the Shoalhaven after practising in Sydney for a number of years at a specialist family law firm in Sydney’s Central Business District. Lisa has extensive experience assisting clients in navigating the just resolution of property and parenting matters, in the best interests of children, with empathy and attention to detail. Lisa strives to always obtain the most favourable outcomes for her clients and in the best interests of their children.

Lisa has experience running family law arbitrations and mediations in the early resolution space. Although Lisa prides herself on her ability to resolve both property and parenting matters without the need to go to court, Lisa also has extensive experience litigating family law matters from the commencement of proceedings to final hearing.

Lisa’s return to her home town means our clients now have access to expert knowledge without having to leave the local area.

Anthony Gabriele

Solicitor - Wills & Estates and Conveyancing

Qualifications: LLB, GDLP

Anthony has a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of Wollongong. Prior to his admission, Anthony spent many years with the Practice assisting our solicitors and senior associates before being admitted as a solicitor. 

Anthony now practices as a solicitor in the areas of Family Law, Wills & Estates and Conveyancing.

Brent Strong

Solicitor - Criminal Law and General Litigation

Qualifications: LLB, GDLP

Brent has strong ties to the shoalhaven local area being Berry born and bred. Brent has a Bachelor of Law from Deakin University and a wealth of experience working under tight deadlines and high pressure after a successful career as an Executive Chef, both at home and abroad, Brent has taken on the challenge of a career change.

Brent is  willing to go above and beyond to ensure you are always looked after and is a strong court advocate. Brent practices in the areas of Criminal Law and General Litigation.

Colin O’Neill

Chief Financial Officer

Colin has over 35 years of experience in all things financial and accounting. Before joining the Practice Colin worked in both commercial and not-for-profit business sectors where he developed and grew his skill set focused on management accounting, cost accounting, financial accounting and financial report writing.

One of Colin’s greatest strengths is being able to turn numbers into words, understood at all levels. Colin is responsible for managing the Practice's business and client financials. Colin has also offered his experience in several volunteering roles including board representation as treasurer for sporting clubs and school parents & citizens committees. Colin holds several accounting qualifications including a master’s degree from the University of New England, Armidale.

Colin is an avid golfer and loves watching rugby league.

Karen Newell

Senior Paralegal to the Principal Solicitor

Karen has only ever worked within the legal industry. Karen has more than 25 years experience as a paralegal. Karen is experienced in the areas of family law, wills & estates, criminal law and general litigation. Karen's years of practice have her meeting with clients, working with Senior Counsel and Counsel, opposing solicitors and many other key legal stakeholders including court staff and professional valuers with ease.

Karen prides herself on her integrity, excellent communication skills and patience and understands the pressures of the law from the perspective of a practitioner and the client. Karen worked predominantly in Sydney and the Sutherland Shire before relocating to the Shoalhaven area to settle on an acreage property.

Karen is a Justice of the Peace.

Michelle McGarry


Michelle is our resident receptionist and your first contact at Burbank & Brown. Michelle is a lifetime Shoalhaven local with a wealth of experience in customer service and client management. Michelle’s experience allows her to identify quickly and accurately which one of our lawyers is best able to assist in meeting your client needs.

Out of the office Michelle enjoys nothing more than spending time with her three amazing children, cooking BBQ Sunday brunches and getting creative with art projects.

Melissa Anthony

Legal Support Officer

Melissa is the LSO to our Senior Associate, Lisa Cooke. Melissa remains focused on family law and prides herself on her attention to detail and approachable personality.

Melissa has a wealth of experience in client relations and administration.  Melissa is a Shoalhaven local who enjoys spending time by the beach with a good coffee and with her young family outside of work hours.


what our clients say