Meet our team

Bree Knoester

PRINCIPAL LAWYER

Bree Knoester is the founder of Brave Legal and one of Australia’s leading personal injury lawyers.

 

Bree has practiced for over 18 years as both a barrister and solicitor; and has represented clients in some of Victoria’s largest compensation settlements.

Bree prides herself on being an empathetic yet tenacious lawyer, possessing a deep understanding of the law and a fearless approach to representing her clients’ interests. Most importantly, Bree understands that being injured affects almost every part of your life and having the support of an understanding, compassionate and experienced legal team is essential to achieving the best possible outcome – for your case, and for you. 

In recognition of her experience and exceptional client results, Bree has won numerous industry awards including ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in Personal Injury Litigation (Best Lawyers® in Australia 2020); and ‘Lawyer of the Year’ in Medical Negligence (Best Lawyers® in Australia 2023).  Bree has also been extensively recognised by Doyle's Guide, including being named Preeminent practitioner – Asbestos & Dust Diseases Compensation (Doyle’s Guide 2020 & 2021); and Preeminent practitioner - Work Injury Compensation (2020 & 2021).  She was a Partner of the Year Finalist for Litigation, as named by Lawyer's Weekly in  2019.

As one of Victoria’s most experienced personal injury lawyers, Bree is regularly approached by the media for commentary on high-profile cases and as a spokesperson for the most seriously injured.

If you’d like to arrange a time to speak with Bree, call us today on 03 9070 9816, email bree@bravelegal.com.au or send us a message via our contact page.

You can also connect with Bree on social media.

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Jyoti Haikerwal

LAWYER

Jyoti is a compassionate and caring lawyer with a passion for the law and a deep insight into the medical profession.  She brings this unique combination of skills to her role at Brave Legal.

Since 2017, Jyoti has achieved substantial settlements for clients injured as a result of medical negligence.  Jyoti also has experience in public liability claims and an interest in Coronial Inquests, nursing home neglect and cases involving children.  
 
Jyoti’s expertise in medical negligence is grounded in her studies at the Australian National University where she completed a double degree in Law and Medical Science.  Jyoti enjoys applying the law to complex medical situations and thrives on working hard to understand every aspect of her client’s case.  This often requires mastering a knowledge of anatomy, surgical techniques, infection control, nursing care and emergency medicine.  

Jyoti’s ability to put clients at ease and simplify medical and legal information ensures her clients clearly understand the claims process and can focus on their health and well-being.  With every person she assists, Jyoti’s priority is to have a collaborative working relationship to ensure that her clients are part of achieving the best possible outcome.  

Jyoti is involved in the Australian legal and medical community through her work as a committee member of Law Institute of Victoria's Joint AMA/LIV/VicBar Medico-Legal Standing Committee 2022; co-chair of Victorian Women Lawyers and participation of the VWL's Law Student Mentoring Program; and as a volunteer with the Australasian Birth Trauma Association (ABTA).  


Jyoti’s work with ABTA has given her a good understanding of the physical, psychiatric and emotional challenges that impact women who are injured during birth and seen her develop a keen interest in helping women who suffer from obstetric and gynaecological injuries.

In 2022, Jyoti was named winner of the Insurance category at the Lawyers Weekly 30 Under 30 awards.  She was also recognised as "One to Watch" in Medical Negligence and Litigation by Best Lawyers® in Australia.

If you’d like to arrange a time to speak with Jyoti, call us today on 03 9070 9816, email jyoti@bravelegal.com.au or send us a message via our contact page.

You can also connect with Jyoti on LinkedIn.

Lucia Nguyen

LAW CLERK

Kathryn Duerdoth 

LEGAL ASSISTANT

Lucia has worked in personal injury compensation for nine years and assisted clients with terminal illnesses for the past five years. Lucia has a special interest and expertise in dust diseases and plays a critical role in ensuring these cases are handled with care, sensitivity and progressed quickly.  She is a trusted and responsive member of the Brave Legal team, guiding families through the compensation process with patience and skill.

 

In addition to her experience in dust diseases, Lucia has a strong background in managing industrial injury cases, medical negligence and sexual assault claims. Lucia has experience with large group settlements, expedited trials and international claims. Additionally, Lucia has managed professional negligence files, public liability and Wrongs Act/Workcover dependency claims, resulting in expertise in a broad range of complex personal injury files. 

 

Lucia’s work in the Churchyard group settlement contributed to national changes to the use of chaperones in a medical setting. Lucia has played a key role in assisting sufferers of silicosis, particularly within the Vietnamese community where her language skills combined with Workcover experience ensure clients are assisted in a culturally sensitive and informed way throughout the claims process. Lucia was integral to a silicosis sufferer recently obtaining one of the first and largest lump sums in Victoria.

 

Outside of Brave Legal, Lucia enjoys Melbourne’s restaurants, spending time with her friends and family and walking her much-loved and cuddled dog.

Kathryn has worked in personal injury compensation for 29 years and has extensive knowledge of the of the processes and procedures of bringing a claim.

 

Throughout her career in personal injury work, Kathryn has been a comforting and trusted voice to clients who are seeking assistance for their injuries.  Kathryn understands that compensation is only one way for clients to begin to heal from their injuries and takes the time to listen to their stories and questions.  


Kathryn primarily works with clients that have been injured through the healthcare system and manages medical negligence claims with precision and efficiency.

 

She has also been an integral part of cases involving workplace injuries and public liability claims.  Kathryn’s patience and compassionate nature provides a sense of security to clients who are navigating the complex process of bringing a claim.  She prides herself on providing clear and precise advice as well as ensuring that her clients are kept up to date with their claim. 


Outside of Brave Legal, Kathryn is a committed member of her local football club and enjoys cooking, baking and spending time with her friends and family. 

"I was kept fully informed at every stage of my legal action with each step along the way being discussed with me. There were no surprises and any queries I had were always responded to promptly and respectfully.”

“Lucia, you have always been so responsive and thoughtful, and always accessible, thank you so much.”

EILEEN W

ALEX B

“Lucia has been outstanding.  Always very responsive and helpful.”

"I can't thank you enough and appreciate the quality of advice, professionalism, your compassion and passion for your work.  Kathryn and Jyoti were immaculate and thorough in their approach, empowering me to think rationally and make informed decisions."

MICHAEL C

GS

"I always felt the empathy from Bree, Lucia, and those working with them.  I will be ever grateful for a very successful outcome."

KEITH P

Pam Stavropoulos 

BRAVE SUPPORT, COUNSELLOR AND THERAPIST

Pam Stavropoulos is the lead counsellor and therapist for our Brave Support program, a free wellbeing service offered to clients during their legal journey.  

 

Pam's approach is centred around supporting the emotional needs of the client and she is well equipped and briefed to assist clients on an ongoing or urgent basis.  
 
She takes a holistic view of client wellbeing, acknowledging that concerns may be situational but simultaneously related to societal and historical factors.  She is passionate about implementing trauma-informed practices within the law and recognises that working in the area of conflict can be stressful and place psychological strain on clients and the staff that are supporting them.
 

 

Pam is specialised in complex trauma and widely regarded for her advocacy, published works, and delivery of training and seminars.  She was previously Head of Research with Blue Knot Foundation (the National Centre of Excellence for Complex Trauma), and is a member of the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD) from which she has twice received an annual writing award.  

 

She holds a Graduate Diploma in Psychotherapy, Certificate IV in Workplace Training and Assessment, and a PhD in Political Science from the University of Melbourne.  Pam is a former Fulbright Scholar, has held lectureships at Macquarie University and the University of New England, taught in two Master of Counselling courses, and is a former Program Director of the Jansen Newman Institute who consults as well as counsels and offers clinical supervision in the area of complex trauma.