About Us

John Farren

DIRECTOR

 

John has extensive experience in all aspects of workplace and employment law. He has advised and represented numerous employers and employees across the public sector, not for profit, statutory authorities and private sector before Workplace and Industrial, Administrative and Statutory Tribunals and Courts at both State and Federal levels.

Dispute resolution through both advocacy in the courts and tribunals and skilled negotiation are John’s areas of special interest and experience.

Before co-founding Farren McRae Workplace Lawyers and Consultants, John practised as a Barrister-at-Law at the Queensland Private Bar for over six years.  John’s move to practising as a solicitor arose from his core drive to help individual employees and employers of all sizes effectively resolve complex workplace disputes and issues – a drive he believed was better achieved in practice as a solicitor heading his own firm.

John is also a trusted legal adviser to both employers and employees in relation to a wide range of employment law issues.

In addition to his legal experience, John has over 20 years’ experience in undertaking complex workplace investigations relating to misconduct, corrupt conduct, bullying and workplace harassment, serious disciplinary matters (including Code of Conduct breaches), grievances, discrimination and worker’s compensation issues.

John is an experienced workplace mediator, having developed his own distinctive style of mediation that focuses on assisting the parties to identify the root causes of their conflict and agreeing upon how their working relationships can move forward in a more positive way.

He is also currently one of two Specialist Directors on the Board of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service (QLD) Ltd and from 2012 to 2017 served pro bono as an independent Board member on the National Board of Management of the Salvation Army’s Employment Plus.

From 2004 to 2007, John sat as a part-time member of the Queensland Public Service Appeals Tribunal (as it then was), as a delegate of the Public Service Commissioner. 

Qualifications

  • Admitted Solicitor
  • Legal Practitioner of the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Juris Doctor, University of Queensland
  • Graduate Diploma Professional Legal Education and Training, University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Commerce (IR and HRM), Griffith University

Legal Practice Areas

Workplace & Employment Law

Consulting Service Areas

Workplace Investigations

Workplace Investigations

Workplace Reviews Icon.

Workplace Reviews

Mediation

Workplace Reviews Icon.

Investigation Reviews

Facilitated discussion icon

Facilitated Discussions

Alison McRae

DIRECTOR

 

Alison specialises in resolving workplace conflict for parties in dispute, whether that conflict is beginning to simmer or is at the formal level of a complaint to an independent government body specialising in the investigation of corruption.

Her conflict resolution expertise extends across  workplace reviews, facilitated discussions, mediation, workplace investigations and their independent reviews.

Alison conducts workplace reviews across teams and whole organisations, identifying systemic issues, including structural and cultural concerns, and provides clients with clear, pragmatic advice and solutions.

Drawing on Alison’s unique skill set, including interviewing, policy analysis, data analysis, as well as strategic management expertise, clients state that her reports provide clear guidance for interventions that are workable, practical and are straightforward to immediately implement. 

Alison is an experienced and reliable facilitator of difficult and tense discussions as well as a nationally accredited mediator of workplace conflict, following the facilitative mediation model of practice. Having completed her studies with the Queensland University of Technology, Alison is a member of and accredited as a mediator with the Resolution Institute in Queensland.

Using her extensive experience, Alison employs transparent and thorough workplace investigation processes while maintaining a sensitive and insightful investigative approach. Alison regularly prepares findings of fact in relation to allegations of misconduct, sexual harassment, conflicts of interest, discrimination, and other breaches of the relevant code of conduct or applicable policy.

Alison’s workplace investigation processes and reports are clearly and logically documented and highly defensible. As a result, Alison conducts independent investigation reviews at an expert level, and compares against best-practice standards.

Alison works to effectively communicate and manage her relationships with key stakeholders at all organisational levels. Her work spans a wide range of both public and private sector clients across Australia.

A skilled writer and communicator, Alison has developed and delivered tailored training programs and workshops and drafted and led organisation-wide reviews of policies, procedures, and processes. 

Before commencing as a private consultant and then co-founding Farren McRae Workplace Lawyers and Consultants, Alison worked in the education sector for 15 years across Queensland and Tasmania. Beginning in the Tasmanian Department of Education’s investigations unit, Alison investigated and managed employee, parent, and student complaints regarding misconduct, bullying and discrimination.

Alison then went on to work in various roles in the public and private sectors, first in Tasmania and then in Queensland, working up to the national level. During her impressive career, Alison has amassed extensive specialist and management experience guiding policy and compliance issues in both the private and public sectors at the state and national levels.

Alison is a nationally accredited mediator and a Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. Alison currently serves on the Queensland Advisory Committee of SecondBite.

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Nationally Accredited Mediator
  • Member of the Resolution Institute
  • Graduate Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors
  • Fellow of the Institute of Managers and Leaders
  • Member of the Australian Human Resources Institute
  • Licenced Private Investigator
  • Certification III Investigative Services
  • Prince 2 Practitioner Certificate in Project Management
  • Prince 2 Foundation Certificate in Project Management
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Acc, Fin & BusMan), University of Tasmania

Consulting Service Areas

Workplace Investigations

Workplace Investigations

Workplace Reviews Icon.

Workplace Reviews

Mediation

Workplace Reviews Icon.

Investigation Reviews

Facilitated discussion icon

Facilitated Discussions

Kelly Cooper

SPECIAL COUNSEL

 

Kelly has significant experience on both sides of the “industrial fence”, representing and advising both employees and employers. She has built her career around her ability to assist clients to understand and implement their workplace rights and obligations and to foster harmonious workplace relations. 

She has worked for private and public law firms, unions, one of Australia’s leading universities and Queensland government departments. 

Kelly has also been an in-house litigation lawyer for Australia’s workplace relations regulator, the Fair Work Ombudsman.

As such, Kelly is in the unique position of having a “360° workplace relations perspective”. This perspective places Kelly in good stead to advise her clients on both the legal technicalities of any given issue as well as the practical realities.

Her work has seen her appear in various judicial settings including the Federal Circuit Court, the Fair Work Commission, the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, the Australian Human Rights Commission, Queensland’s Anti-Discrimination Commission and Tribunal (as it was then) and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

In these settings she has represented her clients in mediations and conciliation conferences and minor hearings as well as fully contested liability/penalty hearings, as instructing solicitor to Counsel.

During her time with the Queensland Government’s Crown Law, Kelly predominantly practiced anti-discrimination law – an area of special interest for Kelly.

In her early career, Kelly gained extensive experience in enterprise bargaining through her roles as a union officer and as the Australian National University’s first in-house Industrial Advocate, Kelly played an integral part in strategy development, negotiation and drafting of enterprise agreements and provided advice on balloting processes, proposed industrial action and certification processes.  Kelly also played a key educational role by delivering employee information sessions for the roll-out of newly certified enterprise agreements.

 

Qualifications

  • Solicitor admitted to the Supreme Court of the Australian Capital Territory
  • Holder of unrestricted Practising Certificate in Queensland
  • Bachelor of Laws, Queensland University of Technology
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice, Australian National University
  • Bachelor of Arts (International and Industrial Relations), University of Queensland

Legal Practice Areas

Workplace & Employment Law

Rachel Ferris

PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT

 

Rachel has over a decade of demonstrated expertise as a management consultant. During her time at two of Australia’s ‘Big 4’ accounting and consulting firms, Rachel consulted extensively in the health, electricity, education and government sectors.

Through her project experience, she has developed strong expertise in change management for projects and programs, capability development, organisational and IT system process efficiency and redesign, governance and business maturity development.  

Rachel’s workplace review expertise encompasses the full spectrum of cultural reviews, structural redesign, service and process redesign, learning and capability reviews, and efficiency and effectiveness reviews (including budget realignment).

Rachel has also managed organisational-wide reviews of strategy, vision and values, helping organisations to align their goals to their actions to achieve success.

Rachel is committed to helping organisations optimise their performance and to delivering project outcomes.

She is intuitive, empathetic, and has strong communication skills. Rachel patiently collaborates with stakeholders to guide them through change and empowers her clients through skills and knowledge transfer.

Rachel has the rare ability to wade through mountains of systems, documentation and processes and to distil them into clear, logical and actionable outcomes.

Qualifications & Memberships

  • Six Sigma Green Belt

  • Prince 2 Foundation Certificate in Project Management

  • Bachelor of Business Management (Human Resources), University of Queensland

  • Bachelor of Science (Psychology), University of Queensland

Consulting Service Areas

Workplace Reviews Icon.

Workplace Reviews

Need to resolve a challenging workplace issue?

Book a consultation with John or Alison to review your case.