Johnston Withers was founded in Adelaide in 1946 by Elliot Johnston QC. Elliot was later joined by his wife Elizabeth and the firm of Johnston & Johnston practised throughout the 1950s until Elizabeth took up a role at the Crown Law Office. They both had extensive backgrounds in Union organisations.
Throughout the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s the firm grew through its industrial work and was closely involved with numerous Unions and the Union movement generally. The firmís areas of practice in industrial work, crime and personal injuries saw some prominent practitioners grace the firm in those years, such as:
- Brian Withers now Judge Withers Master of Supreme Court;
- Robyn Layton QC now Judge Layton Supreme Court;
- Andrew Collett, Barrister;
- Paul Heywood-Smith QC;
- Lindy Powell QC;
- Anne McLean;
- Carmel Kerin;
- Jack Lewis who became a Judge in the District Court;
- Peter McCusker now a Judge in the Workers Compensation Tribunal;
- John Rau, Barrister and a Member of Parliament;
- Geoff Eames QC, Judge of the Supreme Court of Victoria;
- Kym Millard, Magistrate;
- Clive Kitchin, Magistrate;
- Chris Kourakis QC, recently appointed a Judge in the Supreme Court.
All of the above and many others have contributed to the firmís rich history and reputation.
The firm evolved and expanded throughout the 1980s and 1990s under the stewardship of Brian Withers. During this time Johnston Withers broadened its services to incorporate a commercial section including conveyancing.
Clients of the firm vary from individuals involved in situations of legal difficulty to corporate structures exercising specific legal rights. The firm takes pride in its reputation for fighting for the underdog and the disadvantaged, and it recognises its practical and ethical obligations to provide top quality legal services to all members of the community or organisation which may seek its advice or assistance. Whilst the firmís major work base historically came from employee groups, various trade unions and their members and the labour movement generally, it has also had a broad general public clientele. The firm has continued to service clients in the personal injury,WorkCover,industrial,family and criminal law fields but also in evolving and developing corporate areas, small business and in representing Aboriginal organisations.
Johnston Withers is the South Australian legal profession member of MSI Global Alliance, an association of independent law and accounting firms with over 250 member firms in 100 countries. The firm is also a member of the Statewide Legal Group, an association of one city and five independent country legal firms.
Today Johnston Withers has permanent offices in Adelaide, Port Augusta and Clare, and in addition services Roxby Downs and Whyalla on a regular basis. Currently legal services are provided to clients who range from individuals, families and small businesses, to trade unions, community organisations and occasionally, large corporations.
Johnston Withers is proud to be part of the South Australian legal fraternity. It continues to practise in most areas of law and is strongly committed to its overriding principle, that of Client Focus and Quality Service.