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Helix Humans are the best

Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman December 20, 2021

I am often asked “why Helix?” and my answer is always the same…it’s the people.

While I am very grateful to be given a platform to raise awareness of industry issues, something I love doing every day, for me nothing is as rewarding as seeing the Helix Humans happy and successful. I appreciate our continual and tireless commitment to delivering innovative solutions to industry parties. I love the fact that we freely share knowledge and information without any strings attached.

We have done some amazing things this year including our 2021 Events Trusts are a reality, are you ready? and Building Better Businesses: Adjudication Outlook Event. Both events were well attended and wouldn’t have been possible without our knowledgeable team and the help of our amazing Helix Humans.

I get tremendous satisfaction in receiving daily feedback from parties about the quality and comprehensive legal services our great lawyers pump out every day. We have tremendous lawyers right across the state, including Gerard Meade who enjoys an envious reputation up in North Queensland as a trustworthy and reliable specialist construction and procurement lawyer. In Townsville he is joined by Heidi Avolio who specialises in dispute avoidance, best practice contract administration, and adjudication and litigation, all of which she does with the most infectious smile on her face.

We have a UK based lawyer, Sarah Shirley who specialises in front end development contracts. I have observed a massive sigh of relief in the office to come in and find work completed while the Brisbane office slept! We were also blessed to be able to still work with Sarah, despite being on other ends of the world, as you can see from our Helix Essential Series. We have all missed seeing Sarah in person now for several years, but she remains an integral and valued member of Helix.

I enjoy seeing our co-founders, Janelle Kerrisk and Dayna Gilbert getting recognition for Helix achievements. As I regularly say, none of us Helix Humans would be accomplishing anything in a work sense, including quite frankly basking in these achievements, if it was not for the courage of these two establishing Helix five years ago. Janelle, Dayna, Earl Tan and myself are the OG leaders and we have established the foundation of Helix Legal that I will be forever proud of. I have the utmost respect for Earl, Janelle and Dayna as leaders, and I am looking forward to their continued success.

Have you met Jonathan Miliszewski and Craig Holmes, our first Helix Legal Associates!!

We recently announced that Helix Humans Jonathan Miliszewski and Craig Holmes have been promoted to Associate.

Craig and Jonathan provide the highest quality of work and support to their clients, and are always extending a hand to help our Helix Humans.

Both of these young men are what I hope there is more of in the future of the legal profession. I had both the pleasure and misfortune of knowing many lawyers in my career history, and I can say that both Craig and Jonathan are the best of the best.

Jonathan and Craig both joined the Helix Legal team in 2018 and are integral to the future of the firm. Their continued dedication and commitment to Helix is never unnoticed, and I can’t wait to see what they continue to achieve in the years to come.

Congratulations on your promotions Craig and Jonathan!

Where the Future of Helix Lives!

The thing that gives me the greatest pride is working directly with our outstanding young Helix Humans, and watching others progress as great lawyers, but more importantly, as good people.

Two and half years ago I wrote an article titled A spotlight on Helix Humans where I featured three of our young law clerks. They are often the unsung heroes of a law firm that move through a tremendous period of growth in a very short amount of time.

Let’s have a look at, in their own words, what these three outstanding young Helix Humans have been up to since I wrote the mentioned article above. I consider myself very fortunate to have had a lot to do with these three Helix Humans over the past several years. They have been and remain an absolute pleasure to work with.

Teresa Allison, who has transitioned from law clerk to being a lawyer this year is a very tenacious, clear thinking, and information-hungry person. She strives to learn and be a better lawyer every day, and I very much admire this trait in her.

Johanna Cardona, again, is on par with Teresa when it comes to being tenacious, clear thinking, and information hungry. Jo is the only one of these three Helix Humans who has been with Helix since I joined over four years ago. Watching her progress into becoming a lawyer in late 2022 has been a sheer delight.

When Emily Taylor joined us several years ago, unfortunately for her but very fortunate for me, she drew the short straw by getting ‘project Michael’. Poor Em. This meant that she was asked to work with me!

Anybody who closely follows Helix will be well aware of our long-standing comprehensive and strategic social media focus. Janelle Kerrisk is the architect of this program and I provide a lot of subject matter for it.

However, our social media focus has been supercharged with the contribution of Emily over the past several years. She is an incredibly talented and creative ‘out of the box’ thinker, something I will be encouraging her to keep developing.

As Emily transitions to life as a lawyer, the ‘project Michael’ baton has been handed to Sophie Port, with assistance from Sophia Gabauer. ‘The Sophs’ are getting great training and support from Emily and other Helix Humans.

Certainly, I am very committed to helping them as much as I can in the future. I believe we must always support each other, but particularly our young Helix Humans in their work and personal development.

Good work culture is a topical conversation these days. I believe very strongly that good work culture cannot be achieved from being imposed from the top down. Certainly, those at the top set the standards and have to ‘walk the talk’ in this regard.

However, I think in terms of Helix, long term great work culture will be achieved through our young Helix Humans being appropriately supported and encouraged. This should happen while they are growing and developing, and then gradually taking on some form of leadership role.

Let’s hear from these talented young women themselves…..

Emily Taylor


Since Michael’s “A spotlight on Helix Humans” article in 2020, I have graduated from my dual Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Business (Accounting) at QUT. I am now working through my PLT studies and plan on being admitted as a solicitor in April next year. That is both exciting and scary! I have been enjoying assisting Helix’s front end team and I am looking forward to continuing to learn A LOT as a baby lawyer.

In the past year, it’s been wonderful to have the opportunity to attend events in person. Teresa and I have buddied up to attend a couple of events held by WIDAC. If you are or know any women in design or construction, I highly recommend signing up as a member. The events are entertaining and a great way to get out and mingle!

I’ve also been lucky enough to support the Helix crew at the NAWIC Annual Award Ceremony to celebrate Dayna Gilbert’s nomination as Business Woman of the Year, and an event to celebrate Helix being a finalist – and winner – of Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards in the category of Innovator of the Year (Firm) and Dayna as a finalist for Legal Support Professional of the Year (Dayna’s on fire!).

In March, Michael and I started working together on the Build Back Better podcast. Not many people starting in legal jobs can say they are planning a podcast – how very #notanotherlawfirm. This was a great chance to work on my communication skills and network with our successful industry guests without the pressure of being legal work. We have episodes featuring:

  • Kate Raymond, Former Assistant Commissioner (Services Trades & Regulatory) for the Queensland Building and Construction Commission (QBCC) and current National Policy Lead at the Australian Constructors Association (ACA);
  • Radmila Desic, a carpenter by trade and NAWIC Brisbane’s Regional Manager; 
  • Felicity Furey, co-founder of WeAspire and Power of Engineering, Engineer in Residence at Swinburne University; and
  • A special roundtable episode with Claire O’Rourke of Bluebird Property, Greta Egerton of BHC and Sarah Dixon of Urbaine Communications.

We have been so busy in the second half of the year and have not got to recording more episodes, however, we will be back so stay tuned! If you haven’t listened to the podcast already, you can listen on YouTube, Spotify and Apple.

I enjoy what I have worked on so far, however, it wouldn’t be the same without the amazing people at Helix! They are truly the best and most supportive crew towards each other.

Outside of work, I have been doing swimming training in preparation for the Noosa Triathlon which we competed in teams on November 31 and in September, I travelled down to Tasmania for a hiking extravaganza with a couple of friends.

In 2022, I am eager to take on more projects and legal work alongside the Helix family, and hopefully, go on a few more adventures (maybe Kakadu??)!

Teresa Allison

A lot has come to pass since Michael wrote an article about Helix’s three law clerks, including the introduction of two new clerk faces, Sophie and Sophia (AKA ‘The Sophs’). You can check out Sophie’s One Hot Minute here and Sophia’s here, but stay tuned for their introduction article.

Another update is that I have since moved on from my days as a clerk to finally achieve that solicitor status on my admission in February 2021. In true Helix spirit, there is a video to document the festivities, which you can watch below. I cannot thank Helix enough for making my day so special, they went above and beyond what I expected and made it a day I will always treasure.

Throughout 2021, I have had so many opportunities to step out of my comfort zone with Helix, including (but not limited to):

  1. Attending the Future of Construction Summit (FCON21) in Sydney alongside our colleagues at Morrissey Law + Advisory where we hosted a panel on innovative development and their role in the future of construction. I wrote about my experience and thoughts following the conference, which was split into Volume 1, Volume 2 and Volume 3;
  2. Socialising with my fellow legal community by attending WIDAC events and most recently the NAWIC Annual Award Ceremony which I attended to support the nomination of Dayna Gilbert as Business Woman of the Year, alongside my fellow Helix crew and clerks; and
  3. Competing the 10km run in the Noosa triathlon relay with my fellow humans, Emily Taylor (swim) and Craig Homes (bike). Being the first triathlon for all of us, I think we smashed it and do not think I could have done it without them, or the cheers from the official Helix Support Squad.

I have also had the opportunity to put my lawyer brain to use on a range of interesting and complex matters that have come through the door of Helix Legal. Although sometimes a tad overwhelming, these are the opportunities that have helped me grow to be a better professional and Helix lawyer.

I am so grateful for the support and experiences I have been part of as my first year as a lawyer and I can’t wait to see what is in store for year 2.

Johanna Cardona

It’s crazy to think that it has been over a year since Michael did the article on Teresa, Emily, and I. I have no idea where the time has gone!

Since Michael’s article, I have continued to trek through law school and work towards finishing my dual Bachelor of Law (Honours) and Behavioural Science (Psychology) at QUT. I am looking at graduating and being admitted by end of 2022!

Over the past 3 years, Helix has continued to throw amazing opportunities my way, encourage me to try new things and push me out of my comfort zone. One of the highlights of this year has been participating in the Noosa Triathlon with my fellow Helix Humans. Even though I walked/crawled the 10k more than I ran, I can’t believe I got myself to make it over the finish line. It was a one-of-a-kind experience and something I never would have thought to even do if it weren’t for Helix.

As I move towards finishing my degree, I have been doing more and more legal work and have been learning more about the legal and construction industry each day. There have been a few adjudications that I have assisted with, which has been very daunting but exciting, and overall, such a great learning experience.

I have also attended a few events to support the Helix Team including the NAWIC Awards night and more recently, celebrated the Lawyer’s Weekly Women in Law Awards where Helix Legal won Innovator of the Year. It was truly special to attend these events and celebrate the amazingly strong women in the industry.

Aside from work and study, I’ve been spending my time trying new things, from learning how to play musical instruments and picking up various “grandma”-type hobbies like knitting and sewing. I’m also keeping an eye out for when borders open so I can travel the world but in the meantime, I am enjoying travelling to different parts of Australia.

Reading Michael’s article and looking back at all the amazing memories I have made while working at Helix Legal makes me feel so incredibly blessed and grateful. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by such inspiring, supportive, and encouraging people each day, who are doing amazing things for the legal and construction industry. Helix Legal truly is #notanotherlawfirm and I can’t wait to see what Helix gets up to next!

A Christmas Message from Janelle

Thank you to the entire Helix Team and all of our clients, supporters and friends. We have done some tremendous legal work this year and continue to push the boundaries of what a group of innovative, motivated, passionate, and smart people can achieve together. Our client’s are building Queensland and we are proud as punch to contribute to their ongoing success.

Helix keeps going from strength to strength each year and I could not be more proud of the team we have assembled. When I look around today at what we have built, it is truly everything I hoped it could be.

Every time we bring someone new into Helix I feel chuffed that they picked us. I have adored working closely with David Cahill this year and am excited about the new construction technology we are launching together in 2022.  Both David and Michael Chesterman came into my life originally as clients and I am immensely proud that they have both made a home at Helix. David is one of 5 fresh faces at Helix for 2021 and each new team member has made us better than we were before.

David                                                              Caz                                                   Di

Sophie                                                         Sophia

I am thrilled for Laura King as she prepares to welcome her second baby into the world. I first met Laura when she interviewed to be a law clerk and we have remained each other’s biggest supporters since that day more than a decade ago. I also met Earl Tan when he was a law clerk and watched him develop into one of the very best lawyers I have ever come across in my entire career and my rock in leading Helix Legal.

We want to thank all of the Helix Humans for a wonderful year and wish all of you a very Merry Xmas! Bring on 2022!

Not intended as legal advice. Read full disclaimer.
Michael Chesterman
Michael Chesterman December 20, 2021

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