Hostile courtroom with spears ready

QLS pin recipients including 50-year member Keith Bow (centre) at last night's event on the Gold Coast.

While many lawyers may have sensed a hostile courtroom, Gold Coast international lawyer Michael Goodman has faced one lined with armed tribesmen.

Michael was one of four Queensland Law Society (QLS) members including Frank Dwyer, Jade Chee and Sally Southwell to receive 25-year membership pins at a Celebrate, Recognise and Socialise event last night at the Hilton, Surfers Paradise.

Accredited Property Law Specialist Keith Bow was recognised for 50 years in front of more than 100 guests.

As an international lawyer, Michael has worked abroad extensively in all jurisdictions and most regularly in Papua New Guinea. However one of his most memorable moments in the past 25 years took place in the PNG Highlands appearing in a court of disputed returns – challenging an election.

Michael Goodman marked 25 years.

“The courtroom was surrounded by well-armed, fierce tribesmen who would interject if they didn’t like what a witness said,” he recalls.

“Eventually we won and I was carried out with much thumping of spears.  I always wondered where I would end up if we lost.


“I have a fondness for PNG and still work to support the land owners to get a fair outcome. I have been associated with PNG for nearly 40 years.  It is a frontier jurisdiction with every aspect of law.” 

He has also appeared in the UN International Court in The Hague.

“I always wanted to be a lawyer, so when I left school in 1970 I immediately enrolled in a law course SAB at Sydney University and started work as a law clerk.  Poor pay for an articled clerk meant that I changed course and studied accounting at UNSW.

“Later after working in industry I restarted my law course, now BAB, and was invited to be an Articled Clerk  at Allen Allen & Hemsley Sydney. That time was like its own intensive law course. 

“I always considered that I preferred to have the style of practice as a barrister but I also wanted to practice as a  commercial lawyer. My law practice has mostly focused outside Australia and pre-COVID included a lot of transactions involving China.” 

Michael was admitted as a practitioner in Queensland in 1991. In 2006, Michael established Avanti Lawyers on the Gold Coast. He has built a community justice division into his firm, which accepts approved referrals for pro bono or capped rate assistance.


“Gold Coast is the best place to live as I am a keen boatie and a Marine Lawyer,” he said.

“Pro bono work is important and I try to assist litigants who are self represented in family law or domestic violence matters (usually females). I try to help where I can but there are challenges.

“As a young barrister I was told ‘if you are weak on the law, hammer the facts and if you are weak on the facts, hammer the law. If you are weak on the law and the facts, hammer the table’.

“I was never really cured from being a barrister and enjoy working by myself. The cynical version is that I would rather make my own mistakes than pay someone to make them for me.”

He created a Facebook Group called ‘Family Law Australia-Pro Bono to Settle the Peace’, a place for practitioners to share pro bono legal and other resources to help families dealing with family law disputes.

Accredited Property Law Specialist since 2002, Keith Bow also established his own firm.

Keith Bow
Keith Bow marked 50 years.


Keith graduated from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Laws in 1972.

He completed his articles at Chambers McNab in Brisbane and was admitted in 1973.

Keith began his career at Trout Bernays and Tingle on the Gold Coast. Later he was a Partner for many years at Wilson & Copley, before starting his own firm, Keith Bow & Associates.

Keith sold his firm in 2008 and is currently Senior Counsel at AVA Solicitors on the Gold Coast.

He is a past President of the Gold Coast District Law Association and Past President, Beefsteak & Burgundy Club.

Another 50-year pin recipient Robert Rudkin and five 25-year pin recipients – Sandra Bostock, Philip Swift, Dwane Bugden, Michael Wright and Vaughn Jackson – were unable to make the presentation and QLS CEO Rolf Moses congratulated them on their achievements.


Past 50-year recipient Michael Kyle OAM was at the event.

More Proctor articles on 25-year pin recipients to follow

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