Autonomy First Lawyers

Empowering vulnerable decision makers

Autonomy First Lawyers is a multi-disciplinary, cognitive responsive professional practice, bringing together a unique team of experienced trusts and estates law, business law and clinical neuropsychology experts.

We are a private client law firm, acting for individuals and their businesses. We provide the legal and clinical advice that helps individuals and families make important financial, legal, health and welfare decisions. We help legal, medical, financial and other professionals reduce risk to themselves and to vulnerable clients when decision making ability is in doubt. We are collaborators in service of our clients’ interests, working at the convergence of:

  • Family, wealth and finance
  • Neuropsychology and law

How we help

Prestige Inhome Care drop in event on getting the right legal representation for estates law

We are a private client law firm, acting for individuals and their businesses. We support family operations, care delivery, and both personal and family transitions, by helping with your:

Areas of expertise

Professional in Private Client Services meeting with clients and the risk of abuse

We have deep expertise in the following fields of law:
Property l Commercial Law l Dispute Resolution l Litigation l Trusts and Estates Practice l Migration Law.
Our Capacity & Capability Clinic is a multidisciplinary professional practice providing a medico-legal capacity and capability assessment service.

Meet the team

Collaborate and Grow 2022

Michael Perkins is a leading trusts, estates and private client practice lawyer, author and educator. Dr Jane Lonie is a consultant clinical neuropsychologist, expert witness, author and educator. Zabina Naem is an Associate Lawyer, experienced in Trusts, Estates and Property Law. Clarence Leung is a senior lawyer experienced in trusts, commercial law, property law, litigation and migration law. Jeremy Duffy is a contracted Principal Solicitor with over 38 years of experience including numerous litigation matters in both State and Federal jurisdictions.

Capacity & Capability Clinic

Meeting at the Capacity and Capability Clinic

The Capacity & Capability Clinic is a multidisciplinary professional practice providing a medico-legal capacity and capability assessment service. Bringing together legal and clinical expertise, the Capacity and Capability Clinic helps and supports the autonomy of individuals and their families when they need to make important and often complex decisions…

Who we help

Family on beach

We help:

  • Individuals
  • Their family, supporters and representatives
  • Community representatives and services.

Our clients have connections within many jurisdictions, including: United Kingdom, Canada, United States of America, Hong Kong, Singapore.

Expert articles

​Our team are all highly experienced in their fields and publish widely. In our Blog, you can find case studies, opinion pieces and other articles around the theme we are all so passionate about. We work closely with like-minded organisations in our Community of Practice and welcome guest bloggers to submit their articles here. You can also receive our content by following our social media channels or subscribing to our newsletter.

Downloadable resources

We are pleased to offer you a set of free downloadable resources to make it easier access the support we can provide.
You can choose to use some resources to give to clients when they brief you about their situation. Other resources can be used to develop your skills and guide the conversations you have with your clients, referrers and collaborators.


The Autonomy First team are active members of our professional community and are often asked to present at various events. You can see the calendar of forthcoming conferences and seminars summarised at the bottom of this page and read full details on our Events page.

Subscribe to our newsletter or follow us on LinkedIn for the latest news about upcoming events.

How we work

We implement the National Decision Making Principles in our work.


We help mitigate the risk of abusive or coercive conduct in the administration of a person’s affairs wherever appropriate.


We practice the ethics of care and help clients implement the ethics of ageing.


We help support and safeguard the will and preference of our clients.


We work collaboratively, using common processes and practices to reach a common goal for our clients.


We advise individuals, families, organisations, entrepreneurs, start-ups and established businesses in many industries and sectors.

Autonomy First Pty Ltd, our law firm’s parent company, is an employer Partner of STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners). STEP has over 100 branches worldwide. STEP’s primary focus is on professional development and standards for practitioners advising on care and support for vulnerable clients, family businesses, family offices, wills, estates, wealth administration and conservation and succession planning. We work closely with STEP’s Employer Partner members who are part of the Autonomy First multidisciplinary Community of Practice.

STEP Employer Partner Australia

Upcoming Events



Sydney CBD Chamber of Commerce Expo

This CBD Expo will showcase CBD business and businesspeople and their value-adding capabilities, fostering collaboration and connection.



Fit Minds Cognitive Stimulation Session

Join Fit Minds Australia to experience a comprehensive Cognitive Stimulation Therapy session and give your brain a fun, engaging and stimulating all-round workout.



Simplifying Digital Collaboration

A free lunchtime webinar to help you improve and enhance your digital collaborative working practices at 12pm on Wednesday 5 April with the Institute of Collaborative Working Australia.



Step Australia National Incapacity Conference

This will be STEP Australia’s first National Incapacity Conference,  bringing together leading minds in mental capacity from across Australia and beyond.



Legalwise Seminar: NDIS Case Update and Legal Obligations

This will be a Zoom online event taking place in June 2023. Michael Perkins and Dr Jane Lonie will be presenting.

Thought Leadership

Royal Commission report launches focus on supported decision making

Royal Commission report launches focus on supported decision making

In January 2023, the Royal Commission published its report providing a framework for supported decision-making. For all its detail, argues Michael Perkins, the report does not address the need for practical and implementable processes to support the decision making of the vulnerable and the disabled.

read more
How smart are smart contracts?

How smart are smart contracts?

How smart are smart, or digital contracts? Will they rock my world? They probably already have, says Jeremy Duffy, with digital contracts now regularly managing the performance of each player within many commercial dealings. Read this insight into digital, self-executing contracts, how they can help us and looking at what we need to make them a practical reality.

read more
Exploring ChatGPT for Lawyers

Exploring ChatGPT for Lawyers

In this interview, Michael Perkins and Jeremy Duffy of Autonomy First Lawyers give us their take on ChatGPT and look at how it is impacting the legal world and how it can help our clients. What is ChatGPT? Why should we care? How useful is it to us? How should we be using ChatGPT – is it simply a research tool? What are the downsides? Is it dangerous? Read the interview here…

read more

Empowering vulnerable decision makers | Helping safeguard your will and preferences

Who we work with

Relationships Australia NSW
Claimright logo
Financial clarity logo
Good Grief logo
ExSitu logo
New Way to Stay logo
Prestige in home care logo
SMSF logo half size
Capacity Australia Small
Fit Minds Australia
Fit Minds Australia
Step Australia Logo
KMT Partners small logo
Institute of Collaborative Working Australia

“Michael Perkins is a very effective trusts and estates practitioner with a wealth of expertise in estate planning. A very personable individual, he has an uncanny ability to add client value to any given situation.”

— John Dymond, Partner at Dymond, Foulds & Vaughan