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 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 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.

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



National Carers Week 16-22 October 2022

National Carers Week is a time to recognise and celebrate the 2.65 million Australians who provide care and support to a family member or friend.

Thought Leadership

How useful are trusts for wealth conservation?

How useful are trusts for wealth conservation?

A trust is simply a rule book for the management of property by one person (the trustee) on behalf of another.
But how useful are trusts for wealth conservation or asset protection?
This largely depends not only on the terms of the trust (the rule book) but also on how it is operated.
Michael Perkins explains…

read more
Director ID: Estate Governance and Succession is getting very personal

Director ID: Estate Governance and Succession is getting very personal

We are one step closer to a National ID system with the introduction of a national identifier for company directors. A person’s portfolio of digital assets now includes not only accounts and access control details, digital files and records BUT also the electronic identifiers through which a person transacts business in the economy…

read more

Empowering vulnerable decision makers | Helping safeguard your will and preferences

Who we work with

Relationships Australia NSW
ExSitu logo
New Way to Stay logo
Capacity Australia Small
Claimright logo

“Working with Michael was enlightening. I am impressed by the way Michael analyses a client’s estate planning needs and then explains the complicated concepts involved in addressing those needs so that the client can understand them. He handles difficult succession issues with sensitivity and just the right amount of humour. He has an unusual ability to make unlikely but very fruitful connections.”

— Jacquie Seemann, Partner at Thomson Geer