James Steel

Extremely attentive, attention to detail and very devoted.

- Client Perception Survey
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James Steel


James Steel is a principal in our Family Law team and is based in the Brisbane office. He is a Queensland Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist, and a nationally accredited mediator.

‘Early in my career, I worked in personal injury and insurance, which was very useful for me as a practitioner. Later, I became interested in family law because primarily it’s about people. I enjoy using the law to help people at what is a very difficult time in their lives.’

James specialises in advising both married and de-facto couples on:

  • complex property cases, including matters involving a large number of corporate entities and trusts
  • financial agreements, including prenuptial agreements
  • parenting disputes
  • spousal maintenance
  • child support matters.

‘I think my greatest strength as a family lawyer is that I tailor my advice to my clients’ particular needs. If a matter is able to be resolved  at an early stage, in a way favourable to my client, then I will encourage my client to settle.

With more complex matters, it may take slightly longer to work out an appropriate strategy. With every case I work on, I listen to my client. I ask questions to make sure we’ve covered every possible angle and that nothing is overlooked. At that point, I explain where they sit from a legal perspective. I then provide them with practical advice so that, together, we can devise a strategy for moving forward.

At the end of every meeting, I want my clients to feel reassured that we have a plan and that we know where their case is headed. We do our best to avoid having our clients feel unclear about which steps to take next, as that just adds to their already high feelings of stress.’

James is recognised in the 2016 to 2021 editions of Doyle's Guide as a Leading Family and Divorce Lawyer for Brisbane and a Leading Family Lawyer for high-value and complex property matters in 2021. He is also listed in the 2018 to 2022 editions of Best Lawyers for Family Law.

James is Chair of the Queensland Family Law Specialist Accreditation Committee. He is also the Immediate Past President of Queensland Family Law Practitioners Association (FLPA), after serving as Vice President from 2016, and Secretary from 2012.

‘I think what makes the Family Law team at Barry.Nilsson. different from a lot of firms practising in the area is that we provide a bespoke service. This means that the clients are in safe hands. In order to be a good lawyer, it’s not just about knowing the law but thinking outside the box. At Barry.Nilsson., that’s what we train our lawyers to do, and it shows in the quality of our advice and how we run our matters.’



  • Secretary, Executive Committee, Family Law Practitioners Association (FLPA) of Queensland
  • Member, Committee of the Queensland Law Society (QLS) Specialist Accreditation Board
  • Member, Papers Committee of the QLS and FLPA Family Law Residential (2015 and 2016)
  • Member, Association of Family and Conciliation Courts
  • Member, Family Law Section of the Law Council of Australia
  • Member, Queensland Law Society


  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Bachelor of Business (International)
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice
  • Queensland Law Society Accredited Family Law Specialist