Clare Kerley

Special Counsel

Qualifications: LLB, BAComm


Clare has close to 10 years' experience as an employment lawyer having had a previous career in journalism. She is a passionate, practical and results-oriented lawyer who takes pride in providing commercially-minded advice, exceptional communication and effective problem-solving skills to all types of employment, industrial relations and safety issues.

Clare has strong skills in workplace and industrial relations, including negotiating enterprise agreements, representing employers in union disputes, and dealing with industrial action in all forms. She is proficient in achieving commercially-sound outcomes to potential and actual litigation, advising employers on managing injured workers, communicating effectively with stakeholders and drafting plain-English employment documents.

Clare's current clients are from a broad range of industries, including government, manufacturing, construction, retail, financial services, insurance, recruitment, and maritime.

Clare has undertaken a wide range of workplace investigations, including sexual harassment, bullying and assault, for a varied list of client organisations, including local government. She has also provided commercially sound advice on restructures including those arising from council amalgamations.

Clare has appeared as an advocate in contentious matters in the Fair Work Commission and the NSW Industrial Relations Commission, as well as regularly appearing for employers in conciliations and conferences.


  • Advising an airport corporation with respect to the engagement and termination of senior executives.
  • Advising and representing a Newcastle manufacturing company regarding an accident involving an employee who suffered a brain injury. This includes representing the Company in the SafeWork prosecution.
  • Undertaking many workplace investigations, covering sexual harassment, bullying and assault, for a wide range of organisations, including a large disability service provider, local government, a Fortune 100 company, a household-name snack brand company and an Australasian infrastructure construction company.
  • Acting for a Victorian Local Council across a broad spectrum of employment matters, including enterprise agreement interpretation, union disputes, unfair dismissal matters, investigations and day-to-day HR advice.
  • Successfully negotiating an enforceable undertaking as an alternative to a WorkCover prosecution for a construction company, where two apprentices where injured in a workplace accident.
  • Advising a Crown trust in relation to an ongoing employment dispute across a number of issues including application of an enterprise agreement, alleged breaches of the Fair Work Act 2009 and a bullying allegation.
  • Working with Community Housing Limited providing advice and assistance with transfer of employment and integration of employees following acquisition of Horizon Housing Limited and Northern Suburbs Housing Community, including advice and assistance with a range of confidential employment issues.
  • Assisting a manufacturing company with advice and strategies to manage protracted industrial action during enterprise agreement negotiations.
  • Providing commercially sound advice on restructures across a broad variety of organisations.

Awards and recognition

The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2020
Recommended – Labour and Employment

Professional Membership

  • Member, Employment Law Committee, Law Society of NSW
  • Member, NSW Industrial Relations Commission User Group

Latest thinking

Employment & Workplace Relations | 23 Oct 2023

Changes to WHS laws passed and industrial manslaughter laws on the horizon in NSW

Increased maximum penalties for offences, an ‘asbestos notice’ regime and a silica worker registration are some of the changes proposed under the Work Health and Safety Amendment Bill 2023.

Related event

Public Law National Webinar Series 2022

Event Details

1.00pm - 2.00pm