GradDipLP, LLB(Hons)

Senior Associate

Michelle Cowan is an experienced workplace relations lawyer who has advised both employer and employee groups in state and federal jurisdictions. She has expertise in establishing strategic employment standards and in managing workplace disputes in social enterprises and NFPs.

Michelle’s legal experience is augmented by her many years of direct management experience in large retail organisations, managing all aspects of the employment lifecycle for large groups of employees. She has the practical experience to provide pragmatic advice about how to navigate the complexities and risks that exist in the area of employment relations. Having worked in the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission, Michelle is skilled in assisting employers navigate matters in that jurisdiction, such as workers compensation, long service leave and wage disputes for private employers not covered by the Fair Work Act.

Michelle has a particular interest in workplace bullying and has assisted employers investigate complaints, manage bullying conduct and negotiate resolution of employee bullying applications.

Michelle has considerable experience in:

  • Preparing employment contracts;
  • Advising on award interpretation;
  • Advising on employee entitlements;
  • Drafting, implementing and applying workplace policies;
  • Conducting workplace investigations;
  • Advising on managing ill and injured employees;
  • Advising on employment disputes;
  • Advising on employee performance management;
  • Discrimination in employment;
  • Advising on termination of employment;
  • Conducting bullying investigations; and
  • Representation in the FWC for unfair dismissal and bullying applications.

Michelle gets to the core of the issue and advises on the options available to employers to manage a situation, so they can adopt a strategy that they feel comfortable with and that will meet their organisational objectives.

Please feel free to contact Michelle on michelle.cowan@nfplawyers.com.au or phone (07) 3160 0010 if you would like to discuss any matter.


Michelle is a specialised workplace relations lawyer with experience in:

  • Advising on application of employment related legislation;
  • advising application of modern awards;
  • employment contracts advice;
  • drafting employment contracts and individual flexibility agreements under modern awards;
  • Bullying and harassment advice and investigations;
  • Preparing WorkCover employer responses;
  • Advising on employment matters in both State and Federal employment jurisdictions;
  • Workplace Health and Safety;
  • Worker’s compensation.


  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice
  • Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Solicitor of the High Court of Australia


  • Queensland Law Society
  • Industrial Relations Society Queensland

Blackall Range Care Group

We have had a long association with NFP Lawyers because they understand the importance of practical assistance for not for profit organisations. Most recently, they have helped us with challenging employment issues. Michelle assisted us with advice that explained the legal issues in a way we could easily understand and implement. She drafted documents and gave us practical advice about how to manage the situations so we could stay on track and maintain good working relationships with our community, clients, employees and volunteers.

Pat Habner

Focus ACT

NFP Lawyers assisted us to deal with an investigation into serious allegations against one our employees. Michelle alerted us to issues we hadn’t considered, advised us on the legal issues we should take into account and gave us practical guidance about how to resolve the situation and then minimise the risk of it happening again. She explained the options we had, the effect and risks of those options and assisted us to make a decision that suited our organisation.

Carsten Shaw
Chief Operating Officer / Focus ACT


NFP Lawyers proved to be invaluable in a case before the Fair Work Commission. Michelle advised us, both professionally and thoroughly, over a period of many weeks. She demonstrated excellent knowledge of the relevant legislation and regulations and her experience in this field proved to be of significant benefit to our case. Her attention to detail in her advice and preparation of documents enabled us to argue our case very well, resulting in a successful outcome. She explained things thoroughly and clearly and represented us well through the process, keeping me engaged throughout. I have no hesitation in commending Michelle and NFP Lawyers.

Ken Fenton


[rt-testimonial id="1819" title="Michelle"]Michelle has navigated us through some tricky employment issues during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has also represented us in challenging negotiations and we are thrilled with the outcome she was able to achieve.

Debbie Dyke