O’Reilly Workplace Law Team

Denise O’Reilly

Principal Lawyer

Denise has 16 years’ experience advising businesses about workplace issues – ranging from large corporates during her time with Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills), to smaller sized businesses after first relocating to the Gold Coast, and now with a broad range of her own clients from start-ups to listed companies.

She believes this experience has helped her and her team hone their communication skills irrespective of whether they are speaking with people from big or small organisations. She enjoys being able to offer the premium opportunities and solutions often only utilised by larger corporates with big wallets.

Denise has particular expertise in industrial relations, employment related litigation including general protections claims and admits to being ‘borderline obsessional about industrial relations’: “I devour articles relating to developments in the law and use that to constantly keep my clients up to sped with what’s happening out there’.

She enjoys working collaboratively with her clients and her work is very much relationship-driven rather than transactional. Denise: “There is a strong focus on educating our clients as we go through the process of working together. This means that as they learn through the process they need us less and become more confident and comfortable dealing with employment issues because of that increased knowledge.”

Denise is originally from country Tasmania, having grown up in a big family on a small farm in the Tamar Valley (you can see the scar on her neck if you look closely…).  She is now a Mum of two rowdy young boys, a lover of wine, food, travel and politics.

Sarah Moran

Senior Lawyer

Sarah is an organised and diligent employment lawyer with a down to earth focus on her client’s needs. She is interested in working out how individual client’s businesses operate, and how their employment decisions and structures can provide positive commercial outcomes.

Sarah has over 11 years’ experience working as both a private practise and as in-house lawyer. She has worked in Brisbane in both mid and top tier law firms. Her varied in-house experience in both Queensland and New South Wales has included working for ASX-listed companies, government bodies and not-for-profits across the mining, electricity, tertiary education, aged care and disability care sectors.  She holds a Bachelor of Commerce and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Queensland and a Masters of Law from the Queensland University of Technology.

Sarah has broad commercial experience advising in all areas of employment law. Her experience includes employee entitlements, enterprise agreements, redundancy, unfair dismissal, discrimination, confidential information, privacy and post-employment restraints.

Sarah is not a hippy, but she does live in the rolling hills of the beautiful NSW northern rivers.  She loves that she can have the best of both worlds – a challenging professional career while raising her young family in a small regional community.

Annalise Thompson

Senior Lawyer

Annalise is a dedicated employment lawyer who has worked exclusively in this area of law since her admission to practice in 2015. Annalise is committed to assisting businesses in spotting and managing potential risks and ultimately achieving their commercial objectives.

Annalise has previously worked for a specialist employment law firm in Melbourne where she gained significant experience in dismissal-related litigation. She has represented clients in a range of different matters before the Fair Work Commission, including unfair dismissal and general protections claims and many Federal Court and Federal Circuit Court proceedings. Annalise’s experience also includes negotiating amicable employment separation agreements and providing general advice regarding employee entitlements, compliance with modern awards or enterprise agreements, and post-employment restraints.

Having recently moved from Melbourne to the Gold Coast, Annalise can often be found frolicking at the beach on the weekends, making the most of the gorgeous weather we have here.

Madeline Lacy


Madeline has been a member of the O’Reilly Workplace Law team since March 2019. She was admitted in August 2018 to the Supreme Court of Queensland and to the High Court of Australia in November 2018. Madeline commenced practicing in the area of employment law in early 2019 after spending her graduate year and her first 6 months of practice in commercial law.

Since joining our team, Madeline has gained experience in most aspects of employment and industrial relations law from drafting of employment and contractor agreements; drafting workplace policies; determination of award coverage; management of poor performance/misconduct issues; termination of employment; restructures and redundancies; termination related claims; workplace health and safety incidents; and much more.

Madeline has a passion for assisting businesses through both the good and bad times they may face and is dedicated to achieve positive outcomes for each of her clients.

Madeline has lived on the Gold Coast her entire life and embraces all that the beautiful city has to offer. When she is not in the office, Madeline will be found out on the AFL field playing in the Queensland Women’s AFL league. Madeline is a Collingwood supporter, which we don’t usually disclose to our clients in the first instance. Madeline also enjoys volunteering her time as a life saver at Mermaid Beach AEME.

Fiona Hawkins

Legal Secretary

Fiona enjoys working in a legal environment where every day is different. Fiona has an extensive knowledge of legal proceedings and documentation, and has many years of experience as a legal secretary. She is ready to assist with any of your enquiries or make an appointment for you to see one of our friendly team.

Fiona has worked for the Law Society of New South Wales, Conway Maccallum Lawyers and Matthews Folbigg Lawyers. Her skills span many areas of law including family law, wills and estates, personal injury law and employment law.

Fiona and her family have recently moved to the Gold Coast from Sydney and so most weekends you’ll find her exploring new places or planning new adventures!