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CLEON Legal and Mediation Services - Startup of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2018, Click to Enter The 2019 Stevie Awards for Women in Business

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Nomination Category: Company/Organization Awards Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Startup of the Year - Consumer Services Industries

Nomination Title: CLEON Legal and Mediation Services: Domestic Violence Law Done Differently

Describe for the judges the activities and accomplishments of the nominated organization since the beginning of July last year (up to 525 words). Begin this section with the date since July 1 2016 on which this organization began operations:

The unique, boutique law firm CLEON Legal and Mediation Services is only twoyears buthas built a one-of-a-kind law firm in Australia built around the ‘newlaw’ movement, placingclients first. As the first private law firm specialising in domestic violence law, and the only private domestic violence law firm in North Queensland delivering services encapsulating Family Law/mediation; Domestic Violence Law (victims); Victim Assist Applications. CLEON is different because of its personal, empathetic, and outstanding legal outcomes working with private, self-represented, and humanitarian clients (on a fee-reduced discretionary basis). Her mission -promote access to justice in a dynamic, flexible, and modern way for women who've experienced domestic violence.


Online and virtual service delivery -options for rural and remote areas. Australia is a big country; many people live outside main city centres. Statistics show women in rural/remote areas aren’t having favourable outcomes because access to legal services is challenging.

Domestic violence specialisation– specialising is not new for a law firm, CLEON's area of speciality is unique because it approaches this area not just through a legal lens. By looking at clients from a holistic perceptive considering social science, gendered theory and trauma-informed practice,clients experience increasingly favourable outcomes.

Collaborative law– trained by a leading Collaborative Family Law Practitioner to work in partnership with other stakeholders to keep families out of litigation and the adversarial system reducing the emotional impact on the family.

Empowerment coaching– a different approach to lawyering. Starting a new life after domestic violence is challenging and dangerous for many women. The coaching helps clients recognise their worth, unpack their experiences, deal with self-blame, victim blaming, overcome gaslighting, low self-esteem and confidence issues. An important service helping women build confidence outside the legal aspect of the process.

Safety planning– a practical service impacting the way Chrissy practices by ensuring documents are delivered during work days, not weekends (ensuring no further escalation of violence ensuring client’s safety), assisting with emergency housing and lodging urgent Victim Assist Applications (pro bono basis) so clients can urgently fund accommodation, or help them flee unsafe home environments, fund new school uniforms/schooling expenses if children have been forced to relocate due to domestic and family violence.

Office relocation–moved the firm to Townsville, a Queensland regional city, because sadly it has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in Queensland.

Leadership & newlaw movement– a leader in the growth of this movement (client centred/focused). CLEON leads the way in being part of the rise of female lead law firms, flexible appointment times, non-conventional office spaces and humanitarian rates for clients that cannot afford private fees, and virtual law services. CLEON principal Chrissy Leonitios has been invited to speak at Paris’ International Family Law and Mediation Conference to present evidence-based risk factors about domestic and family violence, trauma-informed practice, and practical tools and skills for lawyers and mediators to use.

Volunteer work- Aboriginal Women's Yarning Circle every Friday and answers questions, providing general advice, information and referrals and Brisbane Women’s Legal Service providing free telephone legal advice.

Awards– recognised with 11 awards over the past two years.

Provide a brief biography of the person or persons who lead the nominated company (up to 125 words):

Chrissy is the Principal Lawyer, Mediator, and Owner of CLEON Legal and Mediation Services – a boutique family law and domestic violence law firm. It is the only private specialised domestic violence firm in all of North Queensland, and is one of about five in Australia. Chrissy is one of Australia’s leading domestic violence lawyers.

Chrissy’s professional background has been in the space of human rights, civil liberties, prisoner rights, and women’s rights, and teaching law students and social science students at James Cook University, Deakin University, and the College of Law, and researching and writing for the Graduate Diploma of Family Dispute Resolution program.

Chrissy holds a Masters of Laws, Bachelor of Arts and Laws and has a graduate diploma in family dispute resolution.

Choose one (even if both apply): The CEO (or other principal manager) of this company is a woman, and at least 40% of the management team is comprised of women.