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Team Members

Chris Ward

Chris is a specialist family law mediator and was a founding partner of Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers in 1980.

Chris Ward has been a litigator for nearly all of his 45+ years of practice, focusing on the areas of family law, insurance law and commercial litigation.

His current practice is in family law mediation services which he offers through Chris Ward Mediations.

In this specialist area of mediation, Chris draws on his extensive family law experience to assist parties to disputes. He is highly regarded for his ability to deal with people at different levels and facing different complexities in their family and relationship matters.

Chris was managing partner of Cooper Grace Ward from 2005 to 2021. In this role, he set the course for significant growth and market recognition for the firm. This included ongoing awards and achievements in areas including team culture, diversity and client service. As a founding partner of the firm, he built the commercial litigation, insurance and family law practices of Cooper Grace Ward. These practices have all grown to become market leading practices in their own right.

Chris is also the current president of Advoc Asia and the former chair of Advoc Global (2018 to 2023). Advoc is a Chambers Band One international law firm network of which Cooper Grace Ward is a member firm. Advoc brings together more than 90 law firms for the benefit of member firms and their clients throughout the world.

Chris has a demonstrated track record of building and maintaining client relationships and is committed to ensuring a high standard of client service.

In his final year as the firm’s managing partner, Chris received recognition for his service as one of Australia’s most influential lawyers in the Australasian Law Awards.

Mediation style and approach

Chris has a reputation for being very approachable, at ease dealing with people, and commercial in his considerations.

From the outset of family law mediations, his approach is to ascertain what each party hopes to achieve. He takes the time to gather these initial expectations from each party to the mediation, as well as their lawyers. Consequently, he gains the full picture of each person’s needs, which may not always be obvious from prior reading material.

Drawing on his extensive family law experience, Chris employs shuttle mediation techniques, assisting the parties to ensure they understand and ‘own’ the outcomes of the mediation.

He commits to working with the parties involved to reach a resolution, avoiding the risks and unknowns of litigation.

Family law mediation bookings

Chris conducts mediations across Australia and offers fee certainty by providing an all-inclusive charge that covers the mediation, prior reading and any travel costs.

To find out more or to book Chris Ward for a family law mediation, please visit the Chris Ward Mediations website.

  • Solicitor – Supreme Court of Queensland
  • Mediation Course – Australian Institute of Family Law Arbitrators and Mediators (AIFLAM)
  • Most Influential Lawyer 2021 – Australasian Lawyer Awards
  • Leading Family Law Mediator, Queensland 2023 – Acquisition International Leading Adviser Awards

Mediation and arbitration

  • Extensive experience working with parties to family law and family dispute matters, developed over 45+ years of practice as a family lawyer and litigator
  • Capability to deal effectively with a wide range of parties to the mediation process and work towards constructive outcomes
  • Understanding of, and ability to apply, various mediation models including facilitated mediation and positional mediation in a shuttle model.


Over the past 45+ years, Chris has litigated substantial matters in the:

  • High Court of Australia
  • Federal Court of Australia
  • Supreme Court of Australia
  • Family Court of Australia.

Board, leadership and management experience

  • Founding partner of Cooper Grace Ward in 1980 and managing partner from 2005 to 2021 – growing CGW to become one of the largest independent Queensland based law firms, recognised for its leading team culture and client experience
  • Built Cooper Grace Ward’s commercial litigation, insurance and family law practices
  • President of Advoc Asia (2018 to present)
  • Former Global Chair of Advoc international law firm network (2018 to 2023)
  • Executive Advisor – QUT Executive MBA (2021 to present)
  • Non-Executive Director of Gladstone Ports Corporation (2014 to 2015).

Areas of Expertise


Changing of the guard at Cooper Grace Ward

Chris Ward has stepped down as managing partner of Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers after 16 years in the role. A founding partner of the firm, Ward completed his fourth and final term in December 2021.

New managing partner takes the helm at Cooper Grace Ward

Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers has welcomed new managing partner, Charles Sweeney to take the helm of the Queensland based commercial law firm.

Cooper Grace Ward Managing Partner named Most Influential Lawyer for 2021 by Australasian Lawyer

Chris was recognised in the category of ‘changemaker’, which showcases lawyers who are strong leaders and innovators, and drive positive change in the profession.