Emma ThorntonPractice Leader – Employment and Industrial

Emma has 18 years’ experience in employment, industrial and injury law including working for national law firm Maurice Blackburn in their Brisbane office and then as the South Australian Office Leader. Prior to her work at Maurice Blackburn, Emma worked at the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, SA Unions, the Australian Council of Trade Unions in Melbourne and in an Adelaide-based boutique firm with a focus on employment law and workers compensation. Emma is pleased to continue her career at Johnston Withers as Practice Leader of the Employment and Industrial team.

Emma is driven to achieve practical outcomes for clients in employment matters that address their grievances and also assist them to transition to their next role. She is motivated to achieve strong collective outcomes for union members when assisting trade union clients and fights for clients injured at work to obtain their entitlements.

Emma has been involved in extensive litigation, representing clients in the District, Supreme and Federal Courts, a range of employment courts and Tribunals, including the South Australian Employment Tribunal, and the Fair Work Commission.

Emma has a special interest in assisting clients who have been diagnosed with occupational lung disease, like silicosis. Emma works closely with our team of dust disease experts at Johnston Withers.

Emma is also a Non-Executive Director on the Board of Directors at Statewide Superannuation.



  • 2001, Bachelor of Laws, Flinders University
  • 2002, Admitted, Supreme Court of South Australia
  • 2005, Admitted High Court of Australia



  • The Law Society of South Australia
  • The Working Women’s Centre Management Committee
  • Australian Lawyers Alliance




Favourite Quote

It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.

Johnston Withers Lawyers Tim Weiss Whyalla Office