Nic Kernahan started his life as a solicitor in the country – when he opened Johnston Withers’ Whyalla office in 1994. That rural experience has shaped his practice – giving him wide experience in many aspects of the law; a focus on practical, sensible, cost-effective solutions; and a down to earth nature that his clients love.Nic moved to the Adelaide office of Johnston Withers in 1997 and became a Director of the firm in 2005. He now heads up the firm’s criminal law practice and is widely regarded as one of the state’s best criminal defence solicitors – with a focus on serious crime and white collar offences.Nic’s other areas of practice are family law, litigation and employment law. Prior to practicing law, Nic worked for 5 years in the finance industry, giving him a strong grasp of financial issues. He also has a specialist expertise in the law as it affects rural families – including issues as diverse as planning for farm succession, asset protection during farming family breakdowns, and litigation involving defective machinery.Nic represents clients in workplace disputes involving internal investigations and in court. He appears for client before professional disciplinary tribunals. He also has significant experience in inquests and enquiries. He acted as a solicitor assisting the state Coroner in the 2002/3 inquiry into the Whyalla airline crash, in 2007 he assisted Commissioner Mullighan in the State Commission of Inquiry into Children in State Care and he regularly appears in the Coroner’s court.Nic’s interest in, and love of, the North remains. He carries responsibility for Johnston Withers’ regional offices in Whyalla, Port Augusta and Roxby Downs, supporting the local staff there and visiting regularly.Outside law, Nic has an interest in most sports. A footballer himself, having played in both in country and metropolitan leagues, he has had a long involvement coaching both senior grade football and youth teams. (He counts a number of the current crop of AFL and SANFL players among his protégées.) He serves as a member of the SA Amateur Football tribunal – dealing with disciplinary matters. He also an avid surfer and enjoys reading, fishing and music.


  • Bachelor of Arts (Australian Politics and History)
  • Bachelor of Laws



  • Law Society of South Australia


Favourite Quote

  • The law is always evolving; that’s what makes it interesting and challenging

Articles and Videos by Nic Kernahan

Criminal Law South Australia – Frequently Asked Questions. Director, Nic Kernahan 2019

Johnston Withers Lawyers has a strong reputation in the field of criminal law and a wealth of experience in representing clients charged with criminal offences. We know that being charged with a criminal offence can be a very stressful experience regardless of the seriousness of the offence, and we understand the importance of having a professional advocate who can provide you with honest and practical advice.

In our latest video Johnston Withers Lawyers Director, Nic Kernahan answers frequently asked questions about criminal law.