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Australia > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • John Angus - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Ken Astridge - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Tony Berriman - Minter Ellison
    • Yuen-Yee Cho - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Emma de Carle - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Peter Doyle - King & Wood Mallesons
    • John Field - Ashurst
    • George Harris - Baker McKenzie
    • Richard Hayes - Hogan Lovells
    • Simon Lynch - Gilbert + Tobin
    • Alan Maxton - Allens
    • John Mosley - Minter Ellison
    • Bryan Paisley - Baker McKenzie
    • John Schembri - Gilbert + Tobin
    • Steve Smith - Ashurst
    • Shawn Wytenburg - Ashurst

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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Allens provides an ‘exceptional level of service’, particularly in relation to ‘complex M&A transactions’; in one key deal, Alan Maxton advised DUET Group on the A$1.4bn financing for its acquisition of Energy Developments. Practice head Tom Highnam is ‘outstanding in the LBO space’, while on the corporate finance side, Jo Folan has ‘strong commercial acumen and negotiation skills’, and Rob Watt ‘excels in the infrastructure, oil and gas and utilities sectors’. Mark Kidston leads on property finance mandates.

Shawn Wytenburg’s team at Ashurstshines because of its value for money and responsiveness’. Recent highlights include Wytenburg and Steve Smith acting for the lenders to Brookfield and Qube in respect of the A$1.05m acquisition of Asciano’s Ports business, and John Field advising Qantas on two new revolving loan facilities. On the west coast, ‘shrewd negotiator’ Gaelan Cooney was active in the project finance space.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ practice has a focus on complex, cross-border work; in one standout deal, asset finance specialist John Angus acted for Virgin Atlantic in a landmark £220m secured bond financing. The team is noted for its ‘very high-quality advice’ on corporate financings, with Lucy McCullagh particularly active in this regard. Other key players are practice head John Nestel, private equity finance specialist Emma de Carle, and Justin Pelly, who has particular expertise in property finance.

At King & Wood Mallesons, industry standout Yuen-Yee Cho remained highly active on behalf of private equity firms in the acquisition finance space and advised Affinity Equity Partners on the A$333m funding for its acquisition of Nine Live. The team has ‘market leading knowledge’ in areas such as project finance and property finance, with Peter Doyle and Ken Astridge the names respectively to note, while John Canning has a strong reputation for asset finance work. Andrew Maynes was promoted to partner. Richard Hayes departed for Hogan Lovells.

Allen & Overy LLP’s varied client base takes in international financial institutions, private equity firms, export credit agencies and mezzanine financiers. Practice head Adam Stapledon advised HSBC and NAB on a A$600m syndicated revolving facility agreement for QBE Insurance Group, while Jason Huinink was active in the asset finance space for CIMIC. The team was further developed by the promotion to the partnership of James Abbott in Sydney and Goran Galic in Perth.

At Clayton Utz, practice head Francesca Rush led the team on a number of significant acquisition finance matters, including advising Macquarie Bank on the funding required for its acquisition of the Esanda dealer finance portfolio. Other key players in the acquisition space are the ‘solutions-driven’ Alexander Schlosser and the ‘very practical and sensible’ Geoff Geha. Kathy Santikos is a ‘leader in the area of institutional real estate financing’.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s practice was busy across a spectrum of acquisition finance, asset finance and property finance deals; in one highlight, Simon Reid advised a Macquarie Capital Group and Brookfield Asset Management consortium on the financing for their A$2.5bn acquisition of Apache Corporation’s oil and gas assets. Other names to note are Brad Robinson, who was active on behalf of key client Commonwealth Bank of Australia, and property finance specialist Brad Husband.

Practice head John Schembri is ‘one of the top two financing lawyers in the market’ at Gilbert + Tobin, where the team was involved in a number of premier acquisition and project finance mandates; Schembri advised a syndicate of financiers on the funding for the A$10.3bn privatisation of the TransGrid electricity transmission network. In the corporate finance space, the ‘technically skilledSimon Lynch was active on behalf of Amcor.

Minter Ellison’s ‘leading practice in real estate financing’ remained busy, with property finance head Tony Berriman advising a syndicate of banks on the construction funding for a mixed-use development in Sydney. John Mosley and Stewart Robertson, who focus on corporate finance and acquisition work, jointly advised Anchorage Capital Partners on the financing for its acquisition of Affinity Education Group. John Elias heads the practice.

Arnold Bloch Leibler’s team acted on a cluster of property finance borrower mandates for clients such as TOGA Group and Ashe Morgan, with Sydney practice head Paul Rubenstein particularly active in this regard. In the Melbourne office, Ben Mahoney and Genevieve Sexton specialise in corporate debt; Mahoney advised York Capital Management on the finance for its acquisition of PrimeCredit and Shenzhen PrimeCredit.

George Harris and Sean Rush head the department at Baker McKenzie, where the team focuses on borrower work for clients such as Sims Metal Management and Cairns Aquarium. One area of strength is renewable energy; Rush handled several deals for Neoen, including the acquisition and financing of DeGrussa solar farm. On the lender side, Bryan Paisley was active on various corporate finance mandates.

Alex Mufford’s team at Henry Davis York is ‘good for complex matters that require in depth research and advice’. The practice is particularly known for its lender client base, where it acts for banks, global insurers and asset managers. In one significant deal, Patrick O’Grady acted for a syndicate of global surety bond providers on their participation in a A$1bn syndicated bank guarantee facility to the John Holland group.

Johnson Winter & Slattery’s borrower-focused practice remained busy in the acquisition finance space, with David Beckett advising on a number of deals for private equity clients such as Archer Capital. On the corporate finance side, Jim Hunwick continued to assist Australian Gas Networks with its multibillion-dollar secured debt program. Matthew Allchurch heads the practice.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, areas of expertise include corporate finance, property finance and project finance, particularly in relation to renewables. Key players include practice head Nuncio D’Angelo, who acted for Lendlease in raising five-year facilities for the client’s working capital needs in Europe; and Chris Redden, who is recommended for large-scale infrastructure projects.

Clifford Chance Australia’s Sydney offering was boosted by the hire of Richard Gordon, who joined from Allens. Gordon was busy on a number of significant acquisition finance mandates. The team is best known for its cross-border work, and advised lenders on the Australian aspects of a $7.7bn revolving credit facility for Glencore. Other names to note are Sydney-based Caroline Jury and Perth-based Philip Sealey.

DLA Piper’s practice was further developed by the hire of Alex Regan from Corrs Chambers Westgarth and the partner promotion of Kate Papailiou. The team handled a number of corporate finance mandates including practice head Onno Bakker advising Link Group on its IPO-related refinancing.

Gadens Lawyers’ lender-focused practice consolidated its reputation as being ‘top class for property finance deals’ with a number of sizeable transactions; in one highlight, the team advised a lending syndicate on the A$282m construction financing of a 700 apartment mixed-use project. ‘Problem-solver’ Tim Lipscombe and chairman Paul Armstrong head the team. *Since publication, Gadens' Sydney and Perth offices have merged with Dentons.

HWL Ebsworth’s nationwide practice was particularly busy in Sydney, where Paul Gatward advised funds such as 360 Capital Institutional Management on various financing and refinancing transactions. Another active partner was Perth-based Geoff Stevens, who assisted Westpac with a significant property finance mandate.

From its offices in Sydney and Brisbane, DibbsBarker handles a varied caseload that takes in finance matters for agribusiness, renewable energy and professional services firms. Key players include Peter Luke, Jeff Baker and Brad Allen, who joined from Clayton Utz

Areas of expertise at Hall & Wilcox include syndicated loans, property finance and superannuation. Highly regarded practice head Mark Instonhas a no fuss approach’ and acted for National Australia Bank in a A$1.2bn syndicated loan for Jemena. Funds specialist Harry New and Heather Gray, who focuses on superannuation, are other names to note.

Brisbane-based Peter Kennedy is a key name at McCullough Robertson, where the team was recently active in the property finance space for the likes of Wanda Ridong (Gold Coast) Development and Dalian Wanda. In Sydney, David Gilham splits his time between borrower and lender work.

Sparke Helmore Lawyers continued to ‘lead in the mid-market’, where it advised key client Westpac on various corporate and property finance mandates. Practice head Ben Burney and Adam Fuller ‘go above and beyond to get a deal finalised’.

Thomson Geer is commended for its ‘very high level of service’. The team handled a volume of mid-market transactions for lender clients such as Westpac and HSBC. Adelaide-based Stephen Lyons and Melbourne-based Armando Scenna head the team.

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