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Australia > Construction > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Construction
  2. Leading individuals
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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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    • Kate Bower - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Eve Eisman - Minter Ellison
    • Vanessa McBride - Clayton Utz

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Ashurst’s team, headed by Grant Rowlands, includes the ‘exceptionally good’ Joseph Mulcahy, and has been further bolstered by the additions of Richard Guit and Michael Harrison from Minter Ellison. It covers a broad range of matters, including advising Transport for NSW on the A$11bn Sydney Metro City & Southwest project, the country’s largest construction project, and assisting the Commonwealth Department of Finance with the construction and development of a national post-entry quarantine facility. On the disputes side, Georgia Quick has been acting in Supreme Court proceedings for TransGrid regarding construction defects in a transmission line tunnel.

Clayton Utz is ‘at the forefront of industry and legal developments’ and ‘provides innovative solutions to complex problems’. The team is well known for advising governments and government entities – most recently being appointed to the Victorian government legal panel – and is highly regarded for both its front and back-end capabilities. Sergio Capelli’s ‘quality of work is exceptionally high’, with ‘tight deadlines obligingly met’; he advised Roads and Maritime Services on the A$3.9bn Pacific Highway upgrade between Woolgoolga and Ballina. Nicholas Tsirogiannis and Marko Misko, who has ‘deep subject matter expertise’, acted for VicRoads and the Level Crossing Removal Authority on the removal of nine level crossings. Frank Bannon is a ‘clear thinker’-and Dale Brackin ‘provides great customer service and technical excellence in a rarely seen combination’. Lina Fischer made partner, while Arch Fletcher and Doug Jones withdrew from the partnership, becoming consultants.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth is a ‘cut above’ and has ‘no fear of pointing out the commercial weaknesses of a case’. The 26-partner team, led by the ‘tirelessBen Davidson, has seen a busy year in terms of back-end work, acting on two multibillion-dollar disputes. On the non-contentious side, the team advised the Queensland government on the A$1bn Gold Coast rapid transit project. A large number of partners are praised; Rod Dann is ‘skilled at managing a team to deliver a comprehensive outcome’, Frances Williamsmasters the details of the case’, Andrew Stephenson has an ‘encyclopaedic knowledge of the law’ and is ‘able to find creative solutions’, and Michael Earwakercomes to grips with technical issues quickly’.

Herbert Smith Freehills fields the highly regarded David Templeman, Melanie Cave (who frequently acts for government agencies), and Hamish Macpherson (who leads on the contentious side). Recent work includes advising Pacific Partnerships on the ACT Capital Metro project, and Transurban on the CityLink Tulla widening project, the first unsolicited proposal to be accepted by the Victorian government. The broad client roster also features LendLease and ANZ.

King & Wood Mallesons has handled a wide range of matters, including representing the HYLC joint venture in disputes regarding the construction of the A$1.85bn Royal Adelaide Hospital, advising the NSW government on the A$2bn Bays Precinct urban transformation project, and assisting Transport for NSW with the construction of rail infrastructure required for the proposed Western Sydney Airport. James Forrest and Scott Budd are key names, as are disputes specialists Peter Pether and Juliana Jorissen, who is praised for her ‘forthright and robust’ advice and the fact that the ‘quality of her work does not suffer in peak periods’. The team has recently been bolstered at associate level.

Minter Ellison, which provides a ‘very good depth of resources’, recently advised the State of Queensland on the A$450m Logan Enhancement Project to upgrade the Logan Motorway and Gateway Extension, and assisted Commonwealth Bank with the construction of a A$1bn office campus for 10,000 employees. On the contentious side, the team represented Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal in disputes totalling A$700m. Michael Creedon ‘quickly understands and resolves complex engineering problems’, Julie Whitehead displays ‘attention to detail and a great understanding of the commercial drivers’, and Phillip Greenham has an ‘exceptional capacity to provide comprehensively considered and easily understandable legal advice’. Pamela Jack, Elizabeth McKechnie and Nicole Green are also names to note.

Allens’ team, led by Leighton O’Brien, is ‘committed to understanding and working with clients’ needs and restrictions’, and frequently draws on its project financing capabilities when advising on construction matters. The firm is acting for the GoldLinQ consortium on the financing and construction of stage two of the Gold Coast Light Rail project, and advises Sydney Airport Corporation on all aspects of the proposed Western Sydney Airport. Nicholas Ng is ‘technically a very sound lawyer and adept at dealing with clients and third parties in negotiations’; Nick Rudge is ‘head and shoulders above his competitors in terms of going the extra mile’.

Baker McKenzie renders ‘pragmatic, forward-thinking advice’ and is ‘prepared for any issues that might arise’. It frequently advises on energy and infrastructure construction matters. Urban development work included advising developer Hengyi Australia on the construction of Melbourne’s Swanston Central development. Anthony Whelan and Leigh Duthie head the team, which was bolstered by the arrival of Aleisa Crepin from Norton Rose Fulbright.

DLA Piper advised LendLease and joint venture partner Bouygues on the design and construction of the A$2.65bn NorthConnex motorway tunnel project. The team also continues to assist the JKC consortium with construction issues relating to the Ichthys LNG project. David Harley has a ‘quick and very commercial mind’ and ‘always thinks ahead’; litigator Richard Edwardsembodies a can-do-attitude’ and his ‘technical analysis is first rate’. Also recommended are David Nancarrow and Jim Delkousis, the latter for back-end work.

Henry Davis York is rated for its ‘quick turnaround times’ and ‘good depth of talent’. Recent work includes acting for the MTR/UGL joint venture on the Sydney Metro Northwest project. Graham Read heads the team, which includes Michael Bampton, who is valued for his ‘thorough and strategic approach’. Newly promoted partner Alex Whiteside is ‘able to prepare appealing and winning tender documentation while preserving a safe risk position’.

Norton Rose Fulbright attracts a range of transport infrastructure construction work, and recently has drawn on the strength of its energy practice for renewables construction work. The energy sector has also been a source of back-end construction work. Grant Ahearn heads the group, which includes James Morgan-Payler, Matthew Croagh and Joshua Paffey. The team welcomed Peter Lamont from Clayton Utz. On the outgoing side, Rechelle Brost left for Mills Oakley Lawyers and Peter Borg took up a role in-house.

Colin Biggers & Paisley is valued for its ‘good business acumen and industry knowledge’. The team is led by Brad Kermond and includes Stephen Carcano, who advised CPB Contractors, John Holland and Pacific Partnerships on the A$700m Capital Metro project. Other clients include Laing O’Rourke and Downer. Nick Crennan is also recommended.

Gadens Lawyers has both a strong Papua New Guinea (PNG) practice and a strong domestic urban development practice. Led by Doron Rivlin, the team provides a ‘first-class service’, and it includes the ‘outstanding’ PNG construction desk head Robert Riddell, who ‘thinks very commercially’. The team advised AMP Capital on the A$600m Karrinyup Shopping Centre redevelopment, and it acted on two major hospital developments. Scott Laycock joined Mills Oakley Lawyers. *Since publication, Gadens' Sydney and Perth offices have merged with Dentons.

HWL Ebsworth provides an ‘exceptional level of service’, with head of team Ross Williams rated for his ‘excellent client relationship skills’. ‘Strong leader’ Paul Deschamps is a ‘highly regarded expert’, and advised Thiess on the Wynyard Walk project, connecting Sydney’s Wynyard Station with Barangaroo. The team has been bolstered by the arrival of Michael Hollingdale from Allens and Michael Tuckfield from Clayton Utz. Andrew Pitney left for Maddocks.

Basil Georgiou heads the established team at Perth firm Jackson McDonald, which delivers ‘quality work and practical advice’. Clients from the energy, mining and engineering sectors frequently call upon the practice and it regularly acts for contractors such as Doric Constructions. The team acted for Whittens in a dispute involving the Roy Hill project.

Jones Day delivers ‘competent and prompt advice’ and is rated for its back-end capabilities, frequently acting for major energy and resources companies in project-related construction disputes. Cross-border front-end work included advising contractor LendLease Singapore on the Paya Lebar Central project, a $3bn urban development site. John Cooper displays ‘significant depth of experience and knowledge’; Gregory Begaud is ‘business oriented and wise’, as well as ‘completely reliable’; Simon Bellas is ‘a standout disputes lawyer’.

Maddocks’ growing team is jointly led by Andrew Chapman and Simone Holding, and includes Paul Woods, who ‘provides clear, commercial advice’. It has been acting for Major Projects Victoria on the A$80m State Library redevelopment, and represented Cardno in asbestos-related litigation. Andrew Pitney joined from HWL Ebsworth and Alicia Sheridan made partner.

Led by Matt Bradbury, McCullough Robertson’s team won Frasers Property and the NSW government as new clients. A particular highlight has been advising Wanda Ridong on the development and construction of the A$1bn Jewel Towers project, the largest mixed-use development in Australia. Jennifer Turner joined from King & Wood Mallesons.

Mills Oakley Lawyers has seen significant growth, with six new partners joining, among them Scott Laycock from Gadens Lawyers and Rechelle Brost (who ‘provides an exceptional level of service’) from Norton Rose Fulbright. The team advised the joint venture of Billbergia and AMP Capital on construction issues relating to Brisbane’s A$500m Skytower, and assisted Brisbane Airport Corporation with airport construction and upgrade works valued at A$200m. Greg Richards is ‘one of the best in the Brisbane market’, and Andrew Wallis ‘provides concise and sensible advice and understands clients’ business ethos well’.

Piper Alderman’s ‘cost-effective’ team is headed by the ‘extremely bright, versatile and commercial’ Geoffrey Emmett. Other highly regarded practitioners include Megan Calder (who is ‘excellent’) and Ted Williams (‘a trusted adviser on the most sensitive and complicated matters’). The team represented Hickory Construction in a multimillion-dollar dispute, and advised Watpac on the construction of 15 schools across Victoria.

Squire Patton Boggs’ Darwin office – where Fabio Fior recently made partner – remains an important link in the firm’s overall offering. The team is rated as ‘a firm of choice in the NT’, and local clients include the NT Department of Infrastructure. The ‘excellentAvendra Singh advised Frasers Property on Sydney’s A$2bn Central Park Broadway. Greg Steinepreisconveys a level of confidence, especially in difficult situations’; Cris Cureton is also recommended.

Arnold Bloch Leibler’s Kevin Frawley is ‘able to get to the key issues quickly’ and ‘protects clients’ interests extremely well’. The team regularly acts for domestic and overseas high-rise residential developers.

Clyde & Co LLP’s team is ‘diligent and tenacious’, receiving instructions from John Holland, Thiess and Laing O’Rourke. Glen Warwick ‘communicates issues effectively and efficiently’; Beth Cubitt is ‘very responsive and technically astute’; and David McElveney is also recommended.

Holman Fenwick Willan’s team grew through lateral hires and internal promotions. The practice features Amanda Davidson, who ‘always goes the extra mile’ and ‘really knows everything there is to know about construction’, as well as ‘excellent communicator and leaderNick Longley. Hochtief Solutions, Woodside, Doosan Heavy Industries & Construction and Georgiou Group are clients.

K&L Gates delivers ‘prompt, practical and accurate’ advice, handling both front and back-end infrastructure construction work. Sandra Steele is the key contact; her ‘background in-house is evident in her strategy’. Seymour Whyte is a client.

The young practice at Kreisson – headed by the ‘practical, outcome-focused’ David Glinatsis – provides a ‘lean and efficient’ service, and is ‘going from strength to strength’. Notable work included energy project disputes, school construction projects and construction defects claims.

Lander & Rogers provides a ‘very high standard of service’, recently acting for Qube on the development of a A$1.5bn intermodal freight precinct. Lisa Gaddie is now sole group head, following David Fabian’s move to an in-house role.

Pinsent Masons LLP’s young Australian practice draws on the firm’s broad network and receives praise for its ‘willingness to think outside the box’ and its ‘extremely high-quality and experienced practitioners’. Greg Campbell is rated for his ‘magnificent responsiveness and adaptability to client requests’. Andrew Denton heads the team.

Thomson Geer’s Andrew Kellycan distil complicated legal concepts into easily digestible chunks’. Josh Marchant is rated for his ‘clarity of thought’ and ‘excellent legal knowledge’. Leighton Holdings, Thiess and John Holland are clients.

TressCox regularly acts for Tu Projects, Bureau Proberts and a number of government agencies. The ‘excellent’ Andrew Whitelaw provides ‘great support beyond mere legal advice’ and Tony Mylne is ‘good at getting to the heart of an issue’.

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