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Australia > Dispute resolution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Dispute resolution
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Ken Adams - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Max Bonnell - King & Wood Mallesons *since publication, Max Bonnell has joined White & Case LLP
    • Andrew Carter - Ashurst
    • Diana Chang - Clifford Chance Australia
    • John Emmerig - Jones Day
    • Roger Forbes - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Guy Foster - Allens
    • Ross Freeman - Minter Ellison
    • Steven Glass - Gilbert + Tobin
    • Tony Kuhn - Allens
    • Andrea Martignoni - Allens
    • Paul McCann - Russells
    • Michael Mills - Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
    • Paul Reidy - Johnson Winter & Slattery
    • Andrew Salgo - Baker McKenzie
    • Sid Wang - Clayton Utz
    • Juliana Warner - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Ashley Wharton - Ashurst
    • James Whittaker - Corrs Chambers Westgarth
    • Lisa Wright - Dentons
    • Leon Zwier - Arnold Bloch Leibler

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Kate Cahill - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Susan Goodman - Ashurst
    • Matthew McCarthy - Allens
    • Kate Meikle - Gilbert + Tobin
    • Edmond Park - Clayton Utz

Who Represents Who

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Allens’ strong bench includes head of practice Ross Drinnan, arbitration specialist Andrea Martignoni and Tony Kuhn, who has particular expertise in tax disputes. Also of note is the ‘excellent’ Guy Foster, who acted for Quasar Resources in a joint venture dispute with Alliance Craton Explorer relating to a uranium project in South Australia. The team is well known for its work on behalf of financial institutions, and the ‘supremely organised’ Belinda Thompson was active again in this area.

Ashurst’s team of ‘very smart technicians’ has a particular focus on financial services, energy, and infrastructure disputes. In one highlight, ‘standout lawyer’ Andrew Carter is acting for Macquarie in Supreme Court proceedings against a trustee relating to an alleged breach of trustee duties. The team is also active in class actions for clients such as KPMG. Other names to note are head of practice Mark Elvy, Ashley Wharton and the ‘insightful’ John Pavlakis.

Clayton Utz is regarded by one client as the ‘premier legal practice in Australia in the regulatory enforcement space’ and the team has a key role on the bank bill swap rate investigation. In other highlights, Scott Crabb is defending Yara Group in Supreme Court litigation relating to the Burrup Fertilisers project. Practice head Nicholas Mavrakis provides ‘high-quality strategic advice’, Douglas Bishop is ‘thorough and detailed’ and Sid Wang is ‘distinguished’. Brigitte Markovic is now a Federal Court judge.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ substantial practice is now led by ‘very good regulatory lawyer’ Luke Hastings, following Geoff McClellan’s move into management. The team is perceived as being ‘excellent in all areas’ and handles a full caseload that takes in IP, infrastructure, competition and financial disputes. In one matter, Grant Marjoribanks is acting for Boral in its dispute with the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) over construction site boycotting. Juliana Warner’s ‘strategic guidance is second to none’ and Ken Adams is well known for his class actions work.

The advice is always pragmatic and always right’ at King & Wood Mallesons, where highlights included advising UBS Securities on an Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) investigation and parliamentary inquiry, and defending Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Lloyds Banking Group in litigation relating to the liquidation of Westgem Investments. Key players include practice head Peter Pether, who has particular expertise in infrastructure disputes, the ‘reliable’ Roger Forbes and international arbitration specialist Max Bonnell*. *since publication, Max Bonnell has joined White & Case LLP.

Arnold Bloch Leibler’s ‘vigorous and unstinting’ team is led by insolvency specialist Leon Zwier, who has a ‘fantastic reputation in the market’. Zwier is acting for Fiat Chrysler in a Federal Court action against Clyde Campbell, and Veronica Johns relating to losses arising from uncommercial contracts. ‘Very devoted advocate’ Justin Vaatstra is also recommended.

Baker McKenzie’s ‘industry-leading partners’ include Andrew Salgo, whose varied caseload takes in defamation and professional negligence, and Mark Chapple, who defended AECOM in a A$280m misleading conduct and negligence claim relating to the Clem 7 tunnel. On the regulatory and investigations side, practice head Alexander Wolff is noted.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s ‘deep talent pool of lawyers’ handle disputes in sectors such as energy and natural resources, media and technology, and construction and infrastructure. The team has been particularly busy in class action mandates; ‘very intelligent’ practice head James Whittaker is acting for CPB Contractors in the Clem 7 Tunnel class action. Bronwyn Lincoln and Simon Johnson joined from Herbert Smith Freehills and Norton Rose Fulbright respectively, but Paul McCann left for Russells.

Gilbert + Tobin stands out with its ‘level of focus’ and the team was busy on a number of headline matters. Colleen Platford secured a A$280 settlement for RiverCity Companies following a misleading conduct and negligence claim against AECOM, and Janet Whiting acted for the State of Victoria in the East West Link dispute. Practice head Kate Harrison and Steven Glass are also recommended.

Johnson Winter & Slattery enjoyed a number of strong results in 2015, including the ‘highly strategic’ Paul Reidy’s defence of Metagenics in a claim arising from the sale of the Australian arm of the business, and Chris Connor and founding partner Tony Johnson’s defence of the State of Victoria in High Court proceedings relating to expired gaming licences. Competition specialist Aldo Nicotra heads the team with Reidy.

Jones Day’s Sydney offering includes insolvency and corruption specialist Tim L’Estrange and ‘big hitter’ John Emmerig, who is defending IBM in a dispute with the State of Queensland relating to the implementation of a computer system for government payroll services. Perth-based Simon Bellas, who is a ‘standout lawyer’, and Brisbane-based John Cooper have particular strength in construction, energy and infrastructure disputes.

Key players at Minter Ellison include class action specialist Ross Freeman, Beverley Newbold and James Beaton. As well as having significant expertise in disputes that arise from cross-border and foreign investment transactions, the team is also well versed in investigation work; Freeman and Beaton acted for the Commonwealth government in an investigation into trade union governance and corruption.

At Allen & Overy LLP, Sydney-based John Samaha and Michael Shepherd have been particularly active defending clients involved in ASIC investigations. In Perth, Mark van Brakel handles energy disputes and is ‘a delight to work with’.

At Clifford Chance Australia, Ben Luscombe, who is ‘one of the best litigators in Perth’, has been highly active in a range of mining and energy disputes. The Sydney offering includes financial disputes specialist Diana Chang and new hire from Ashurst, Angela Pearsall.

The ‘very capable’ Rani John at DLA Piper delivers ‘thorough and considered advice’ to clients such as Nine Entertainment and Greenhill & Co. Jim Delkousis, who heads the practice with John, specialises in construction and infrastructure disputes.

Henry Davis York’s practice is led by Jason Munstermann, who is defending the Commonwealth of Australia in a claim by Optus and OPEL arising from a broadband infrastructure contract. Kathy Merrick has been active defending clients involved in ASIC investigations.

Peter Cash’s team at Norton Rose Fulbright has particular strength in insolvency and insurance disputes; for example, Grant Bonner is acting for the receivers of Dick Smith Electronics in a number of contentious matters. Stephen Klotz left for Hall & Wilcox.

Customer service is second to none’ at Hall & Wilcox, where areas of litigation expertise include banking and finance, IP and taxation. The team was developed by a number of hires including Stephen Klotz from Norton Rose Fulbright. Graydon Dowd heads the practice.

K&L Gates practice is led by Sydney-based Tim Webster, who was busy on a range of property and energy-related disputes for clients such as Parsons Brinckerhoff and Endeavour Energy.

Maddocks is particularly strong for competition and property disputes. In one highlight, David Laidlaw successfully defended Latrobe City Council in the Supreme Court in a claim by Hazelwood Power relating to the collapse of the Morwell main drain. The practice is led from Melbourne and Sydney by Gina Wilson and Norman Lucas respectively.

Piper Alderman’s ‘exceptionally responsive’ team includes ‘consummate professional’ Greg Whyte and the ‘astute’ Gordon Grieve, who are acting for DF II Global Co-Investment Fund in a cross-border dispute arising from an investment in a US-based corporate. Simon Morris heads the practice.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s practice, led by Michael Mills and Michelle Fox, ‘takes clever approaches to difficult issues’. The team is defending Arup in a negligence claim relating to the Airport Link toll road in Brisbane. ‘Leading class action lawyer’ Damian Scattini joined from Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Squire Patton Boggs’ Sydney offering includes ‘pre-eminent class action practitioner’ Amanda Banton, who is handling a volume of high-value plaintiff work. In Perth, Graeme Slattery and Greg Steinepreis are ‘excellent for construction disputes’.

At Atanaskovic Hartnell, Michael Sophocles was active on a number of high-profile media-related disputes. Founding partners John Atanaskovic and Tony Hartnell are the main contacts.

At Deutsch Miller, name partner Mark Deutsch ‘gets very good results’ and continues to act for Hope Welker in a family trust dispute. Shane Anderton is an ‘experienced and pragmatic lawyer in the regulatory space’.

Gadens Lawyers was boosted by a number of hires, including Lisa Wright from Atanaskovic Hartnell. Louise Massey leads in Sydney, where John Dalzell was active on various high-profile matters for clients such as Ginia Rinehart and Greyhound Racing New South Wales. *Since publication, Gadens' Sydney and Perth offices have merged with Dentons.

Holman Fenwick Willan covers a range of shipping, insurance and property disputes and ‘performs well in substantial class actions’. ‘Excellent communicatorNick Longley and Richard Jowett are the main contacts.

Jackson McDonald’s Perth-based practice is particularly well known in the property disputes space; the team is acting for Westgem Investments in a substantial claim against the former financiers of a landmark development in Perth. Victoria Butler and Peter Walton head the team.

At Kennedys, Rebekah Giles was busy on a range of tax, insurance and defamation disputes. Other key players are practice head Patrick George and insurance litigator Matt Andrews.

At McCullough Robertson, head of practice Guy Humble is particularly known for defendant work in the resources and energy space. Peter Stokes successfully acted for Adani Mining in a licensing dispute arising from the Carmichael coal project.

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