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Editorial

Index of tables

  1. IT and telecoms
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

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Next Generation Partners

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Ashurst’s seven-partner team is ‘agile in its service delivery, provides subject matter experts when required’ and is valued for its ‘good knowledge of industry-specific issues, particularly in banking payment systems’. Led by Amanda Ludlow and Tim Brookes, the practice regularly acts for government and private sector clients across the spectrum of IT and telecoms work. It has seen an interesting spread of work, recently acting for the Commonwealth Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on a submarine cable project linking Australia to PNG and the Solomon Islands; ANZ received advice on implementing an arrangement with CMC Markets in relation to ANZ’s Australian online stockbroking business. In a novel matter, the team assisted the Queensland government with establishing a digital archiving capability, the first of its kind for a government entity in Australia. Ludlow and counsel Clare Doneley ‘have excelled’; they are ‘pragmatic, sensitive to broader commercial issues’ and render ‘practical advice that is easy to read, with limited jargon’. The growing practice has been strengthened by the partner appointments of Karen Dwyer and Emma Butler.

Gilbert + Tobin’s ‘very high-quality team’ features ‘capable lawyers at all levels’, provides ‘exceptional service’ and renders ‘commercial, strategic’ advice. The technology and digital practice has seen growth in emerging technologies in the financial services industry, an area of expertise for Simon Burns; he is advising the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on the implementation of a new platform to replace the CHESS clearing and settlement system using distributed ledger technology (DLT), one of the world’s first enterprise-grade implementations of DLT for critical infrastructure. Tim Gole, who is ‘strong technical lawyer, a strategic thinker and an absolute pleasure to work with’, advised the ASX-listed IOOF on its acquisition of ANZ’s wealth and investments business, involving a complex IT separation project. Telstra instructed the team on strategic alliance and partnership agreements with Microsoft in relation to the implementation and cross-promotion of Microsoft Skype for Business and Telstra network products and services. The highly recommended Sheila McGregor leads the five-partner team, which ‘often anticipates issues beyond the project's main scope’. Lesley Sutton, who joined from Herbert Smith Freehills, and Michael Caplan are also singled out. Albert Yuen is a noted special counsel.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ 'precise' seven-partner team, which is led by global head of TMT Tony Joyner, is ‘able to explain advice and its implications’, provides broad coverage of the sector and has attracted a number of high-value matters. It assisted the Western Australia government with its GovNext-IT project, the highest value IT project in Australia in 2017, which will transform the way government agencies procure data centre, cloud computing and telecoms services. Innovative work in relation to autonomous vehicles includes the team’s advice to The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia on its RAC Intellibus project, the first trial of a driverless vehicle on Australian roads. Damien Bailey advised Metlife Australia on its participation in the global network infrastructure and data centre deals with Microsoft Azure, and Julian Lincoln assisted Orica in the negotiation of a ‘go to market’ agreement with DataCloud International. Financial services sector work included Lincoln’s advice to National Australia Bank (NAB) on its agreement with Xero in relation to a strategic partnership to jointly build a product which integrates Xero and NAB internet banking functionality, allowing customers to bank directly through the Xero platform. A particular success was the team’s appointment to the nbn panel in 2017. Peter Jones joined from DLA Piper in May 2019.

King & Wood Mallesons’ ‘excellent’ team is ‘a cut above the rest’ and represents ‘value for money for complex and strategic work’. Renae Lattey heads the nine-partner practice, which attracts an impressive spread of work across the IT and telecoms sectors and is regularly involved in innovative matters; the ‘strong team has breadth and depth’ and possesses ‘detailed industry knowledge’. Recent work highlights for Cheng Lim, who ‘leverages his deep industry knowledge’ to render ‘highly commercial and strategic advice’, include assisting longstanding client Telstra with a multibillion-dollar matter, the proposed monetisation of the payment streams received from nbn. Innovative work included Scott Bouvier’s advice to Silicon Quantum Computing, an entity consisting of the federal government, the University of New South Wales, Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank, to develop and commercialise a world-first prototype of a silicon quantum computer. Newly appointed partner Kirsten Bowe is ‘technically excellent’ and ‘phenomenal negotiator with extensive understanding of the telecoms industry’. She advised Transurban Queensland on a novel type of tolling capability agreement in order to provide end-to-end services including toll collection and processing. Also singled out are Nicole Heller for her ‘commercial acumen’; Patrick Gunning, who is ‘easy to work with’; and senior associate Jessica Kruger.

Allens’ team ‘scores high’ and represents ‘value for money given the quality of the work’. The 14-partner practice, which is led by Gavin Smith, has attracted innovative matters in the blockchain and distributed ledger technology (DLT) arena; Smith has been assisting Power Ledger with its token generation event, Australia’s first initial coin offering (ICO) via blockchain. Ian McGill has ‘in-depth understanding of the industry’, has ‘built an excellent team’ and is ‘able to communicate effectively with executives’; he advised Insurance and Care NSW in relation to its new end-to-end electronic payments systems for managing and distributing health payments connected with insurance claims. Healthcare-sector work also included advice to medical practitioner software company MedicalDirector on the launch of its Helix cloud-based practice management software platform, the first of its kind in Australia. The team has been bolstered by the arrival of Michael Park, formerly Asia-Pacific technology group leader at Norton Rose Fulbright; Valeska Bloch has been promoted to the partnership.

Baker McKenzie’s ‘business acumen is excellent’ and ‘responses are pitched at exactly the right level in terms of detail and presentation’. The eight-partner team, which is headed by Andrew Stewart, is ‘excellent in cross-border privacy compliance and data security’ matters and has seen an increase in cybersecurity and data protection, blockchain and cryptocurrency, as well as artificial intelligence (AI) mandates. Payment systems services, technology transformation, smart meter data issues and healthcare industry work also kept the team busy. Anne-Marie Allgrove has ‘an excellent understanding of the industry and law’ and is ‘able to provide very customer-focused solutions, which hit the mark every time’. Adrian Lawrence, Andrea Kennedy, Toby Patten and senior associate Liz Grimwood-Taylor are also singled out.

Clayton Utz is ‘a market leader by way of expertise, professionalism and cost-consciousness’; the team, headed by Bruce Lloyd, has ‘deep technical knowledge balanced by a very pragmatic approach to the commercial and practical realities of a transaction’. The team regularly acts for financial institutions, telecoms providers and government entities on a wide range of matters. Simon Newcomb, who is ‘a strong technical lawyer’ with ‘excellent industry and technical IT knowledge’, advised the Reserve Bank of Australia on the provision of fast settlement services for the New Payments Platform (NPP), allowing near-real-time payments; Newcomb is also rated as ‘an effective negotiator who manages matters, including client expectations, well’. Ken Saurajen ‘conveys contentious points in a way that disarms the counterparty’ and ‘works to our preferred strategy in terms of preserving important relationships, or negotiating harder where needed’; he advised the board of Airservices Australia on the One SKY Australia programme, the world’s first programme that manages both civil and military airspace. Also singled out are Geoff Hoffman, Alexandra Wedutenko and special counsel Walid Sukari.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s ten-partner team is jointly headed by technology expert Philip Catania and James North, who focuses on telecoms work. The practice attracted some high-value projects work for key clients, among them advising Adobe on data ownership, AI and data analytics in relation to the launch and development of products and services across the Asia Pacific region. Facebook instructs the team in licensing and data privacy matters linked to its Australian operations, and financial services work included Catania’s advice to investment company Vanguard Australia on the establishment of a wealth management platform. Helen Clarke assists the Queensland Department of Science, Information Technology & Innovation with its Information Communications & Technology modernisation project, which will modernise how government entities procure technology. Frances Wheelahan and Eugenia Kolivos are also singled out.

Maddocks has been capitalising on the arrival of DLA Piper’s Canberra team in 2017, including Caroline Atkins, Anthony Willis, Gavan Mackenzie and special counsel Katherine Armytage, further establishing the team’s strong presence in the government procurement arena. The ten-partner practice headed by Brendan Coady, Atkins and Robert Gregory has seen an increase in cyber resilience and data security matters, and recent high-value work in the government sector includes advising the Digital Transformation Agency on a whole-of-government agreement with each of SAP, Concur, IBM and Oracle. Willis assisted the Commonwealth Department of Defence with its acquisition and delivery of an on-demand, integrated and distributed core simulation capability to support collective training outcomes. The team continues to advise Sydney Airport on its enterprise-wide network transformation project.

Minter Ellison’s 14-partner team comprehensively covers the sector, and managed to attract notable cross-border matters such as advising the Bank of Ireland on its €900m technology and core banking systems replacement in Ireland and the UK, a matter led by practice head Anthony Lloyd. AMP instructed the team on its procurement of a Salesforce-based customer relationship management system, set to be one of the world’s largest Salesforce implementations. Head of cybersecurity Paul Kallenbach assisted regulator WorkSafe Victoria with the replacement of key technology platforms and applications. In the telecoms space, the team continues to act for SingTel Optus in relation to its joint venture with Vodafone Hutchison Australia and Vodafone Networks. Anthony Borgese, who leads the firm’s outsourcing practice, advised Endeavour Energy on its procurement of an enterprise resource planning solution from SAP. Government practice head Amanda Story assisted the Department of Home Affairs with its visa reform project, particularly in relation to procuring a technology platform.

Norton Rose Fulbright has been strengthened by the addition of Peter Mulligan, who joined through the firm's merger with now-defunct firm Henry Davis York. He now heads the eight-partner team jointly with Nick Abrahams and Martyn Taylor. The practice handled some high-value technology transactions, assisted with regulatory matters and IT infrastructure work, and maintains a busy privacy law team. It counts state governments and blue-chip corporates among its client roster. Bernard O’Shea is also singled out.

Webb Henderson is an ‘extremely well regarded niche player with in-depth expertise’. The team has been busy advising on superfast broadband projects, IoT and smart city mandates, and handled a range of technology sector transactions. It continues to act for longstanding clients Chorus and Spark. Key client nbn instructed the team on the development of its revised wholesale broadband agreement, nbn’s primary revenue generating document. The City of Adelaide received advice on the Ten Gigabit Adelaide project, its smart city vision, which is being delivered as a partnership with telecoms operator TPG. The practice assisted SubPartners with its investment in the INDIGO cable system, which involves constructing a new high-capacity undersea cable between Singapore and Perth. Malaysia’s telecoms regulator, the Malaysia Competition and Multimedia Commission, is also a client. Regulatory expert Angus Henderson heads the recognised three-partner team, consisting of telecoms sector expert Ara Margossian and Ish Omar, whose expertise spans the telecoms and media sectors.

Allen & Overy LLP has a focus on cross-border technology transactions. The four-partner team, which is led by Michael Reede, handled a variety of work, including Connell O’Neill’s advice to HSBC on its development of new consumer and merchant payment platforms and systems, including the PayMe app. He also provides ongoing advice to Amazon Web Services on Australian regulatory, privacy and data protection law as well as e-commerce related issues. PLDT, the Philippines’ largest telecoms operator, received advice on a technology partnership with US technology company Amdocs.

Bird & Bird’s ‘overall level of service is very high’; ‘very responsive’, 'highly commercial' practice head Hamish Fraser has ‘a deep understanding of clients' business’. The seven-partner team has been strengthened by the addition of regulatory specialist Thomas Jones, formerly at Corrs Chambers Westgarth and noted for bringing new carrier clients and matters to the team, and media and technology specialist Sophie Dawson, from Ashurst. Jones advised SpeedCast on a ten-year agreement to supply managed satellite services to nbn, and Shane Barber rendered regulatory advice to Vodafone in relation to the roll-out of 4G networks across Australia.

DLA Piper’s team features ‘heavy hitters in the world of outsourcing’, with ‘deep industry knowledge, strong commercial nous and a tireless work ethic that helps achieve strategic objectives’. Tim Lyons heads the practice after Peter Jones joined Herbert Smith Freehills in May 2019. It acts for private and public sector clients and regularly handles cross-border work, drawing on its wide network. Government-sector work included advice to Victoria Police in relation to the introduction of body-worn cameras, as well on procuring a mobile automatic number-plate recognition solution for its highway patrol fleet. It also assisted Kapsch, an international road telematics company, with providing tolling and freeway control systems to Melbourne’s multibillion-dollar West Gate tunnel project. Senior associate Sarah Dolan is also recommended.

HWL Ebsworth’s team possesses ‘very strong technical skills’, its partners are ‘very commercial’ and its advice is ‘excellent value for money’. The practice covers an impressive range of industries; it advised Mazda Australia on a comprehensive technology development and implementation project, assisted a state government with the sale of certain rights to the land services office for 40 years, and acted for Australia Post on its secure digital identity verification and management platform Digital ID. Innovative work included advice to Bankwest in order to roll out its Halo payment ring, the first wearable payment ring device in Australia. Outsourcing and IT procurement specialist Josh Messing is ‘dedicated and focused’, ‘brilliant subject matter expert’ and ‘manages relationships with multiple stakeholders with excellence’. John Gray, Bill Singleton and Matthew Craven are also singled out. Jason O’Connell joined from in-house at National Australia Bank. Luke Dale leads the IP, technology and media group.

Lander & Rogers ‘provides high-quality support within extremely compressed time frames’. The team has particular expertise in health technology, including telemedicine and health informatics, acts for retail sector clients in matters relating to system acquisitions, data informatics and privacy, and regularly assists government agencies with procurement and electronic service provision issues. Energy Australia instructed the team in relation to the offer of telecoms services to existing energy customers, and it assisted Telstra Super, Australia’s largest corporate super-fund, with its IT infrastructure transition to a managed service. Practice head Robert Neely is ‘pragmatic and commercial’ and ‘able to clearly articulate the risks and issues in order to enable quick decision-making’.

McCullough Robertson has attracted a diverse range of interesting matters; it continues to assist Telstra’s wireless team with its connected car initiatives, and Police Bank, a mutual financial institution servicing the police community, instructed the team to review its compliance with privacy laws. The team also advises IT and cybersecurity consultancy Alcorn Group, which carries out tests to identify IT security weaknesses, on testing engagements with blue-chip corporate and government entities. Former Henry Davis York TMT practice head Matthew McMillan bolstered the nine-partner team, which is led by Alex Hutchens. Paul McLachlan advises on technology, social media and competition and consumer issues.

Sparke Helmore Lawyers delivers ‘fantastic service’; its advice ‘goes beyond the strictly legal, taking into account overall commercial objectives’. The team has the ‘ability to come up with novel solutions to complex problems, which means it provides outstanding value for money’. The practice assists with domestic and multi-jurisdictional outsourcing, technology, data security, IoT and privacy matters, as well as with telecoms transactions. ‘Fantastic strategist’ Richard Morrison, who is ‘always at hand to navigate difficult problems and provide sound advice’, jointly leads the team with Richard Chew. Holly McAdam has the ‘outstanding ability to solve complex problems quickly’; she regularly advises on IT initiatives and technology projects.

Thomson Geer’s ‘excellent’ nine-partner team ‘asks the right questions’ and ‘thinks outside the box to ensure the advice is fit for purpose’. The practice has particular expertise in the utility industry, acting for utilities and suppliers, and regularly advises international IT suppliers as well as telecoms providers. Practice head Mark Feetham advised Itron Networked Solutions regarding the deployment of an IoT network in Singapore for Singapore Power; he also assisted the Courts Administration Authority of South Australia with the procurement of a new electronic courts management system from US supplier Journal Technologies. Demetrios Christou’s advice is ‘always commercial, reliable, well-considered and easy to understand’.

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