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The ‘reliable’ department at Ashurst is called upon for ‘difficult, complex matters’, and is ‘held in very high regard’. It frequently acts for well-known multinational corporates on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Paul Vane-Tempest and the ‘timely, reliable and business-focused’ Jon Lovell, who are both based in Canberra, assisted various Australian government agencies, including the Department of Finance and the Department of Immigration and Border Protection, with enterprise bargaining agreements (EBAs). Lovell and ‘knowledgeable, practical’ group head Stephen Woodbury advised Qantas Airways on an enterprise agreement covering almost 5,000 employees, and defended it in a case brought by the Transport Workers Union (TWU) regarding Qantas’ introduction of labour hire in customer delivery. Other clients include Alcoa of Australia, Anglo American and the University of Sydney. Trent Sebbens made partner in Sydney in April 2017. Steven Amendola is also recommended.

Noted for its strength in depth, Herbert Smith Freehills’ ‘exceptional’ team is ‘available at all times’, and provides ‘accurate advice that delivers the optimal outcome for the client’. Drew Pearson advised Lendlease Group on all its employment and industrial relations matters, while Anthony Wood, who has ‘a thorough, in-depth knowledge and understanding of the automotive industry’, represented Toyota Motor Corporation Australia in litigation involving alleged misconduct by supervisors in Toyota’s Melbourne manufacturing plant. Sonia Millen acted for Qube Ports in federal Supreme Court litigation regarding its stevedoring operations in Port Melbourne. Miles Bastick, who counts Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) among his clients, heads the group. Nicholas Ogilvie ‘understands the many facets of complex businesses’; Paul Burns and consultant Russell Allen are also recommended.

The ‘prompt, practical, efficient’ practice at Minter Ellison acts for high-profile clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Healthcare is an area of particular activity: the ‘strategic, pragmatic and commercial’ Jim Fox acted on the establishment of the Australian Digital Health Agency, which involved complex employment agreements for employees joining from the National E-Health Transition Authority and the federal government. He also advised Health Partnerships NSW on the employment aspects of the new Northern Beaches Hospital, entailing the transfer of 1,000 employees from the public to the private sector. Education is a key sector strength: Dan Williams defended the Queensland University of Technology against a discrimination claim lodged by an indigenous employee, while ‘consummate employment lawyer’ Karl Blake, who ‘always goes the extra mile’, assisted Swinburne University with a new enterprise agreement to cover its vocational education workforce. David Woodman made partner in July 2017; Amanda Watt, Gareth Jolly and consultant Richard West are also recommended.

Proficient, well-respected and cost-effective’ employment boutique Seyfarth Shaw LLP is ‘exceptionally responsive’. ‘Strategic, clear communicator’ Chris Gardner is an EBA expert who is frequently active in union-related litigation; he, Ben Dudley and executive employment specialist Justine Turnbull defended ten partners who resigned from Herbert Smith Freehills in employee restraint litigation. Practice head Darren Perry advised CBA on various employment matters, including negotiating an EBA that covered 30,000 employees. Rachel Bernasconi, Michael Tamvakologos, workplace reform expert Henry Skene and multi-jurisdictional specialist Luke Edwards, who is UK- and Australia-qualified, are also recommended. In workplace health and safety, the ‘very responsive’, ‘well-regarded’ Paul Cutrone has ‘decades of experience’ and ‘a proven track record’, while Jane Hall is ‘exceptionally knowledgeable’.

Clayton Utz’s ‘outstanding, highly reputable’ team is ‘flexible, commercial and excellent value for money’; it counts IT, education and aviation as burgeoning sector strengths. ‘Master strategist’ Dan Trindade is ‘pragmatic and down to earth’, and has ‘immense knowledge and experience’; he acted for ExxonMobil on negotiating EBAs and in industrial disputes with its onshore and offshore workforces. Additionally in the energy and natural resources space, group head Saul Harben advised Aphrodite Gold on the employment termination of its CEO and its managing director. The ‘adaptable, commercial and responsive’ Abraham Ash ‘really knows his stuff’; Cilla Robinson, who made partner in January 2017, is ‘a pleasure to work with – engaging yet professional, decisive but thoughtful, and practical, sensible and succinct’. Shae McCartney is also recommended.

Construction, energy, mining and TMT are particular sector strengths of Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s ‘very responsive, pragmatic’, ‘modern’ and ‘very personable’ team, which provides a ‘seamless, stress-free service’. Department head John Tuck acted for Australia Post on various employment matters, including representing it in litigation regarding changes to its superannuation scheme. Jack de Flamingh assisted Glencore with various industrial relations and safety matters concerning 20 of its workforces across Queensland and New South Wales, while Stephen Price acted for Harbour City Ferries on negotiating an EBA. Nicholas Ellery and ‘well-connected, communicative’ special counsel Marie Costa are also recommended. In July 2017, Simon Billing left to set up S Billing & Associates.

Eight-partner employment boutique FCB Workplace Law is based across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. It is headed out of Sydney by Campbell Fisher and healthcare specialist Jessica Fisher; Campbell assisted the Australian Retailers Association with its pursuit of a reduction in the Sunday penalty rate for retail workers. Rod Marshall advised Dowell Windows on the enterprise arrangement negotiations for its manufacturing facility in Bayswater, Victoria, and defended USG Boral against a claim of unfair dismissal. On the transactional side, Megan Bowe advised Anglican Community Services, the entity formed by the merger of Anglican Retirement Villages and Anglicare Sydney, on all employment issues resulting from the merger. Benjamin Gee and Matthew Robinson are also recommended.

The ‘brilliant team’ at Norton Rose Fulbright gives ‘sensible, practical advice’, and counts construction, energy, mining and transport as key sector strengths. The team is also active in the public sector: Sally Woodward defended the Commissioner of Police and the New South Wales Police Force against discrimination and victimisation claims brought by a former employee. Additionally on the contentious side, David Cross represented DP World Sydney in proceedings to successfully enforce a non-competition restraint. Lendlease, JKC Australia LNG and ADCO Constructions are other representative clients. Public sector expert Sarah Ralph, practice head Martin Osborne and Jason Noakes are also recommended. Stuart Kollmorgen left the legal profession to join Future Fund Management Agency in October 2016. Norton Rose Fulbright and Henry Davis York have announced their intention to merge towards the end of 2017.

The ‘proactive, considerate and client-focused’ team at Baker McKenzie has strong transactional, regulatory and contentious capabilities. The ‘calm, thorough and client-focused’ Michael Michalandos, who heads the group jointly with Paul Brown, acted for Trilogy in proceedings brought by Crowe Howarth regarding the enforcement of post-employment restrictions following the departure of three key executives from the latter. Together with the ‘friendly, proactive, creative and solution-focused’ Ben Burke, Michalandos advised Ardent Leisure on the investigation into the death of four people at its Dreamworld theme park in Queensland. Other clients include Appco Group, Caterpillar, Dell and Unilever. The Melbourne-based Sean Selleck is also recommended.

DLA Piper’s ‘strong’ practice provides ‘really good service’, and has excellent strength in depth. The ‘fantasticRick Catanzariti, who is ‘super-knowledgeable, pragmatic and reliable’, defended a large rural health service and a state government insurer against a claim for breach of employment contract. Additionally in the healthcare space, Leanne Nickels assisted a major healthcare insurer with defending an unfair dismissal claim brought against an insured party. The Melbourne-based Catanzariti heads the group jointly with Nickels and Nicholas Turner in Perth and Sydney respectively. Andrew Ball and Kathy Dalton are also recommended. Brett Feltham left to join Gadens Lawyers in August 2017.

The ‘excellent’ team at HWL Ebsworth, which provides ‘great value for money’, is based across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Canberra and Perth. It is noted for its strength in insurance, unfair dismissals and workplace health and safety, and for advising the Australian government: Michael Will acted for various government departments, including the Australian Electoral Commission and the Australian Federal Police, on matters including compensation, alleged employee misconduct and executive employment contracts. Chris Egan assisted Fluor Australia with redundancies, industrial action and new EBAs arising out of the closure of the Hazelwood power station, Victoria. Erica Hartley is ‘responsive and experienced’; Brad Swebeck and group head Mark Howard are other names to note. The practice also has offices in Adelaide and Hobart, where the key partners are Clare Raimondo and Sarah Sealy respectively. *Since publication, HWL Ebsworth and Tress Cox have merged.

Johnson Winter & Slattery’s ‘proactive, practical’ department has ‘great business knowledge and a deep understanding of employment law’. It is well known for its strength in contentious work and reputational damage issues: group leader Ruveni Kelleher acted for Seven Network in a high-profile dispute with a former employee regarding alleged expenses fraud and sexual harassment. Lucienne Mummé represented Yarra Trams in proceedings concerning alleged false imprisonment and breach of enterprise agreement, and advised Origin Energy as plaintiff on a successful permanent injunction against a former employee accused of sending confidential email to Origin’s competitors. The practice also has ‘a real feel for transactional employment work’. ‘Practical, no-nonsense’ special counsel Louise Russell has ‘great industry knowledge and excellent judgement’.

K&L Gates’ ‘commercial, risk-cognisant’ department handles contentious and non-contentious employment matters across a wide range of sectors. Group head Alice DeBoos acted for Essential Energy on various industrial relations matters, including the termination of an EBA and a successful application to the Fair Work Commission to terminate industrial action; she also advised CBA on international employment law compliance. The ‘commercial, pragmatic’ Duncan Fletcher is ‘technically knowledgeable and easy to work with’; he successfully represented Kentz Australia in a test case involving the interpretation of an EBA clause that applied to thousands of workers on the Gorgon LNG project. Peter Lupson is ‘highly recommended’; Gerard Phillips, Christa Lenard and Nick Ruskin are also names to note. Michael Stutley made partner in Perth in July 2017.

The ‘strong, well-trained’ five-partner team at King & Wood Mallesons provides ‘consistently good service’ and can ‘draw on resources across multiple state offices when required’. Murray Kellock and Andrew Gray are ‘excellent communicators who provide clear, practical advice’; Kellock advised Bristol-Myers Squibb on the employment aspects of its global restructure. The ‘very client-focused’ Philip Willox, who heads the group jointly with Kellock, has ‘significant experience in managing complex, large-scale disputes’; he advised Griffin Coal Mining on its termination of an EBA in the face of heavy union opposition. Jamie Wells is the key partner in Brisbane; his clients include Energy Queensland and Queensland Urban Utilities. Special counsel Nicholas Beech joined the Perth office from Clyde & Co LLP in August 2016. Ruth Rosedale is a senior associate to watch.

Well known for its strength in the public sector, Maddocks’ largely Melbourne-based practice has excellent experience in EBAs, industrial relations and contentious work. Sydney practice head Bruce Heddle advised Ernst & Young on breach of restraint injunction proceedings regarding the theft of hundreds of documents by two former employees. Karli Evans, who made partner in January 2017, is an expert in construction-sector industrial relations: she acted for the Australian Building and Construction Commission in five separate proceedings against various unions regarding unlawful conduct on building sites in Victoria, Tasmania and Canberra. Lindy Richardson heads the Melbourne practice; Ross Jackson is also recommended. Vanessa Andersen and special counsel Bronwyn Maynard arrived from Henry Davis York in November 2016 and July 2017 respectively.

Allens’ ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ team advises high-profile clients on a wide range of contentious and non-contentious work. The ‘knowledgeable, practical’ Veronica Siow acted for Sydney Airport on the retirement of its CEO, and advised the New South Wales Treasury on the employment and industrial relations aspects of the long-term leases of part of the electricity network operated by Ausgrid. Group head Simon Dewberry assisted Australia Post, Rio Tinto and ExxonMobil with various unrelated contentious matters, such as an investigation into Australia Post concerning allegations about staff treatment and union official behaviour. Peter Arthur is noted for his financial institutions experience: he represented RBS in proceedings regarding executives’ severance and bonus payments, and advised Westpac on contentious matters (including a class action) relating to the employment aspects of its merger with St. George Bank.

Based across Melbourne and Brisbane, the team at Gadens Lawyers assists clients with mass redundancies, EBAs, employee investigations, industrial disputes and the employment aspects of corporate transactions. Ian Dixon advised Denso Automotive Systems on making redundant 90% of its employees following its withdrawal from Australia, and acted for Ecogen Energy on negotiating a four-year EBA. Siobhan Mulcahy joined the Melbourne office in October 2016 from People + Culture Strategies; senior associate Marion Cole arrived from Thomson Geer three months later. In August 2017, Brett Feltham arrived from DLA Piper. Steven Troeth and Jonathon Hadley head the group.

Industrial relations work is the core strength of Hall & Wilcox’s ‘fast, sensible’, ‘knowledgeable and extremely commercial’ practice, which also handles smaller-scale employment matters and workplace health and safety. The ‘speedy, cost-effective and always availableAaron Dearden, who is dual qualified in Australia and New Zealand, acted for BlueScope Steel on various contentious matters, including litigation against the Australian Workers Union concerning unlawful industrial action, and defence against unfair dismissal claims. Kylie Groves joined the Perth office from Squire Patton Boggs in March 2017, accompanied by special counsel Felicity Clarke. Karl Rozenbergs heads the practice; Mark Dunphy, the ‘pragmaticKerryn Tredwell and the ‘exceptionalAlison Baker are also names to note.

Employment boutique Harmers Workplace Lawyers provides ‘a great level of service, with quick response times and well-structured advice’. Group head and name partner Michael Harmer, who has longstanding experience in industrial relations, negotiating EBAs and assisting clients with launching high-profile sexual harassment proceedings, represented Findex in a defamation case against a former employee. On the non-contentious side, Harmer advised the Port of Newcastle on renegotiating its EBA. Greg Robertson acted for Naiad Dynamics in a competition restraint case; Sandra Marks and Emma Pritchard are also recommended. Sudhir Sivarajah joined from Moray & Agnew in October 2016; Mark Bastick arrived from his own firm Guardian Legal Australia in March 2017.

Henry Davis York suffered the departures of key figures Tony Woods, Stephen Jauncey and Scarlet Reid in October 2017. Senior associate Sally Moten left to join Lander & Rogers in December 2017.

Commended for the ‘outstanding advice’ it provides, the ‘incredibly responsive’ team at KHQ Lawyers has ‘deep experience in employment law’. ‘Passionate, trustworthy’ and ‘very savvy’ department head Chris Gianatticuts to the core of problems, is acutely aware of clients’ needs and provides exceptionally good advice’. Broadspectrum instructed Gianatti on establishing its EBA and defending the EBA against proceedings brought by United Voice and the Transport Workers Union. Gianatti also advised Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe on a restructuring that involved the redundancy of the international managing director in Australia. Other clients include UGL, McConnell Dowell, John Holland and Boom Logistics. Senior associate Claire Brown is also recommended.

Especially active in the education, retail and financial services sectors, Lander & Rogers’ ‘cost-effective’ team also has a strong public-sector track record. It has been particularly busy with competition restraint work and EBA negotiations; the ‘unflappable’ Julian Riekert, who provides ‘clear, practical and up-to-date advice’, acted for the Country Fire Authority of Victoria on its politically charged EBA. ‘Very responsive, friendly’ group head Daniel Proietto provides ‘easily understood advice in a timely manner’, and makes clients feel like ‘nothing is ever a problem’. The ‘very measured, reassuring and trustworthy’ Patrizia Mercuri has ‘a great aptitude for understanding clients’ needs, and finds practical solutions for complex matters’. The ‘personable’ Aaron Goonrey is ‘easy to deal with, and provides practical advice with a genuine understanding of clients’ commercial drivers’. Derek Humphery-Smith is recommended for international work.

State government and local council work is the core strength of McCullough Robertson’s Brisbane-based practice, which also counts healthcare, aged care and natural resources as sector strengths. Group head Michael Moy defended Queensland Health against a back-pay claim, worth millions of Australian dollars, brought by workers union Together Queensland. Tim Longwill assisted a large aged-care provider with negotiating a new EBA, while workplace health and safety specialist Cameron Dean acted for Senex Energy on drafting and implementing its safety management plans for its Western Surat gas project. Lydia Daly made special counsel in July 2017.

Mills Oakley Lawyers’ four-partner team is based primarily in Melbourne, though Malcolm Davis, who ‘appreciates clients’ needs and the nuances of their business’, is a key partner in Sydney. Davis advised Laing O’Rourke Australia on various matters concerning workplace and industrial relations. On the contentious side, Lisa Anaf defended Grill’d against unfair dismissal and adverse action claims brought by United Voice, and assisted it with implementing a new EBA for one of its restaurants. Ross Levin represented MSS Security in a claim brought by United Voice regarding alleged underpayments. Adam Lunn and special counsel Daniel White are also recommended.

The ‘up-to-date’, ‘always available’ team at Piper Alderman handles a wide range of matters, including unfair dismissals, EBAs, industrial relations and employee contracting issues. ‘Creative’, ‘no-nonsense’ practice head Tim Lange is commended for his ‘very strategic approach, deep understanding, clear communication and warmth’; he defended Farstad Shipping against a breach of contract claim and an injury claim brought by a former employee. The department’s Adelaide office is very strong: the ‘knowledgeable, approachable and practical’ David Ey is ‘very experienced’ and provides ‘detailed, well-thought-through advice’, while Erin McCarthy has ‘extensive knowledge and experience, and quickly cuts through to the main issue’. In Sydney, the ‘exceptional’ Tim Capelin ‘breaks complex issues down to a more manageable level’. The ‘very focused’ Ben Motro made special counsel in Sydney in July 2017. Bridgestone Australia, Gucci Australia and Hudson Global Resources are additional representative clients. In November 2017, Piper Alderman merged with Melbourne-based firm Norton Gledhill, welcoming employment expert Chris Hartigan to the team.

With capabilities across four offices, Thomson Geer’s practice has strength in depth and counts transactional support as a core capability. Litigators David Davies and Jacquie Seemann are the key partners in Sydney; Seeman is noted for her expertise in discrimination, harassment and investigations, and counts education, healthcare and sport as sector strengths. The Adelaide-based Karl Luke is best known for his health and safety work in heavy industry, and handles board training as well as advising clients on their compliance regimes and crisis management. Mark Branagan and Paul Ronfeldt are recommended in Melbourne; Andrew Cardell-Ree is the name to note in Brisbane.

Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors was bolstered by the arrival of workplace health and safety expert Alan Girle from HWL Ebsworth in June 2017. The seven-director practice handles industrial relations, EBA negotiations, mass dismissals, contracting issues, discrimination claims and workplace investigations. Nigel Ward is also recommended.

Especially active in contentious matters, Colin Biggers & Paisley’s ‘speedy, knowledgeable and commercial’ practice handles a wide range of employment work, including transactional matters, employee restraint and compensation as well as workplace investigations. Brisbane practice head Megan Kavanagh represented a publicly listed IT company against a claim for alleged discrimination related to a spent criminal conviction, while the Sydney-based Kristen Lopes advised an automotive client on a disability discrimination claim. Cathryn Prowse, who heads the Melbourne practice, ‘always goes the extra mile’ and ‘explains complex legal principles in easily comprehensible terms’. In July 2017, Paul O’Halloran, a specialist in high-risk employment matters, joined from FCB Workplace Law. Greg McCann is recommended for workplace health and safety.

The Sydney-based team at Dentons handles EBAs, industrial disputes, workplace investigations and employee claims, and counts hospitality and aged care as a particular sector strength. Mark Sant assisted The Benevolent Society with its first EBA, while group head Stephanie Nicol acted for Lynch Group on renegotiating its own EBA. Nicol also advised a materials manufacturer and supplier on the employment aspects of its entry into the Australian market. Director Brendan Milne joined from Herbert Smith Freehills in April 2017.

DibbsBarker’s three-partner team, which is based in Sydney, advises high-profile clients on contentious and non-contentious employment matters; healthcare, life sciences and food and beverages are sectors of particular activity. Maree Skinner acted for Domino’s Pizza Enterprises on a new EBA covering 15,000 employees, and on an investigation into underpayments by the Fair Work Ombudsman. Fay Calderone advised Northern Beaches Council on employment issues relating to the amalgamated councils of Manly, Pittwater and Warringah, while on the transactional side Skinner and Leonard Lozina assisted Fresenius Group with the employment aspects of its purchase of CURA Day Hospitals Group.

Commended for its ‘brilliant level of service’, Gilbert + Tobin’s one-partner department provides ‘fast responses and clear assessments’, and is especially strong in the employment aspects of corporate transactions. ‘Clear, confident and knowledgeable’ practice head Dianne Banks is ‘a pleasure to work with’: supported by senior associate James Pomeroy, she acted for APN Outdoor Media Group on the employment aspects of its A$1.6bn merger with oOh!media, and assisted Quadrant Private Equity with the employment aspects of its A$400m acquisition of Fitness First. On the contentious side, Banks represented Pegela Rural Enterprises (now known as Ceres Agricultural) in a workplace health and safety case brought by SafeWork NSW. Other clients include the New South Wales Treasury, department store David Jones and The Benevolent Society.

Adam Salter is the key partner at Jones Day’s practice; he is particularly active on the contentious side, though also handles employment transaction-related employment work. Salter advised Boeing Australia Component Repairs on a dispute with the Australian Manufacturing Workers’ Union regarding the reclassification of numerous employees and their associated back-pay. He also assisted the administrators of Payless Shoes with making redundant the company’s 870 employees. Other clients include Aldi, Cylance and RTI Surgical.

Noted for its ‘great strength in depth’ and its ‘excellent knowledge of federal and state employment law’, Squire Patton Boggs’ department is based across Perth and Sydney, where the key partners are Bruno di Girolami and Anna Elliott respectively. While the Sydney office mostly handles day-to-day advisory work and transactional matters, the Perth office covers litigation and investigations. The ‘very professional, sensitive’ di Girolami acted for Murdoch University on an investigation into misconduct claims concerning the Vice Chancellor, while Elliott assisted Live Nation with the employment aspects of its acquisition of Secret Sounds Group. Kylie Groves and special counsel Felicity Clarke left to join Hall & Wilcox in 2017.

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