Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Australia > Project development > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Project development
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • James Kendal - Clayton Utz
    • Melissa Rubbo - Herbert Smith Freehills

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Project development clients in Australia using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact


Ashurst displays ‘very good responsiveness, good business acumen and good value for money’. The broad practice covers a wide range of transport, infrastructure and energy projects. It advised Sydney Motorway Corporation and Roads & Maritime Services on the A$16bn WestConnex motorway project, and acted for Transport for New South Wales (TfNSW) on the A$11bn Sydney Metro City & Southwest project, Australia’s largest public transport project. It remains the lead project adviser on BHP Billiton’s $100bn iron ore business, a role the firm has had for over ten years. A large number of partners come in for praise, among them Richard Guit, Angus Foley, Grant Rowlands, Lee McDonald and Mark Disney; Harvey Weaver is ‘responsive, experienced and knows the project development space well’, and counsel Melinda Harris ‘is very familiar with the student accommodation space’.

Clayton Utz’s ‘market-leading’, ‘very responsive’ team delivers ‘quality advice’. It acts for a wide range of clients, among them government departments and agencies such as TfNSW and the Queensland Government; energy and natural resources clients such as Origin and Alinta Energy; and financial institutions such as Macquarie Bank and Capella Capital. The practice advised Roads & Maritime Services on the A$3.9bn Pacific Highway upgrade, currently Australia’s largest regional infrastructure project, and is assisting the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development with the Western Sydney Airport project, the first major greenfield airport development in decades. Sergio Capelli leads the team, which includes Jo Pugsley, Andrew Leece and ‘very thorough’ special counsel Larissa Burnett, who is a ‘very good communicator’ and ‘able to manage stakeholder relationships very well’. Associate James Kendal also comes in for praise.

King & Wood Mallesons’ team has seen significant growth with four promotions to partner, namely Chris Dynon, Rebecca Finkelstein, Shannon Etwell and Roderick Smythe. It acts for clients across the public and the private sector, including transport, social infrastructure, construction, oil and gas, mining and real estate companies. TfNSW receives advice on Western Sydney Airport’s A$2bn railway infrastructure, and Qube Holdings instructed the practice on the development and operation of the $2bn Moorebank Intermodal project in New South Wales. Perth Airport instructed the team on its A$1bn transformation and expansion. Mark Upfold and Chris Mitchell are also recommended.

David Warren’s team at Corrs Chambers Westgarth regularly acts for key clients such as ALTRAC Light Rail Partnership, Lendlease and Serco. Fletcher Construction received advice on its A$200m bid for the Schools Three PPP, which includes the design, construction and maintenance of six schools in Auckland, Hamilton and Christchurch. In the renewables arena, the team acted for Dutch Infrastructure Fund on the Royalla Solar Farm project, a 20MW solar farm in the Australian Capital Territory. John Walter, Simon Ashworth and Airlie Fox are also recommended.

DLA Piper has a focus on cross-border work, and regularly handles large-scale overseas projects, most recently advising Fluor on the $2.6bn Mumbai Trans Harbour Link project in India. The Destination Brisbane Consortium received advice on the A$3bn Queens Wharf project. The busy renewables practice saw the team advising RATCH-Australia Collinsville Solar on the development of a 43MW solar power plant in Queensland; Sydney Desalination Plant instructed the team regarding repair works after the plant suffered extensive damage in a tornado in 2015. John Gallagher and Alex Guy are the names to note.

Herbert Smith Freehills has seen the departure of eight partners to White & Case’s newly established operations in Australia; Andrew Clark, Tim Power, Alan Rosengarten, Joanne Draper and Jared Muller were among those to leave. However, a number of highly recognised partners remain, among them Erin Wakelin, David Ryan and David Templeman, who ‘is a lawyer you always want on your side; the depth of his knowledge and experience is invaluable’. Macquarie Bank received advice on its unsolicited proposal to the New South Wales (NSW) government regarding the Sydney Metro Martin Place station, which involves the design and construction of the station combined with two CBD towers. The practice also advised Transurban Queensland on Brisbane’s Inner City Bypass upgrade, and assisted the NSW Treasury and the Department of Family and Community Services with the first stage of establishing the A$1.1bn social and affordable housing fund. Associate Melissa Rubbo also comes in for praise.

Minter Ellison has attracted a number of high-profile infrastructure and resources project mandates, among them advising TfNSW on the Newcastle Integrated Services project, which will be providing an integrated multimodal transport network that is run by a single operator. The practice also assisted Corrective Services NSW and iNSW with delivering a fully outsourced greenfield correctional centre in Grafton, and acted for Australian Unity, the developer of a market-led proposal for the Herston Quarter redevelopment, on a A$1.1bn project in Brisbane. Pamela Jack and Nicole Green are singled out, as is Stewart Nankervis, who is ‘very experienced and highly capable, particularly when dealing with multiple consortium and project parties in PPP transactions’. Owen Cooper is ‘effective, capable’ and ‘able to negotiate and deal with disparate project stakeholders’.

Allens frequently draws on its extensive project financing expertise, and recently advised both Sydney Motorway Corporation and the Commonwealth Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development on the financing and development of stage 1 and 2 of the WestConnex project. It also advised two out of three shortlisted bidders on their bids to design, build, operate and maintain the Grafton Prison PPP, a 1,700-bed facility in New South Wales, with a contract value of A$2.6bn. Plenary Origination receives comprehensive advice on the Casey Hospital expansion project, most recently on its investment proposal to the government of Victoria. Leighton O’Brien leads the firm’s infrastructure practice, which includes Emma Warren, Nigel Papi and David Donnelly.

Henry Davis York’s team, which is led by Kevin Arkwright, is active across a number of sectors, among them road, rail, water and wastewater, schools, mining and resources, and airports. The practice has a strong government client base, particularly in New South Wales. Transport-related work is another key strength: the team counts Airservices Australia, MTR Corporation and United Group Rail Services as well as RailCorp NSW among its clients. The team acted for the Australian National University on its A$500m purpose-built student accommodation project; TfNSW and Roads & Maritime Services received advice on tendering the contract for the infrastructure delivery for Northern Beaches’ rapid-transit bus network. Tony Woods left the firm in October 2017. Henry Davis York and Norton Rose Fulbright have announced their intention to merge towards the end of 2017.

At Jones Day, a large number of partners come in for praise, among them John Cooper, Bill Napier, Simon Bellas and Paul Riethmuller. The team has a focus on energy and resources projects, and advised Energy Developments (EDL) on the Coober Pedy renewable hybrid project, under which EDL plans to install 1MW of solar panels and 4MW of new wind generation assets adjacent to an existing wind turbine. It also advised the PPP Center of the Philippines and the Department of Public Works and Highways on the $2.7bn Laguna Lakeshore expressway dike PPP, which involves the construction of a 47km flood control dike on top of a six-lane expressway, a matter handled jointly with the firm’s Hong Kong office.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s practice is able to draw on the firm’s construction, environment, planning and engineering expertise when handling large-scale projects. The team has a busy renewables practice, and advised Conergy Australia on the A$42.5m Lakeland Solar and Storage project. It continues to advise Kumul on the procurement of the A$4bn Ramu 2 hydropower project, a proposed 180MW hydroelectric power station in Papua New Guinea (PNG). PNG-related work has been an area of growth, underpinned by the firm’s opening of an office in Port Moresby in November 2016. Jo Crew, Keira Brennan and James Morgan-Payler are singled out. Henry Davis York and Norton Rose Fulbright have announced their intention to merge towards the end of 2017.

Baker McKenzie has advised on a number of public infrastructure matters, and is increasingly active in renewables projects work. It assisted Neoen Australia with the development of three solar projects in New South Wales, and assisted Highfield Resources with its proposed A$35m development of the Muga mine in Spain. Office des Postes et Télécommunications (OPT) New Caledonia, the only telecoms operator and internet services provider in New Caledonia, received advice on the construction of a $45m second subsea telecoms cable in the Pacific region. Christopher Saxon and Michael Kunstler jointly head the firm’s infrastructure group.

Clifford Chance Australia frequently advises on cross-border energy and resources, transport and infrastructure matters, leveraging the firm’s global network; renewables work has been a significant area of growth for the team. It is advising mining and metallurgy company Eramet on the development of the multibillion-dollar Weda Bay nickel project in Indonesia, and regularly acts for Royal Dutch Shell, BHP Billiton, Evraz and Moonies Hill Energy. Renewable energy expert Philip Sealey and Paul Lingard are recommended. The practice also includes Jessica Davies and Nadia Kalic, who are both counsel.

Maddocks acts for government and private sector clients, and has particular expertise in PPPs. The team provides ongoing advice to the Macquarie Capital Consortium on implementation issues associated with the WA Schools PPP. Infrastructure highlights include advising the Lendlease-Bouygues joint venture on its bid to construct the A$5.5bn Western Distributor toll road, and assisting the Lendlease-Bouygues-John Holland joint venture with its bid to construct the $11bn Melbourne Metro Rail Tunnel project. In the transport sector, the team advised V/Line and the Victorian government on the Murray Basin Rail Project, which will upgrade the Victorian freight rail network. Andrew Pitney and infrastructure head Andrew Chapman are recommended.

For the team at McCullough Robertson, ‘nothing is too much trouble’, and ‘advice is always relevant and well-thought-out’. It acted for Suez Australia & New Zealand on its tender bid for the A$600m Kimbriki resource recovery facility PPP project, and advised Unitywater on the strategy and delivery of the $74m Kawana sewage treatment plant upgrade and expansion. Glencore instructed the practice on of the environmental assessment for the Mount Owen Continued Operations project, a combined facility of separately approved mining operations. UrbanGrowth NSW is a recent client win. Matt Bradbury is the name to note.

Mills Oakley Lawyers has a busy renewables practice, and regularly advises on PPP matters. Recent work includes advising Ratch Australia on its A$450m development of the Mt Emerald wind farm project in Queensland, and acting for Ross River Solar Farm (consisting of Esco Pacific, Palisade Renewable Energy Fund and Clean Energy Finance) in relation to its development of the A$225m Ross River solar farm project in Queensland. Programmed Facility Management received assistance with various bids to redevelop and maintain student accommodation facilities at James Cook University, Australian National University, Latrobe University, Curtin University and Griffith University, with matter values ranging from A$350m-500m. Luke Westmore, Zac Kerr and Rechelle Brost are the names to note.

Interview with...

Law firm partners and practice heads explain how their firms are adapting to clients' changing needs

GC Powerlist: Australia reception

GDPR Roundtable - Sydney

Roundtable - Changing role of corporate counsel

International comparative guides

Giving the in-house community greater insight to the law and regulations in different jurisdictions.

Select Practice Area

GC Powerlist -
Australia and New Zealand Teams

Press releases

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

Press Releases worldwide

The latest news direct from law firms. If you would like to submit press releases for your firm, send an email request to