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Australia > Tax > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Tax
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Michael Clough - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Peter Doyle - Gilbert + Tobin
    • Tony Frost - Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Martin Fry - Allens
    • Richard Gelski - Johnson Winter & Slattery
    • Cameron Hanson - Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
    • Mark Leibler - Arnold Bloch Leibler
    • Amrit MacIntyre - Baker McKenzie
    • Carmen McElwain - Minter Ellison
    • Michael Perez - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Paul Sokolowski - Arnold Bloch Leibler
    • Andrew Sommer - Clayton Utz
    • Ka Sen Wong - Allen & Overy LLP

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Simone Bridges - Baker McKenzie
    • Shaun Cartoon - HWL Ebsworth
    • Jennee Chan - Allens
    • Claire Horan - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Greg Protektor - King & Wood Mallesons

The ‘excellent team’ at Allens is headed by Martin Fry, a specialist in corporate and international tax in the banking, resources and infrastructure sectors. Fry regularly acts for Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), recently assisting the client with income tax and capital gains issues arising from its wealth management business sale to Zurich, as well as with the sale of its OnePath Pensions and Investment businesses. Sydney-based Craig Milner joined from Corrs Chambers Westgarth and has strengths in both direct and indirect tax with particular expertise in the funds, real estate, finance and energy sectors. Highlights included advising Unibail-Rodamco on its high-profile acquisition of Westfield. Senior tax counsel Jennee Chan is another name to note and the team saw further expansion with the arrival of Joseph Power from King & Wood Mallesons. Shaun Cartoon is now a partner at HWL Ebsworth.

Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills’ team is ‘proactive and pre-emptive’ and receives praise for its ‘high level of industry knowledge and insight’. It advised The Walt Disney Company on its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox; other areas of focus include the real estate, financial services and projects and infrastructure sectors. The team, headed by Tony Frost, also assisted Westfield with the tax implications of its acquisition by Unibail-Rodamco. Manuel Makas, who ‘continually provides sound, commercial advice’, advised Dexus on the establishment of the collaborative Healthcare Wholesale Property Fund. Cameron Hanson and Hugh Paynter are other names to note. Areas of expertise also include income and capital gains tax, tax avoidance, cross-border tax, goods and services tax as well as investigations and disputes.

The ‘exceptional’ team at King & Wood Mallesons ‘absolutely stands out’ and is ‘always available and willing to assist’. It covers the full range of contentious and non-contentious, direct and indirect tax issues and regularly acts for blue-chip clients, particularly in the telecoms, energy and infrastructure, real estate and financial services industries. Melbourne-based Michael Clough is representing Google in its high-profile dispute with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) regarding Australian tax payable by the client. Justin Cherrington jointly heads the practice with Peter Pether, who recently provided tax advice to Telstra on monetising its locked-in recurring national broadband network receipts. Katrina Parkyn and recently promoted partner Kai-Chen Lamb are handling the tax aspects of AMP Capital Investors’ redevelopment of 50 Bridge Street and the Young & Loftus Street precinct in Sydney. Leah Ranie made partner and senior associates Claire Horan and Greg Protektor are also names to note. Michael Perez frequently comes in for praise.

Arnold Bloch Leibler's joint practice heads Mark Leibler and Paul Sokolowski ‘are both leaders in their field and outstanding at obtaining resolutions with the ATO’. The team excels at handling disputes and transactions, acting for a client roster spanning senior executives, major corporations and high-net-worth individuals. Sydney-based Clint Harding has a particular focus on transactions; he advised NuLac Foods on its acquisition by Bubs Australia and US-based Krispy Kreme Doughnut on its acquisition of the Krispy Kreme Australia and New Zealand franchise from its founding shareholders. Sokolowski represented Normandy Finance and Investments in High Court proceedings and advised Highpoint Property on the A$680m sale of its 25% interest in the Highpoint shopping centre. Joey Borensztajn has notable expertise in trusts and charitable giving.

Ashurst’s ‘pre-eminent’ team possesses ‘excellent technical knowledge’ and is able to ‘distill complex issues in a way that is relevant to commercial outcomes’. It provides the full range of tax advisory services and deploys its ‘detailed understanding of the workings of state revenue authorities’ when advising on domestic and cross-border matters. Peter McCullough has ‘superior technical and analytical abilities’ and is representing The Bell Group and its liquidator in a Federal Court challenge to assessments for income tax made by the Commissioner of Taxation. Tax controversy is a particular strength for the group which also includes the ‘calm persona’ Barbara Phair; she advised Jemena on the tax aspects of its Darling Downs pipeline acquisition from Origin Energy. Vivian Chang heads the practice; Sanjay Wavde has been promoted to partner. BHP Billiton, Macquarie and ANZ count among the team's clients.

At Clayton Utz, ‘response times are exemplary’ and the team ‘addresses the crux of matters efficiently’. The practice, headed by Andrew Sommer, acts for domestic blue-chip companies and international organisations such as Woolworths, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Pallion Group; Goldman Sachs and EMR Capital draw on the team's specialist finance and private equity sector knowledge. On the transactional front, work highlights included advising Saputo on its acquisition of Murray Goulburn and assisting Suntory Beverage & Food with the sale of its Cerebos Food & Instant Coffee and Asian Gourmet businesses in Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. In another highlight, Sydney-based Jonathan Donald advised Pacific Equity Partners on the structuring of its A$750m infrastructure fund, which includes both offshore and Australian entities. The practice covers the full spectrum of taxation matters and also acts for state and Commonwealth government clients. Recently promoted partner Amber Agustin ‘grasps complicated matters quickly’. Niv Tadmore's joined Jones Day  in May 2019.

Minter Ellison provides a full tax advisory service, covering transaction structuring, indirect tax, transfer pricing, not-for-profit and international tax. Melbourne-based Adrian Varrasso heads the team, which has been bolstered by the arrivals of transfer pricing specialist Craig Silverwood, who joined from an in-house role, and James Momsen from KPMG Tax & Legal. The team acts both for and against the ATO; recent work includes Rhys Guild's advice to Ivanhoe Estate on indirect tax, concessions, GST and stamp duty considerations regarding its state-sponsored residential, commercial and social housing project. Varrasso advised the University of Melbourne on all tax implications of a new 40,000sqm development. Carmen McElwain has particular experience with controversy matters, risk reviews and audits. Anthony Portas departed for a role in-house.

John Walker heads the team at Baker McKenzie and is an expert on multi-jurisdictional restructures and cross-border investments. The team also includes Dixon Hearder, who is strong in indirect tax, controversy matters and transfer pricing. Additional names to note are Miles Hurst, who focuses on major projects, M&A and financing arrangements, and property and energy sector expert Amrit MacIntyre. Senior associate and indirect tax specialist Simone Bridges is also singled out. The practice has expanded through the arrivals of William Malouf and Thomas Garwood from PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal as well as Struan Davidson from Ashurst.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth provides strategic tax advice to domestic and overseas government, corporate and institutional and private equity clients. The practice is well regarded for its knowledge of real estate tax structuring and is jointly headed by Rhys Jewell and Mark Payne. Jewell advised Southern Cross Media Group on tax implications arising from the sale of its television assets and operations in the Northern New South Wales TV license area. Payne assisted Blue CHP and Home4Life with the structuring and financing of a national disability accommodation project. The team also acts for Frasers Property, developer of the large-scale Ivanhoe Estate project in New South Wales. Notable clients include AIG, National Australia Bank and realestate.com.au.

DLA Piper's 'excellent' practice is led by Jock McCormack, who possesses ‘commercial acumen combined with industry knowledge’. The team handles the full spectrum of tax issues, with particular expertise in transfer pricing and international tax. Newly promoted partner Eddie Ahn is ‘very practical, responsive and knows his area very well’. James Newnham rounds off the three-partner team and assist clients with international expansion projects and is experienced in capital gains tax, tax consolidation and trusts. McCormack and Ahn advised a Korean asset management company on its acquisition of an equity interest in Endeavour Energy Australia. Senior associate Kenny Mui joined from Deloitte Lawyers.

Johnson Winter & Slattery's 'excellent' team is singled out for its ‘good response times, practical suggestions and effective dealing with the ATO’. The practice, led by Reynah Tang, includes the ‘very experienced’ Richard Gelski, an expert in corporate structuring, transactions and property trust structures. Other names to note include recently promoted partner Andy Milidoni and Prashanth Kainthaje, who is ‘at the peak of his profession’ and has ‘particular strength in cross-border taxation advice’. On the acquisition front, Tang advised Battery Ventures on the majority acquisition of PageUp, its first investment in Australia. In another highlight, Gelski assisted AIG with a  contentious tax issue amounting to $300m. The practice covers the full range of tax law, including direct and indirect tax as well as international and goods and services tax.

Norton Rose Fulbright fields a team of ‘technical experts who are responsive and easy to deal with’. Andrew Spalding ‘is at the top of his field when it comes to stamp duty and GST issues’; he jointly heads the practice with the ‘pragmatic, timely and technically considered’ Greg Reinhardt. The latter joined following the firm’s merger with now-defunct firm Henry Davis York and acts for clients in the corporate, financial, property and government sectors. Seema Mishra  who also joined through the merger, is ‘a star who provides a great service’ and Adam Smith is ‘a very good technical lawyer’. The practice handles the full spectrum of direct and indirect tax matters.

Allen & Overy LLP is noted for its ‘high level of service, business acumen and responsiveness’. Practice head Ka Sen Wong is ‘very responsive, with well thought-out and succinct advice’. Wong is supported by Angela Melick, a stamp duty and GST specialist, and Alice Morstyn, who has a focus on transactions. The team excels in cross-border transactions and acts for domestic and international clients in the financial services, energy and resources, funds, infrastructure, property and banking and capital markets sectors. Wong assisted NYSE-listed Equinix with the tax aspects of its A$1.04bn acquisition of Metronode. The team also provided tax advice to EMR Capital and Adaro Capital on the acquisition financing for Rio Tinto’s Kestrel coal mine.

Muhunthan Kanagaratnam heads the practice at Gilbert + Tobin and jointly with Hanh Chau advises Paladin Energy's bondholders and ad hoc creditor committee on the implications of the company’s restructuring following its administration. The team has been busy on the transaction front, advising Beach Energy on its A$1.58bn acquisition of Lattice Energy and assisting Pacific Equity Partners and The Carlyle Group with the acquisition of iNOVA Pharmaceuticals. Apart from M&A structuring, areas of focus include income and capital gains tax, stamp duty and corporate tax matters. Julian Lian and Matthew Charman joined from KPMG Law and EY Law respectively and Adam Musgrave has been promoted to special counsel. The team often works jointly with the firm's corporate advisory and banking and infrastructure practice groups. Peter Doyle joined from King & Wood Mallesons in July 2019.

The Melbourne-centred team at Hall & Wilcox is led by Peter Murray and has a focus on the banking, funds, insurance, property, construction and media and technology sectors. It handles the entire spectrum of tax-related matters and recently advised Hong-Kong based Eternal Best Industrial on the tax implications of its proposed acquisition of an Australian shoe manufacturer and retailer. Bucher Municipal receives ongoing advice on federal and state tax compliance. Anthony Bradica specialises in taxation planning and structuring for corporate clients and Marina Raulings excels at transaction-related stamp duty and GST matters. Michael Parker and Andrew O’Bryan are both well regarded for advice on income tax, capital gains tax and transactions.

Jackson McDonald provides ‘outstanding response times, business acumen and appropriateness of advice’. The Perth-based practice covers a wide range of tax matters and is particularly knowledgeable of Western Australian state taxes, native title trusts and payments, and charity and not-for-profit tax laws. Mineral Resources and Fortescue Metals Group as well as a number of high-net-worth individuals count among the team's clients. Practice head Jemal Zagami is a ‘quick thinker who can work through issues on the spot’, has ‘a good degree of pragmatism’ and ‘replies promptly’. Adam Levin and special counsel David Murthy are also singled out.

K&L Gates' 'excellent' team, led by Betsy-Ann Howe, provides ‘very pragmatic advice’. Howe assisted Sydney Fish Market with income tax, stamp duty, land tax and GST issues in relation to its high-value redevelopment. International tax and asset finance are additional focus areas, and Howe advised Tolmar International on the sale of subsidiary Tolmar Australia. Matthew Cridland dedicates his practice to indirect tax issues, namely GST, stamp duty, payroll tax and land tax. Cross-border aircraft finance is another area of expertise; Howe advised KV Aviation on tax implications arising from several aircraft financing transactions.

McCullough Robertson handles tax auditions, settlement negotiations, restructures, transactions as well as debt and equity fundraisings. Mining and resources sector expert Damien Clarke advised Malabar Coal on its acquisition of the Drayton and Drayton South assets from their joint venture owners. Duncan Bedford is another name to note and specialises in business structuring and taxation; he assisted Viralytics with its acquisition by Merck Sharp & Dohme. Brisbane-based practice head Hayden Bentley focuses on corporate taxation. Mark West departed to set up his own firm.

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