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Australia > Corporate and M&A > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Corporate and M&A
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1
    • Guy Alexander - Allens
    • Costas Condoleon - Gilbert + Tobin
    • Peter Cook - Gilbert + Tobin
    • Tony Damian - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • John Elliott - Norton Rose Fulbright
    • David Friedlander - King & Wood Mallesons
    • Richard Kriedemann - Allens
    • Rodd Levy - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Rebecca Maslen-Stannage - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Robert Nicholson - Herbert Smith Freehills
    • Bart Oude-Vrielink - Minter Ellison
    • Michael Parshall - Allen & Overy
    • Philippa Stone - Herbert Smith Freehills

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1

Allens provides ‘technical knowledge and attention to detail, balanced with the ability to see the forest for the trees’ and the ‘responsiveness and engagement of the team is second to none’; ‘there is no one else with whom I would rather be in the trenches of a deal’. Co-led by Guy Alexander and Robert Simkiss, the 48-partner department ‘remains fun to work with under stressful conditions’ and ‘adds extra value through the level of personal investment the partners bring to the relationship’. It continues to attract some of the largest deals in the market, most recently assisting a consortium led by Hastings Funds Management and First State Super with its successful multibillion-dollar bid for a 35-year concession to operate the New South Wales land titles and registry business. The NSW Treasury and TfNSW instructed the team on the sale of a 51% interest in the WestConnex project, currently Australia’s largest road infrastructure project. Energy utility and infrastructure operator DUET received advice on its acquisition by a consortium led by Cheung Kong Infrastructure of 100% of DUET’s stapled securities, the largest M&A transaction in Australia in 2017. A notable highlight in the real estate sector was its advice to Unibail-Rodamco on its $25bn acquisition of all shares and units in Westfield, a complex cross-border matter and among the largest public M&A deals in Australia to date. A large number of partners come in for praise, among them Mark Malinas, Wendy Rae, Richard Kriedemann, Jon Webster and Kylie Brown.

Gilbert + Tobin’s 30-partner team, which is co-led by Costas Condoleon and Neil Pathak, has seen a strong year during which it managed to attract high-value matters in a range of industries such as banking, pharmaceuticals, energy and natural resources, and entertainment. Notable work in the private equity arena included Peter Cook’s advice to Pacific Equity Partners and The Carlyle Group on the $930m acquisition of iNova Pharmaceuticals from Valeant Group, as well as Rachael Bassil’s advice to Quadrant Private Equity on the sale of Real Pet Food. Spotless instructed the practice in respect of the $1bn hostile takeover bid for it by Downer EDI, and Craig Semple advised IOOF on its multimillion-dollar acquisition of ANZ’s OnePath pensions and investments businesses. The practice also regularly acts for the government: Bill Spain advised the NSW government in relation to the $1.9bn concession of Land and Property Information NSW, the first such transaction on that scale in Australia.

Herbert Smith Freehills remains the market leader in Australia, in terms of both deal count and deal value. The 57-partner practice, led by Carolyn Pugsley, has seen a strong work flow in a number of sectors; Rodd Levy advised Tabcorp on its multibillion-dollar acquisition of main competitor Tatts Group by way of scheme of arrangement, the largest completed public company transaction in Australia in 2017, and Rebecca Maslen-Stannage assisted Fairfax Media with the separation and spin-off of Domain, which listed as a standalone entity – one of the largest listings in 2017. In an innovative matter, Philippa Stone advised Pepper Group’s board committee on Pepper’s acquisition by way of scheme of arrangement by Red Hot Australia Bidco, which is indirectly owned by funds managed by KKR Credit Advisors. Tony Damian advised Commonwealth Bank of Australia on the proposed sale of its Australian and New Zealand life insurance business to AIA Insurance, the largest financial services deal since 2010. Robert Nicholson is also recommended. Mark Currell and Brendan Earle left to join Clifford Chance Australia and HWL Ebsworth, respectively.

King & Wood Mallesons’ strong practice frequently capitalises on its extensive Asian network, attracting inbound work from the region, and specifically China. The 57-partner team is led by David Friedlander in the public M&A arena, and by Mark McNamara in relation to private equity work; the latter assisted KKR Credit Advisors with its acquisition of the ASX-listed Pepper Group. Jason Watts advised Westfield on its proposed acquisition by Unibail-Rodamco, the largest public company takeover in the Australian market to date, and, in a related transaction, assisted Westfield with its proposed demerger of OneMarket. Meredith Paynter acted for longstanding clients Zurich Financial Services Australia and Zurich Insurance on their acquisition of ANZ’s life and consumer credit insurance business, making Zurich Australia’s largest retail life insurer. The team has also been busy with several matters in the heath insurance sector, among them advising HBF on its proposed merger with HCF, which would create the largest not-for-profit insurer in Australia. Also singled out are the ‘highly recommend’ Nicola Charlston and Diana Nicholson. Greg Golding left to join Ashurst.

Ashurst’s ‘high-calibre team’ is ‘excellent in all areas, including investment in future practitioners’; its lawyers are ‘proactive and agile and provide practical, commercial advice tailored to clients’ needs’. Significant private equity work included advising Blackstone on its acquisition of the ASX-listed Astro Japan’s property portfolio, and in the insurance sector the team assisted AIA Group with its multibillion-dollar acquisition of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance businesses in Australia and New Zealand. The ‘excellent’, 'engaging' Phil Breden, who ‘quickly formulates appropriate strategies’, and Mark Stanbridge co-lead the 24-partner practice. Breden acted for Crown Resorts on selling its 27.4% interest in Melco Crown Entertainment, a transaction completed via a multiple-tranche structure spanning several jurisdictions. Also recommended is the ‘very commercial’ Bruce Macdonald, who ‘works tirelessly and always with good humour’; he and Stanbridge advised Nine Entertainment on its acquisition of the issued share capital in Fairfax Media by way of scheme of arrangement, creating Australia’s largest integrated media corporation. Dan Yang joined from Colin Biggers & Paisley, now spearheading the firm’s China practice in Australia. Ratha Nabanidham joined from MinterEllison.

Clayton Utz ‘provides succinct, commercial and pragmatic advice in a timely manner’. Major sources of work continue to be advice to foreign investors and private equity funds as well as public company transactions. The firmly established practice keeps acting for a number of Australia’s major ASX-listed corporates such as Woolworths, Virgin Australia, Macquarie Bank and Commonwealth Bank of Australia. Andrew Walker, who ‘leaves no stone unturned’, advised Tatts Group on its $10.2bn merger with Tabcorp, among the largest public M&A deals announced in 2017; he also assisted Saputo Dairy Australia on its $980m acquisition of Murray Goulburn, one of Australia’s largest dairy processing companies. Head of the 26-partner team Rory Moriarty ‘cuts through the relevant legal issues’ and is rated for his ‘deep knowledge, commercial nous, complete client focus and dedication, which make him a very valuable source of guidance and advice’. He advised underbidder Permira on its $1.3bn offer to acquire Sirtex Medical via scheme of arrangement. The team also includes Rod Halstead , who ‘provides some of the most valuable guidance available in the market’, and the ‘very commercially-minded’ Jonathan Algar, who ‘finds solutions’; Kylie De Oliveira equally comes in for praise. Stephanie Daveson joined from Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

Minter Ellison’s 50-partner practice led by Con Boulougouris and Jeremy Blackshaw has seen some growth with four lawyers being promoted to the partnership, and private equity and alternative funding specialist Chris Allen joining from Gilbert + Tobin; however Sophie Chen left to the same firm, heading the China practice there. The team displays strengths across a number of industries, particularly energy and resources, financial services, infrastructure, technology and media. Highlights included advising CIMIC on its hostile takeover bid for UGL, and acting for Japan’s Hitachi Construction Machinery Company in its takeover bid for Bradken. The ‘excellent’ Victoria Allen ‘managed the resourcing effectively’, ‘rapidly got across the brief, worked tirelessly and provided insightful assistance’; the team was ‘shining in comparison to the other firms we interacted with in the transaction’. Allen advised Blackstone on the acquisition of an 80% interest in non-bank lender La Trobe Financial. Also recommended are Bart Oude-Vrielink and ‘very impressive’ senior associate Carley Scanlan.

Allen & Overy LLP’s 13-partner practice is co-led by Aaron Kenavan and mining sector expert Geoff Simpson out of Sydney and Perth, respectively. It is valued for its ‘excellent service’ and ‘global reach and advice’, the latter reflective of its focus on cross-border work. The team handled a range of significant inbound investment deals, among them Kenavan’s advice to Japanese staffing company Persol on its acquisition of the ASX-listed Programmed Maintenance Services. Jamie Palmer leads the private equity practice and recently advised Equinix on its acquisition of Australian data centre operator Metronode. Michael Parshall assisted Japanese MS&AD Insurance Group with its acquisition of a 6.4% stake in Australian financial services company Challenger. The ‘knowledgeable’ Meredith Campion gives ‘sound, commercial advice at all times’; clients ‘trust her implicitly after many tough, varying and challenging corporate actions’. Connell O’Neill and counsel Luke Nicholls are also names to note.

Baker McKenzie has particular strengths in the healthcare, renewables and media sectors as well as a focus on cross-border transactions, frequently acting for foreign investors. Richard Lustig and Ben McLaughlin jointly head the 19-partner practice, which has been bolstered by a number of arrivals: special counsel Caroline Tait joined from an in-house position, Duncan McGrath from Gilbert + Tobin, Antony Rumboll from UBS, and special counsel Alan Darwin from J.P. Morgan. Lauren Magraith advised Mantra Group on Accor's proposal to acquire it; the merger of two major hotel industry corporations raised significant competition aspects. Christopher Saxon acted for Valeant Pharmaceuticals in the $930m sale of its iNova Pharmaceuticals business to a company owned by funds managed by Pacific Equity Partners and The Carlyle Group. Recent healthcare-sector work includes Rick Troiano’s advice to Canadian-listed NorthWest Healthcare Properties REIT on its takeover of ASX-listed Generation Healthcare REIT. Kate Jefferson, Andrea Kennedy and Peter Ickeringill also come in for praise.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s capabilities encompass the technology, media and telecoms, healthcare, energy and real estate sectors. The 34-partner team, which is headed by Sandy Mak, maintains a busy China desk. It has been bolstered by Adam Foreman joining from Clayton Utz; Kon Mellos, who has a focus on advising financial institutions, from Herbert Smith Freehills; and Fadi Khoury from Norton Rose Fulbright. Jonathan Farrer is representing the Life Without Barriers and Cerebral Palsy Alliance on its successful bids as part of the NSW government privatisation process for disability services. Justin Fox assisted SMS Management & Technology with its proposed acquisition by ASX-listed technology services management company DWS; he also acted for Southern Cross Media Group on the sale of its Northern NSW Television operations to WIN. Cross-border work included Mak’s advice to a Singapore-based security company on the acquisition of one of Australia’s largest privately owned security companies. Special counsel Joanne Dwyer is also recommended.

Norton Rose Fulbright has been busy handling matters in the technology, health and pharmaceuticals, energy, financial services and infrastructure sectors. The practice has seen a number of departures, though the firm's combination with the now-defunct Henry Davis York bolstered the team with the arrival of funds expert Nikki Bentley, Jon Ireland, who has a focus on financial services, as well as M&A and competition partner Stephen Iu. In a notable highlight, John Elliott advised on a high-value telecoms merger. Shane Bilardi and Alison Deitz jointly head the 35-partner practice; Shaun Clyne and Richard Lewis are also recommended.

Clifford Chance’s team has a focus on handling cross-border work out of its Sydney and Perth offices. It maintains a busy private equity practice; Andrew Crook, who joined from Hogan Lovells, led advice to Carlyle Group on its acquisition of Accolade Wines Australia from CHAMP Private Equity and Constellation Brands. Jointly with the firm’s Beijing office, Lance Sacks acted for the consortium of China Jianyin Investment, JIC Huawen Investment and Tamar Alliance Capital on the acquisition of a majority stake in Australian vitamins and supplements business Nature’s Care. Sacks also assisted William Hill with the auction sale of its Australian bookmaking business to Australian gaming and entertainment group CrownBet. Mantra Group instructed the team on its sale to Accor Hotels, a transaction that creates the largest hotel group in Australasia. The team also features key partners Richard Graham and Tracey Renshaw.

DLA Piper’s ‘excellent’ team is ‘always practical and responsive’. The 14-partner practice, which is headed by Grant Koch, focuses on cross-border work and has particular expertise in the technology sector, where it regularly acts for technology, e-commerce and fintech businesses. Recent examples include Koch’s advice to Dimension Data on its global infrastructure-as-a-service cloud business sale to Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT). Mark Burger, who possesses ‘very good industry knowledge’, acted for Newell Rubbermaid on its £1.45bn tools business sale to Stanley Black & Decker. Notable work in the funds management space included the team’s advice to Pengana Holdings on its merger with Hunter Hall International, creating the funds management business Pengana Capital Group, as well as assisting Australian listed company Link Group with its £888m acquisition of Capita Asset Services from Capita. Consultant James Philips and Lyndon Masters also come in for praise; Stefan Luke joined from King & Wood Mallesons, and special counsel Amit Jois from Allens.

Johnson Winter & Slattery’s ‘high-quality, commercial’ team is ‘unflappable’ and provides ‘concise expert advice’; it has been bolstered by the arrival of Paul Vinci and Justin Harris from Clifford Chance Australia. The practice has expertise in a range of industries but has been particularly busy in the real estate sector recently: Damian Reichel acted for Spring Investment on its acquisition with Blackstone of ASX-listed Astro Japan Property Group’s portfolio of Japanese tokumei kumiai (TK) property interests. The ‘commercial’ Marcus Clark, who delivers ‘great value’, assisted Dalian Wanda with its sale of Wanda Australia Commercial Properties to AWH Investment Group. Jeremy Davis leads the 28-partner team, which also includes Andrew Williams, who is ‘calm in the eye of the storm’ as well as ‘concise and to the point’; he advised longstanding client Unilever on its acquisition of Australian Weis Frozen Foods. Financial sector-work included Davis’ advice to Natixis Global Asset Management on its first major acquisition in Australia, acquiring 51.9% of the share capital of Investors Mutual Limited (IML).

McCullough Robertson’s practice, headed by Damien Clarke, maintains its strong presence in Queensland but has significantly sharpened the profile of its Sydney offering, where Adrian Smith increasingly attracts cross-border work, frequently referred form overseas firms. In a recent cross-border matter Smith advised the majority shareholders on the sale of Krispy Kreme Australia and New Zealand to its US licensor, Krispy Kreme Doughnut. The Sydney team has been further bolstered by now-defunct firm Henry Davis York’s former practice co-head Ben Mortimer and his team. Advising small to mid-cap public and private transactions in the resources, technology, media and agribusiness sectors are the team’s strengths, but the 14-partner practice increasingly acts for financial services clients. In a recent example, Mortimer assisted Westpac with its further investment in fintech mortgage broking company Uno Home Loans. Reece Walker and Jim Peterson advised Viralytics on its acquisition by Merck & Co, a transaction that represents the greatest sum ever offered for a local drug developer in the history of Australian biotech.

Arnold Bloch Leibler has a particular focus on handling Australian transactions for high-net-worth individuals, entrepreneurial listed companies and private enterprises. The ‘approachable and proactive’ nine-partner team, which is co-led by name partner Jeremy Leibler and Jonathan Wenig, is valued for its ‘commercial acumen’ and ‘good advice’. Recent highlights included advising the US-based Krispy Kreme Doughnut on its acquisition of the Krispy Kreme Australia and New Zealand franchise business from its founding shareholders, and acting for CrownBet’s founders in a series of notable transactions, including the sale of an 18% stake of CrownBet to Canadian company The Stars Group. The ASX-listed Nufarm, Australia’s largest manufacturer of crop protection products, instructed the team in relation to its $490m acquisition of a portfolio of European crop protection products from Adama Agricultural Solutions and Syngenta Crop Protection. Christine Fleer and Jane Sheridan are also recommended.

Gadens Lawyers’ team, which is led jointly by corporate and tax expert Jeremy Smith and Lionel Hogg, counts 18 partners and has seen some recent growth, with Edward Nixey and Robert Tracy joining from now-defunct firm Henry Davis York, and Michael Kenny’s promotion to the partnership. It can count on its roster of longstanding clients, among them household names such as Cotton On Group and Kathmandu. Recent work highlights include Richard Partridge’s advice to TRT Pastoral Group on its acquisition of the King Island aggregation from Sustainable Agriculture Fund, one of the largest property sales on Tasmania’s King Island to date. In a significant healthcare sector matter, Khilen Devani advised Medication Packaging Systems Australia on its sale to a wholly owned subsidiary of the ASX-listed Sigma Healthcare. In a notable cross-border matter, Smith assisted the vendors of Rawson Group with its sale to Daiwa House Australia, part of Japan’s largest home building company.

HWL Ebsworth’s 48-partner practice, which is jointly led by Jamie Restas and Robert Gibson, capitalises on its geographical spread, with offices in every state. The team has been further bolstered through the firm's merger with TressCox Lawyers, which saw the arrival of Philip Mitchell, who frequently acts for Japanese clients and speaks the language fluently. Additionally, Brendan Earle joined from Herbert Smith Freehills. A notable highlight was Restas’ and Kate McKeough’s advice to a state government on the privatisation of its transactional land services function; in a much publicised transaction, Restas also acted for a large Australian landowner and beef cattle producer on its sale to a joint venture vehicle, which is owned 67% by Hancock Prospecting and 33% by Shanghai CRED Real Estate Stock. In the real estate sector, David Marriott advised Abacus Property Group on its $202m sale of Melbourne’s World Trade Centre complex, a large waterfront office complex, to a local private investor.

K&L Gates’ diversified practice, led by Chris Nikou, fields 16 partners and has expertise in a number of distinct sectors, among them agribusiness, entrepreneur investments, healthcare and life sciences, and sports. Nikou also co-leads the firm’s global practice, and frequently handles cross-border matters; he advised Canadian fertiliser company Nutrien on its acquisition of MacroFertil Australia. Another notable cross-border matter was special counsel Nick Ramage’s advice to PRP Diagnostic Imaging on its sale of a 70% interest to Chinese-listed company HengKang Medical Group. John Mann led advice to Tolmar International on the sale of its subsidiary Tolmar Australia to Mundipharma. Caroline Carnegie also comes in for praise. Nick Humphrey, Hal Lloyd and Gordon McCann left for Sydney-based corporate boutique Hamilton Locke.

Lander & Rogers’ ‘excellent’ practice is valued for its ‘good response times and availability’. The 10-partner team, which is led by Jackie Solakovski, has seen the arrival of Peter Monk and Simon Davidson from Hive Legal and retains its focus on the insurance, financial services, real estate and retail sectors. Solakovski acted for Emirates subsidiary dnata Catering Services on its purchase of Qantas’ catering division, comprising shares in Q Catering and SnapFresh. China client group leader Alex Ding frequently works across the region, recently advising Singaporean real estate fund ARA Asset Management on taking a stake in Cromwell Property Group, a listed Australian REIT. Deanna Constable, who is ‘calm under pressure’, possesses ‘an exceptional legal mind, but is also willing to let points go when it makes commercial sense’; she advised Japanese anime production company Aniplex on its acquisition of a 30% interest in Madman Anime Group. Insurance sector-work included assisting QBE Insurance on the sale of its life insurance business to UK-funded Australian start-up Integrity Group.

Maddocks has a focus on mid-cap work and frequently acts for small to medium-sized listed companies, large private companies and local subsidiaries of global corporations. The 29-partner team, which is led by Damien Wurzel and Duncan Hall, specialises in the education, government, infrastructure, professional services, retail, and technology sectors and has seen increased healthcare sector work, which is a focus area for Lucille Scomazzon. Andrew McNee advised the founders and operators of the Manly Fast Ferry on their divestment of the company to the National Roads and Motorists' Association (NRMA), Stuart Napthali assisted Direct Capital with the management buyout of Marvel Packers, and Ron Smooker acted for the shareholders of Norman Disney & Young on its sale to Tetra Tech. In the pharmaceutical sector, Wurzel advised the shareholders of Alchemy Holdings on its sale of HPS to pharmaceutical and animal health products maker EBOS. The team also includes retail and franchise expert Greg Hipwell and Catherine Debreceny, who has a focus on private equity matters. Catherine Merity and special counsel Rosamond Sayer joined from DLA Piper.

Thomson Geer’s ‘excellent’ team gives ‘concise and commercially realistic advice’; it includes the well-regarded Dan Kramer, Adam Brooks, David Zwi, who has a focus on acting for listed public companies and private equity funds, and newly promoted partner Peta Thompson. Eugene Fung provides ‘commercial and sound legal advice that is always practical and relevant’; he advised Domino’s on its minority share acquisition of Bain Capital’s shares in Domino’s Pizza Japan. The practice also acted for Village Roadshow on the sale of its 50% stake in Singapore cinema exhibition business Golden Village to Orange Sky Golden Harvest Entertainment, and assisted PrixCar with its acquisition of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics’ inland transportation and technical service business in Australia in exchange for a 20% ownership share in PrixCar.

Dentons’ practice, which is led by Kym Livesley, is based across Sydney, Melbourne and Perth and has grown significantly with two internal promotions, the addition of Geoff Cairns, John Reen, Paul Schmidt-Uili, and Lis Boyce in Sydney from now-defunct firm DibbsBarker, Hamish Walton joining from Dechert LLP, and Nick Stretch and Alexander Nielsen joining from now-defunct firm Nick Stretch Legal in Melbourne. Andrew Chan’s arrival from Gilbert + Tobin and Robyn Chatwood’s relocation from the firm’s London office round out the offering. The practice has strengths in the energy and natural resources sectors as well as in life sciences and healthcare, and regularly advises clients with operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the Pacific, most recently acting as PNG counsel to listed Canadian entity Cobalt 27 Capital. It also handles a notable amount of Chinese investment work, capitalising on the firm’s network in the region. Nielsen, who is valued for his ‘excellent approach and communication’ and is ‘trusted to give sound advice’, is advising Bayer on the Australian aspects of its sale of selected crop science businesses to BASF ahead of Bayer’s acquisition of Monsanto.

Hall & Wilcox has a particular focus on middle-market deals; jointly led by John Hutchinson and Martin Ross, the department has been bolstered by consultant and new European desk co-head Wolfgang Babeck joining from now-defunct firm DibbsBarker, and by special counsel Jonathon Wood from Herbert Smith Freehills. Dyson instructed the team on the acquisition of Shepparton Transit, it advised Cambridge Global Payments on the Australian aspects of the sale of its global business to Fleetcor Technologies, and it assisted a financial services group with its acquisition of a real estate funds manager. Key clients include Carlton and United Breweries, Arena REIT, BMW Financial Services and Australian Unity. Christopher Brown and Oliver Jankowsky are also recommended.

Hogan Lovells’ three-partner practice, which is led by Matthew Johnson, displays ‘good depth of industry expertise’; the comparatively small practice ‘appeals because of its global reach’. Recent cross-border work included the team’s advice to Oracle on its $1.2bn acquisition of Aconex, a matter spanning four jurisdictions and the largest takeover achieved by a listed Australian technology company to date. The practice has strong life-sciences sector expertise; notable work included Johnson’s advice to Elastagen on its $260m sale to pharmaceutical company Allergan. In another highlight, finance partner Ros O’Mally assisted Mantra Group with aspects of its $890m sale to Accor, creating the largest hotel group in Australia.

Jones Day fields a nine-partner team that includes Chris Ahern, Mark Crean, Matthew Latham and Brett Heading. It has been bolstered by the arrival of Courtney Dixon and Hemang Shah, who both joined as of counsel from Herbert Smith Freehills; Michael Lishman, who joined from Gresham Advisory Partners; and Isaac West from McCullough Robertson. The firm also relocated Darren Murphy from Singapore to add capacity to its new Melbourne office. The growing team can draw on the firm’s strong global practice, and recent cross-border work includes advising Lennox International on the $110m sale of its refrigeration businesses in Australia, New Zealand and Asia to Beijer Ref. Pepper Group instructed the team on its £367m acquisition by KKR Credit Advisors, KKR’s first successful takeover of an Australia-listed target.

Mills Oakley Lawyers has particular expertise in mid-cap transactions; the team’s ‘business acumen and focus on objectives are second to none’. Key figures in the 16-partner team include Daniel Livingston, who ‘works well with other advisers’, is ‘very commercial and always drives the transaction towards signing and completion’; Tim Cox, who is ‘outcome-focused and quick to respond’; and the recommended Gavin Douglas. Livingston advised Bureau Veritas Australia on its acquisition of a 65% equity stake in McKenzie Group Consulting, and Warren Scott assisted Laser Group with a multi-stage pre-transaction restructuring and the equity sale of its Australian business to Belgium-based Belron. The team has seen some growth, with corporate finance lawyer Virginia Waterhouse joining from Russells, Juanita Rayson from the now-defunct DibbsBarker, Iain Laughland from Norton Rose Fulbright, and Simon Panegyres from HopgoodGanim.

Piper Alderman’s ‘excellent’ team has seen significant growth due to its merger with boutique corporate firm Norton Gledhill, adding Alasdair McLean, Bruce Cameron, James Macdonald, Michael Coker and Hugh Scales as well as consultant David Burridge to the practice. It has been further bolstered by a number of lateral hires and internal promotions; the team, which is jointly led by James Dickson and Macdonald, now counts 28 partners. The latter displays ‘an amazing work ethic’, ‘is calm under pressure and is extremely competent’; he recently assisted the AFL Players’ Association with establishing its injury and hardship fund. Southern Cross Equity Group instructed the team on the sale of Axiom Islington North’s 50% interest in the Churchill Centre North shopping centre. The team is ‘pragmatic and uses astute business judgement to get the deal done’. Michael Bacina ‹leads the growing cryptocurrency practice.

At Squire Patton Boggs, ‘tight deadlines are met’. The team focuses on mid-market deals, recently advising military technology and equipment provider AMS Group on its proposed share and asset acquisition of Military & Aviation Spares. It also assisted Belron’s Australian and New Zealand entities, O’Brien Glass and Smith&Smith, on the acquisition of Laser Group's plumbing and electrical franchise network in Australia and New Zealand. Campbell Davidson in Sydney and Simon Rear in Perth jointly lead the three-partner practice; it includes the ‘very impressive’ Richard Horton, who has ‘excellent industry knowledge and business acumen’; clients ‘rely on his experience in negotiating global contracts of significant importance to our company’. Clare Pope left to join PricewaterhouseCoopers Legal.

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