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Australia > Project development > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Project development
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

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

Ashurst is ‘particularly good at working from different jurisdictions to leverage the national practice’. The team, which is led by Lee McDonald, covers an impressive range of projects in the transport, infrastructure, and energy and resources sectors and has been further strengthened by the arrival of Dan Brown and Alex Guy from DLA Piper. Transport-sector credentials include advising TfNSW on all aspects of the multibillion-dollar Sydney Metro project, Australia’s largest public transport project, a matter handled by McDonald. Notable mining work has seen Richard Guit advise CleanTeQ on the Sunrise Nickel Cobalt Scandium project development, one of the largest sources of cobalt outside of Africa, and in the energy sector the team acted for Edify Energy on a number of large-scale renewable energy projects. Harvey Weaver, who has ‘good knowledge of the student accommodation market’, acted for several major Australian universities on their student accommodation projects, most recently for the University of Tasmania on its innovative partnership to grant a 30-year licence for accommodation properties to Spark Living. Michael Harrison is ‘first-class on matters requiring structuring and deep thought’, ‘engenders trust in everyone in the market’ and has ‘a great ability to guide people’s thinking’. The team also includes the highly regarded Angus Foley, Mark Disney and David Jardine. Krista Payne has been promoted to the partnership.

Clayton Utz’s comprehensive practice ‘provides insightful strategic guidance along with excellent legal advice’, and is ‘the market-leader for complex infrastructure advice and disputes’. Road and rail infrastructure has been a major source of work, and the 24-partner team jointly led by Sergio Capelli and Bruce Cooper counts many government departments among its longstanding clients. Capelli and Jo Pugsley act for a joint venture of the New Zealand government and Auckland council in relation to the $3bn City Rail Link project, the country’s largest government infrastructure project. Other notable matters include advising the Commonwealth of Australia on the potential development of Western Sydney Airport, and assisting the State of Victoria with the planning and development of the $12.5bn North East Link, which is set to be the biggest transport project in Victoria’s history. Stuart MacGregor, Emma Covacevich and Brett Cohen focus on energy and resources projects, recently advising APNLG on the multibillion-dollar APLNG project, and the team continues to act for Tokyo Gas on the large-scale QCLNG project. A number of partners come in for praise; Frank Bannon is ‘an excellent strategic thinker’ who ‘consistently delivers outstanding legal services matched by exceptional commercial acumen’, and Dale Brackin is ‘brilliant, practical and approachable at all times’.

King & Wood Mallesons acts for a wide range of private and public sector clients and comprehensively covers work in the transport, social infrastructure, construction, oil and gas, and mining sectors, where clients ‘would always use them for high-end work’. The 34-partner team, which is led by Mark Upfold, provides ‘excellent service’ and includes infrastructure expert Chris Mitchell, who is ‘at the very top of the market’. The former assisted Qube with the development and operation of the Moorebank Intermodal project in New South Wales, and the latter advised TfNSW on the multibillion-dollar Parramatta Light Rail to connect Sydney’s western suburbs. Shannon Etwell and Scott Budd advised the Destination Brisbane Consortium in relation to its Queens Wharf integrated resort development on Brisbane’s riverfront. In the resources sector, Etwell and John Swinson advised Rio Tinto on the development of its Koodaideri iron ore mine and infrastructure project in the Pilbara. Craig Rogers is particularly recommended for his expertise in wind farm development projects.

White & Case LLP provides ‘highly practical and commercial advice’ with ‘a focus on getting the deal done’. The 13-partner practice, led by Asia Pacific head of projects Andrew Clark, possesses ‘best-in-class industry knowledge’ and has seen a successful year since the team’s arrival from Herbert Smith Freehills. Clark and Josh Sgro are advising the Melbourne Metro Rail Authority on all aspects of the $8.3bn Melbourne Metro Rail Project, and Alan Rosengarten and Joanne Draper assisted Transurban with its market-led proposal to the Victorian government to handle the $5bn West Gate Tunnel project. Ged Cochrane and Adeline Pang act for Paris-based renewable energy company Neoen in a number of solar energy projects. Jared Muller and John Tivey are also recommended.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth has a clear focus on infrastructure work and acts for both government and private sector clients. David Warren heads the 28-partner team; it includes Peter Schenk, who is representing the Queensland government in relation to the $2.2bn Queen’s Wharf project, which involves the redevelopment of nine hectares in the Brisbane’s CBD; Warren acts for two longstanding clients on the development of a facility to supply precast structural elements to the West Gate Tunnel project. Airlie Fox is assisting the Altrac consortium, consisting of Capella, Acciona, Alstom and Transdev, with the delivery of the $1.2bn Sydney Light Rail project, which includes a rail network extension through Sydney’s CBD. John Walter, Andrew Chew and Clare Corke are also recommended. Jared Heath has been promoted to partner.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ team has ‘extensive experience in infrastructure projects’ and is ‘good at seeing the big picture’. It has seen some generational change, with six new partner promotions over the span of 2017 and 2018, prompted by the loss of a team to White & Case LLP. Asia Pacific head of projects Toby Anderson leads the now 12-partner team, which comprehensively covers PPP, social and economic infrastructure, transport, and energy and resources matters. The ‘very accessible and extremely experienced’ Peter Butler advised a consortium comprising Capella Capital, Lendlease, John Holland and QIC on its bid to construct Brisbane’s multibillion-dollar Cross River Rail tunnel, stations and development PPP project. Jim Theodore is advising Rail Projects Victoria on a number of matters, among them the Melbourne Metro Rail project. It handled a range of renewables projects, such as Kristen Percy’s advice to AGL Energy and lenders on the Coopers Gap wind farm in Queensland. Also recommended are David Ryan, Erin Wyeth (who is ‘very experienced in infrastructure projects’ and ‘committed to a high level of service’) and senior associate Melissa Rubbo. Miriam D’Souza joined Norton Rose Fulbright; Peter Paradise is no longer at the firm.

Minter Ellison is ‘a leading firm across regulatory issues and commercial negotiation of infrastructure projects’, and its ‘advice and depth of knowledge is excellent’. The ‘extremely proficient’ 42-partner team, led by the highly experienced Pamela Jack, handled a number of high-value projects, among them Stewart Nankervis’ advice to two joint venture partners in relation to Victoria’s West Gate Tunnel project. Peter Block possesses ‘outstanding conceptual and innovation skills in relation to procurement models involving shared project risk between government and private sector’; Block, Nankervis and Eve Eisman advised Corrective Services NSW, iNSW and the NSW Treasury on a number of correctional centre projects with a total value of several billion Australian dollars. Australian Unity instructed the team in relation to Brisbane’s Herston Quarter development. Paul Paxton, Jonathon Williams and Nicole Green also come in for praise.

Allens has in-depth capabilities in all areas of projects work, namely infrastructure and transport, power and utilities, mining and oil and gas. The 20-partner team features the recommended Emma Warren, David Donnelly, Andrew Mansour, Richard Malcolmson and Igor Bogdanich. Warren advised the Netflow Consortium, a joint venture between Plenary and Cintra, in relation to the Victorian government's Western Roads upgrade, and Donnelly acted for the Plenary Health consortium on the Casey hospital expansion. Other notable infrastructure work for the team included advising Sydney Motorway Corporation on the first two stages of the large-scale WestConnex project. In the renewables sector, it continued to advise Acciona Energy on the Mt Gellibrand wind farm development in Victoria, and Bogdanich renders ongoing advice to Rio Tinto in relation to its multibillion-dollar copper mine development in Mongolia.

DLA Piper possesses considerable PPP expertise, including advising governments on structuring PPP schemes, and handles a range of infrastructure as well as renewables and mining sector matters. The team has seen some change, with Dan Brown and former head of PPP and transport Alex Guy leaving for Ashurst, and Simon Huxley joining Allen & Overy LLP; however, the firm has appointed new partners Alyson Eather and Rhys Davies and grew at associate and counsel level. Resolute Mining received advice on the development of the Syama and Ravenswood mining operations in Mali and Queensland, respectively. Infrastructure work included the team’s advice to the Acciona Ferrovial joint venture on the Melbourne Metro Tunnels and Stations PPP project. Alex Jones leads on mining project matters, and Stephen Webb handles energy projects work. Alex Regan and John Gallagher are also names to note. Finance and projects lawyer Kate Papailiou has ‘strong business acumen and industry knowledge’ and displays ‘a strong work ethic’.

Norton Rose Fulbright has seen an increasing stream of energy sector projects, continues to handle significant transport and infrastructure work and attracted a number of PNG-related matters. Notable infrastructure work included advising the successful bidders on a high-profile PPP project in Melbourne, and acting for one construction company on a very large PPP in New South Wales. Energy-sector work has seen the team advise on wind, solar, waste-to-energy and hydropower projects. The firm also attracts mining sector projects work, an area of expertise for head of infrastructure, mining and commodities Keira Brennan. Jo Crew heads the firm’s infrastructure and project finance group, which includes James Morgan-Payler, Mark Waddell, Graham Read and Kevin Arkwright. Miriam D’Souza joined from Herbert Smith Freehills, and Alice Chen through the firm’s merger with the now-defunct Henry Davis York.

Baker McKenzie’s 11-partner team is led by Sean Duffy and Paul Curnow and handles energy, renewables and infrastructure work. The latter also heads the firm’s Asia-Pacific renewable energy and clean technology group; he advised DP Energy on the project development and proposed sale of its combined wind and solar project in South Australia. Highfield Resources instructed the team in relation to its proposed Muga mine development in Spain, and health infrastructure work included the team’s advice to co-developer Monash University on the Victorian Heart Hospital procurement. ZoĂ« Hilson is also recommended.

K&L Gates’ ‘thorough, responsive’ team includes ‘very determined negotiator’ Zac Kerr, who focuses on transport infrastructure; Luke Westmore handles renewables projects work, and Jeremy Prentice has aviation and port infrastructure expertise. Kerr and Westmore joined from Mills Oakley Lawyers, and their workload included advising Transurban on the interface between the Cross City tunnel and the Sydney Metro City and South West project; Elecnor instructed the team in relation to the Bungala 1 and 2 solar projects in South Australia. The practice continues to advise the Port of Brisbane on the Brisbane International Cruise Ship Terminal project. Simon Salter leads the five-partner department.

Maddocks focuses on infrastructure work; the six-partner team, led by Andrew Chapman, Simone Holding and Andrew Pitney, has a strong state and Commonwealth government client base. Chapman advised TfNSW on its Blue Mountains Route Clearance project, and Pitney and Alicia Sheridan assisted WBHO Infrastructure with the Outer Suburban Arterial Roads PPP, the largest roads upgrade and maintenance project in Victoria to date. VicRoads instructed the team in relation to its state-wide Safe System Road Infrastructure programme for the installation of flexible barriers on Victoria’s highways.

McCullough Robertson is particularly strong in the energy and resources sector, but is fleshing out its infrastructure offering. It is advising the Gold Coast city council on a number of infrastructure projects, and is assisting Charles Sturt University with the expansion of its new campus at Port Macquarie. Mining-sector work is a strength; it acted for New Hope in relation to infrastructure aspects of the proposed Acland 3 mine, and is advising QCoal on the Byerwen mine development in Queensland. In the waste sector, significant work included advising Suez in relation to its tender for the Kimbriki resource recovery facility PPP project. Ren Niemann leads the 14-partner team, which includes Matt Bradbury.  Tim Hanmore left for MinterEllison in May 2019.

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