Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Australia > Real estate > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Real estate
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next Generation Partners

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next Generation Partners

  1. 1

Clayton Utz has the ‘depth to handle large, complex transactions within compressed time frames’ and is noted for its ‘exceptional service level’ and ‘breadth of knowledge’. Areas of expertise include urban renewals, large-scale developments and affordable and social housing and it regularly attracts inbound work for Asian investors. The 'skilled and unflappable' Julie Levis is advising the Barangaroo Delivery Authority on the A$10bn Barangaroo project, an office, retail, resorts and residential apartments redevelopment. The team acts for a number of education sector clients and practice head Nikki Robinson is assisting Western Sydney University with the redevelopment of its Westmead campus. Newly promoted partner Alison Kennedy is the ‘go-to lawyer for complex commercial real estate transactions’; Andrew Norman is another name to note. Andrew Steele joined from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Herbert Smith Freehills' practice is ‘one of the best for real estate, planning and environment work’ and ‘the go-to firm for major commercial developments in Sydney and Melbourne’. Practice head David Sinn is an 'excellent operator with broad knowledge and great insight'. He advises Rail Projects Victoria on acquisition strategies, common property and road management issues arising from the high-profile Melbourne Metro Tunnel project. Property transactions are a particular strength, with Michael Back advising QIC on the acquisition of ten malls totalling A$4bn. Brisbane-based Luke Simpson is ‘one of the most commercially focused lawyers’ in the market; Frank Poeta is the name to note in Perth. Julie Couch has ‘broad experience acting for both government and private sector clients’.

King & Wood Mallesons is noted for its 'high-quality work on real estate transactions, developments and infrastructure projects’. The ‘superior’ team is co-headed by Stuart Dixon-Smith and Brian Murphy and was bolstered by the promotions to partner of Chris Pitson and Jessica Wallis. Sydney-based Chris Mitchell possesses ‘expertise in working with public bodies and structuring complicated transactions’. The team advised AMP Capital on the Quay Quarter precinct mixed-use development and assisted Lendlease with a student accommodation, retail and commercial development at the University of Melbourne. Transactional work included advising China-based Country Garden on its acquisition of a site in Victoria. Andrew Erikson and Simone Menz are also names to note.

Allens is a ‘clear leader in the field’ and singled out for its ‘high service level, business acumen and industry knowledge’. The practice handles transactions and developments and also advises on property-related tax, construction, finance, stamp duty and funds management matters. David McLeish leads the team, which has been bolstered by the arrivals of Jillian Button and Felicity Rourke from Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Norton Rose Fulbright respectively, as well as the promotions to partner of Liam Chambers and Alexandra Peace. It assisted a number of clients with portfolio acquisitions and disposals and advised Perth Airport on a development agreement in relation to the Terminal 3 upgrade. The practice also includes the ‘responsive, quick and very thorough’ Victoria Holthouse and Michael Graves, who is ‘highly recommended for complex real estate transactions that require technical expertise’.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth's ‘business savvy’ team is noted for its ‘commercial advice and short response times’. The ‘very diplomatic’ practice head Nathaniel Popelianski assisted the Aspire Consortium with its successful tender application for the Ivanhoe Estate project, Australia’s largest social and affordable housing redevelopment. In a further highlight, Sydney-based Paul Carrick is advising Vicinity Centres on its acquisition of 50% in three shopping centres. Peter Calov and Simon Doyle are ‘very knowledgeable and understand business drivers’; Alan Churley is another name to note. David Ellenby and Natalie Bryant have both been promoted to the partnership.

Minter Ellison's ‘responsive, proactive, reliable and high-performing’ practice possesses ‘impressive depth of legal and market knowledge and experience’. Virginia Briggs renders ‘tremendously sensible and pragmatic advice’; she now heads the practice following Angela Skandarajah's departure to take up a role in-house. Areas of focus for the team include transactions, developments, leasing and conveyancing. Brisbane-based Cameron Charlton advised Australian Unity on obtaining the rights to redevelop the Herston Quarter precinct. Lendlease, UrbanGrowth NSW and ANZ are also clients and the team regularly acts for government bodies, property fund managers, owners and developers. The practice has seen some growth; Carla Deluca joined from Herbert Smith Freehills and Ben Fuller from now-defunct firm Henry Davis York. Further expansion saw Edward Campbell and the ‘impressively reliable and proactive’ Rachel McNaught promoted to partner. Peter Mitchell counts ‘among the best retail leasing lawyers in Victoria’.

Ashurst has been strengthened by the arrivals of Diane Skapinker, Vicki Aron and Rola Khourly from K&L Gates and Andra Lang from Connor O’Meara. Damian Salsbury and Pauline Tan jointly head the team, which focuses on developments, real estate transactions and infrastructure projects. It has niche expertise in the hotel and tourism industry and assisted Capital Alliance Investment with multiple mixed-use developments, one of which will consist of 132 residential apartments and 211 hotel rooms. In a further highlight, the team acted for Australia Post and Cbus Property in relation to the design, construction and leasing of the new 65,000sqm Victoria Police precinct to the state. Perth-based Andrew Gay has been promoted to partner; John Stawyskyj is another name to note.

At Baker McKenzie, ‘advice is practical and lawyers are accessible’. The team, led by Bruce Webb and David Jones, who ‘has a common sense approach to complex issues’, has significant retail sector expertise acting for luxury brands, recently advising Nike on the lease at its Melbourne head office. It also regularly handles transactions in the hotel and tourism industry and assists with mixed hotel and residential developments. Recent work highlights include advising Golden Age on the sale of Melbourne's Sheraton hotel and assisting Aurrum Group and Home Consortium with the acquisition, development, leasing and potential sale of 61 stores and 21 development sites. Property development specialist Sebastian Busa and Roy Melick are the other names to note. The team also frequently acts for inbound investors.

Colin Biggers & Paisley is ‘outstanding in every regard’, provides ‘high-quality, reliable advice’ and possesses ‘deep property expertise’. The team has experience in the hotel, tourism and hospitality sectors and focuses on investment and management, developments and commercial leasing. Rhett Oliver is advising Pellicano Group and Perri Projects on titling, registration and leasing matters arising from the $6bn South City Square development. Oliver jointly leads the practice alongside Duane Keighran , who is noted for his ‘excellent industry knowledge’. Sydney-based Kate Craig is ‘excellent, knowledgeable and approachable’ and the team is ‘very responsive and turns work around quickly’. Seamus Gunson joined from Clyde & Co LLP.

DLA Piper's ‘excellent and responsive team shows initiative in solving problems efficiently and quickly’. Sydney-based Les Koltai has a significant international practice, advising both established and new inbound investors on high-value and complex acquisitions. Practice head Tim Mathers, noted for his ‘knowledge and approachability’, is well regarded for his expertise in retail, industrial and commercial transactions as well as development and commercial and retail leasing matters. Mathers assists the Destination Brisbane Consortium with its Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development. Astrid Beemster acted for Vicinity Centres on the sale of its Salamander Bay Centre and Terrace Central properties. Kate Howson and Caroline Najjar joined from Mills Oakley Lawyers and now-defunct TressCox Lawyers respectively.

Gadens Lawyers' practice head Andrew Kennedy acted for Australian Unity Office Fund on its acquisition of commercial premises; acquisitions are a particular strength of the team, which has a focus on the domestic market. Large-scale and stream leasing are also key areas of expertise, as are developments. Melbourne-based Lui Scipioni assists AMP with the $1.25bn redevelopments of Perth's Karrinyup and Garden City shopping centres, particularly with development issues and lease variations. Scipioni and Mark Woolley are both ‘excellent operators’ and part of a ‘highly recommended’ Melbourne-based team. Michael Bampton joined from now-defunct Henry Davis York, and Archie Smith from Kemp Strang. Brad Marland has been promoted to partner. Clients include Cbus Property, Lendlease and the Port of Brisbane.

Maddocks possesses ‘commercial as well as legal acumen’ and is noted for its ‘industry knowledge relating to complex property sales and leasing matters’. Infrastructure projects, social housing and revitalisation schemes are particular strengths. Marine Nincevic advises Development Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services on the Markham Estate public housing development. Nick Holuigue regularly handles inbound Asian investment and advised Singapore-based World Class Global on the acquisition and finance agreements for its development projects at Southbank Boulevard and A’Beckett Street with a combined value of £1.6bn. Holuigue is ‘regarded for his all-round capability and knowledge’ and jointly heads the practice alongside Nincevic and Bronwyn Badcock. ‘Industry leader’ Alicia Albury is also singled out. Pria O’Sullivan joined from King & Wood Mallesons.

Norton Rose Fulbright acts for domestic and overseas real estate investors with a focus on residential and mixed-use developments as well as agricultural transactions. Social infrastructure and renewable energy projects are areas of expertise, and following its merger with now-defunct firm Henry Davis York, it now also acts for an increasing number of government clients. Brisbane-based Michael French heads the Australian practice and Peter Trevaskis in Sydney is the firm’s global head of real estate. Michael McKee is ‘technically sound and prepared to take a commercial approach in relation to legal risks'.

Arnold Bloch Leibler is ‘the go-to firm for complex transactions’ and the team is noted for its ‘excellent service, short turnaround times, commercially astute advice and strong depth of knowledge’. Providing a one-stop shop service, it is adept at all stages of commercial property projects including sales, purchases, structuring, financing, development, leasing and stamp duty. It advised Highpoint Property Group on the A$680m sale of its 25% ownership of Highpoint Shopping Centre and acted for Qualitas Property Partners in a A$398m property portfolio acquisition. Joint practice heads Ken Gray and Jonathan Caplan are based in Melbourne and Sydney respectively. Tyrone McCarthy is also singled out. Notable clients include Charter Hall, Impact Investment Group and Intrapac Property.

Hall & Wilcox stands out for its ‘high level of personalised service, strong client engagement and ability to turn around matters quickly’. Melbourne-based Natalie Bannister is acting for an investment company on the development and leasing of an industrial village in Victoria; the team also advised on innovative green leases for the 40,000sqm, carbon-neutral mixed-use project. Hunter Development Corporation received advice on a A$200m Newcastle-based development to renew a heritage-listed building. The multidisciplinary practice covers acquisitions, disposals, leases and developments and is headed by the ‘straightforward, no-nonsense’ Bannister and John O’Kane. The team has been bolstered by the arrival of Katrina Reye and Anna Bailey following the firm's merger with Harris Wheeler Lawyers. Felicity Ford joined from a role in-house, and Rory O’Connor from Norton Rose Fulbright. Consultant Chris Hammond receives praise.

Ian Hazzard and Kristan Conlon jointly head the practice at McCullough Robertson, which has expanded in Sydney through the arrivals of Eva Vicic from Colin Biggers & Paisley and Marrianne Lloyd-Morgan from Hickey Lawyers. Hazzard is well regarded for work in the hotels, resorts and integrated communities sectors and Conlon is an expert in retail, commercial and industrial leasing, sales, acquisitions and structuring. The team frequently acts for overseas investors and developers and advised Chinese R&F Properties on its Central Gardens project in Queensland. The team also assists LEPC9, a joint venture of Lotus Capital Asset Management and Hong Kong-based Euro Properties, on the acquisition and proposed development of the site currently housing Channel 9's Sydney studios. Infrastructure projects matters are an additional strength of the team.

Mills Oakley is ‘excellent in every respect’ and advice is ‘always sound, commercial and to the point’. Melbourne-based practice head James Price leads a team that is ‘sufficiently large across the country to ensure smooth and efficient delivery’. The Melbourne practice has expertise in acting on mixed-use, commercial, industrial and residential developments and the Sydney team specialises in portfolio leasing. On the transactional side, it advised GPT Group on the $55m purchase of four industrial buildings and assisted Investa Property Group with the $251m sale of the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) building in Sydney. It also acted for Winten Property Group in relation to premises leased to Channel 9. Melbourne-based ‘problem-solver' Pablo Fernandez has been promoted to partner. Edwina Reynolds joined from a role in-house and is ‘very practical and understands her clients' needs’.

Thomson Geer's team is ‘diligent, attentive and responsive’ and provides an ‘excellent service’. Practice head Brett Hawkins joined from McCullough Robertson, along with Justin Madden and Adam Wallwork. The team further expanded through the arrivals of Sarah Rizk and Michael Liebich from Page Seager Lawyers and Minter Ellison respectively, as well as the promotion to partner of Chris Kelly. It excels at inbound investment work, leasing, urban renewals and frequently handles work in the non-profit and public sectors. Highlights included acting for Wanda Group on its A$1.5bn acquisition of Gold Fields House, Fairfax House and Rugby Club and the subsequent One Circular Quay redevelopment of the consolidated site. Sydney-based Melinda Graham displays ‘complete knowledge and understanding of the sector’.

Dentons provides a 'consistently exceptional service' and is noted for its ‘sound, practical advice and very good response times’. The practice has significantly expanded following its merger with DibbsBarker; Matthew Rollason, who ‘genuinely cares about his clients, going above and beyond to ensure a brilliant service', joined alongside David Sharpe, Mahoney Smith and Kristen Pike . The team covers the full spectrum of real estate matters and regularly acts for real estate investors and developers such as Bridgehill, Crown Group and Mirvac. Highlights included acting for Penrith Council on a ten-year development project creating 1,400 residential units, a public plaza and retail premises. AMP Capital receives advice on its 11,000sqm Quay Quarter Sydney redevelopment.

Gilbert + Tobin handles commercial and industrial property transactions and has particular expertise in relation to port and transport infrastructure projects. Commercial, retail and industrial leases are also focus areas and the team has expertise with tenant representation and lease-back transactions. Amanda Hempel heads the practice with Steven Mackay and Simon Lynch being the other names to note. It advised Carnival on a license for a planned cruise facility in Brisbane and Beach Energy on its A$1.58bn acquisition of Lattice Energy, which saw the team advising on pipeline, land tenure and leasing arrangements. Twynam Agricultural Group received advice on a sale encompassing agricultural properties, associated businesses and water rights.

Carolyn Chudleigh heads the ‘very capable’ practice at HFW alongside Richard Abbott and Thomas Wait. She possesses ‘a breadth of knowledge, in-depth industry experience and a very commercial approach’. Clients include inbound investors, vendors and purchasers, landlord and tenants and fund managers such as Folkestone, Eureka Core Fund 5 and Centuria Funds Management. On the transactional front, Chudleigh acted for Zone Q on its acquisition of a property formerly occupied by the Victorian police department. The hotel sector is an area of focus, with the team regularly assisting Royal Hotels. Additional strengths for the practice include mixed-use developments, development structuring, project financing, student accommodation and manufactured housing. Wait is one of six new arrivals to the team from Lander & Rogers. Stephanie Lambert, a specialist in major transactions and projects, has been promoted to partner.

Perth-based Jackson McDonald has ‘strong local knowledge of the Western Australian market’. Practice head Simon Moen ‘is passionate about real estate, with deep knowledge of how property deals get done’. The team is well regarded for urban development and regenerations, greenfield and brownfield developments, structured property transactions and real estate litigation, the latter of which is a particular focus for Matthew Reid. Moen advises Stockland, the largest sub-divider of residential land in Western Australia, on its local residential communities business. The group also assisted Eurowide Investments with its mixed-use development, VetroBlu, consisting of residential accommodations, a hotel and commercial tenancies. Ryan Chorley is ‘focused and determined to achieve the best outcome’ and Bianca McGoldrick is ‘known for her experience with seniors' housing developments and aged care-sector work’.

K&L Gates is ‘efficient and responsive’ and has ‘good depth of legal and market knowledge and experience’. The team advises on all aspects of commercial, industrial, retail and residential developments with particular expertise in urban renewals, community creations and infrastructure investments. Practice head Sandra Steele's team has been bolstered by Samuel Brown's arrival from Watson Mangioni; he is an expert in property funds and an ‘exceptionally talented real estate transactions lawyer’. Jennifer Degotardi ‘has broad experience in acting for government clients’. The team assisted Lendlease with the development of both a commercial office building at Darling Square and the 5-star Sofitel Sydney Darling Harbour hotel.

Lander & Rogers' practice head John Wells is ‘highly recommended for both his legal work and relationship skills’. The team specialises in the commercial, retail, industrial and residential sectors, acting for clients such as Kmart, Stockland and MAB Corporation. Highlights included acting for Keppel Corporation and ARA Asset Management, both Singapore-based clients, on substantial inbound investments and advising Bunnings Warehouse on a portfolio sale of four warehouses. In addition to transactions and overseas investments, leasing and developments are strengths for the team, which has been bolstered by the promotion of Peter Kritikides to partner and the arrival of Michael Loterzo from Rigby Cooke. Melbourne-based Lisa Gaddie is another name to note; she assists both government and private-sector clients with transactions and infrastructure developments.

Piper Alderman's ‘client-focussed’ practice is ‘outstanding’ and possesses ‘good depth beyond partner level’. The team is led by managing partner Tony Britten-Jones. Lexia Wilson acted for Charter Hall in the A$100m acquisition of three Brisbane industrial assets and assisted Tian An Australia with the development of 98 apartments spanning three residential buildings. David Burridge and Gordon Bell joined following the firm's merger with Norton Gledhill; Mark Askin, who has ‘in-depth sector knowledge and commercial insight’ and Adam Rinaldi have both been promoted to partner. The team has expertise with handling construction and development agreements, stamp duty and transactions, and regularly acts for local developers, real estate companies and government entities.

Melbourne-based Pointon Partners' clients include developers, tenants, landlords, investors and property fund managers. Ted Vlahos heads the team and has particular expertise in sales and acquisitions, developments and leasing. Other strengths for the practice include covenants and easements, capital gains tax and finance and funding arrangements. Directors David Mazzeo and Matthew Francke are key members of the team, as is special counsel Andrew Power.

Squire Patton Boggs provides ‘great advice’ and the team includes a number of recommended individuals, among them Fabio Fior in Darwin and Perth-based Carl Black, who possesses ‘thorough knowledge’. Aligned FM receives ongoing transactional advice, with recent work being the acquisition of three hotels and serviced apartment assets. Frasers Hospitality Trust instructed it on a hotel management agreement for Sydney's Novotel Darling Harbour hotel. In addition to hospitality and leisure projects, areas of expertise include developments, urban renewals and leases. Dannelle Howley and Rahul Parrab are the names to note in Sydney. Parrab acts for a number of international investors and developers on both domestic and outbound transactions and Howley regularly advises global online retailers and luxury goods providers.

Aaron Webb and Sue Maxwell jointly head the practice at Brisbane-based Thynne + Macartney, which acts for developers, land owners, overseas investors and public companies; it also assists clients in the religious and elderly care sectors. The team includes commercial leasing expert Cameron Graham and Mark Winn, who is experienced in infrastructure projects and retail and commercial developments. Maxwell has a particular focus on  transactions in the local government sector.

Launch reception

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