Event Report

On March 19th, The Legal 500 was delighted to return to Sydney to host the GC Summit Australia 2024. This gathering brought together distinguished general counsel and law firms from across Australia for a day of knowledge exchange. Throughout the event, attendees engaged in insightful discussions and explored cutting-edge legal topics through a series of compelling panel sessions.

The Summit commenced with an opening address by SooJin Yoon (Jarden Investment Bank), who highlighted the pivotal role of The Legal 500 in providing global visibility to legal practitioners and helping general counsel in selecting representation.

The first panel, moderated by Trevor Withane of Ironbridge Legal, set the stage by presenting notable trends in litigation for 2024. Panellists Laura Coleclough (Ironbridge Legal), Kelly Rigby (Grant Thornton), Gihan Wijeratne (Ingenico), and Tony de Govrik (Probus South Pacific) delved into diverse topics including ESG considerations, cyber security, data breaches, and strategic litigation risk management.

In the following session, Dennis Miralis from Nyman Gibson Miralis delivered a gripping presentation on bribery and corruption trends facing companies in Australia, followed by insightful questions from our senior editor, Allan Cohen (The Legal 500).

Adrian Amer and Hannah Biggins, both partners at Allens, hosted the following discussion. Alongside Simon Lewin (Vocus Group) and Richard Bell (AUB Group), they explained how the patterns of completing M&As are beginning to change around the world. Their discussion included the impact on M&A of megatrends such as the rise of ESG, regulatory and compliance focus and international tensions, changing deal dynamics and power balances, and the ever-expanding role of general counsel in M&A transactions.

The fourth panel was presented by K&L Gates. Leeanne Sharp (Nutromics) joined Stephen Hardy and Leila Moddel (K&L Gates) and asked them questions about how the Australian employment landscape has undergone some seismic shifts in recent years. They provided crucial information on regulatory changes and technological developments reshaping the workforces in Australia and beyond. In their conversation, they commented on the recent amendments to the Fair Work Act, provided insights into potential legislative changes, and explored the evolving role of AI in employment dynamics.

Nicholas Boyle (DLA Piper) then came up on stage and explored the transformative impact of generative AI, cyber threats, and data protection regulations on businesses, emphasising the importance of proactive risk management strategies.

The final session, moderated by Ana-Athanasia Dervenis (Brookfield Properties), Michelle Antonio (Resolution Institute and the Law Society of Western Australia), Ashley Kerr (BetCloud), and Michael Guilday (Sydney Fish Market), offered valuable insights into navigating the dynamic legal landscape and fostering successful partnerships between private practice and in-house counsel.

Ami Spira (Domain) concluded the Summit by summarising key takeaways from the day’s discussions, drawing from her own experiences.

The Summit concluded on a high note, with attendees continuing discussions during a networking session over drinks and canapés, fostering valuable connections and collaborations.

We extend our sincere gratitude to our esteemed speakers and panel sponsors, including Allens, DLA Piper, Ironbridge Legal, K&L Gates, and Nyman Gibson Miralis, whose support contributed to the success of this event in Sydney.

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