Firm Profile > Phi Finney McDonald > Melbourne, Australia

Phi Finney McDonald
Level 3, 325 Flinders Lane
VIC 3000

Australia > Dispute resolution: class actions Tier 3

The plaintiff-focused team at Phi Finney McDonald acts for pension schemes, private investors, sovereign wealth funds and investment platforms from the Asia Pacific, North America and Europe. The practice is particularly strong in acting for litigation funders in shareholder class actions. The team is co-led by Ben Phi and Odette McDonald in Melbourne, and Tim Finney in Sydney.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘We have observed a high standard of client care and significant expertise in class action litigation. We have also been impressed by the firm’s commitment to culturally appropriate engagement with plaintiff communities and an ethical approach to structuring litigation to respond to clients’ needs.’

‘Unrivalled class action expertise. The team you want with you in the trenches – they know the corporate defendant playbook inside out.’

‘The people at PFM that I worked with were different from other practitioners because of the level of commitment and dedication they brought to the work. Brett Spiegel and Ben Phi are exceptional – strategic thinkers with a real commitment to their clients.’

‘Both their legal and strategic acumen is second to none, with a full service offering on class action matters.’

‘Ben Phi has the perfect all-round mix of commercial acumen and technical strength. Odette McDonald is super dedicated and fully immerses herself in her case work, living and breathing each step of the claim.’

‘Tim Finney is in the detail of claims, provides excellent strategic and legal advice in relation to class action matters and is a clear and concise communicator. A true pleasure to work with.’

‘Brett Spiegel is a class action specialist, with a wide range of experience, both domestically and internationally. He is always available and is extremely responsive. Brett has been willing to dedicate significant pro bono hours towards important public interest matters. He is client-focussed and comes up with creative legal solutions to seemingly impossible problems that arise on a case.’

‘Ben Phi, Odette McDonald and Tim Finney are well-regarded for their astuteness and legal expertise, as well as their commerciality, professionality and courtesy. Together they have led many class actions with successful results. I have also worked closely with principal lawyers Roop Sandhu, Brett Spiegel and Jeremy Zimet, who are all outstanding lawyers and assets to the firm.’

Key clients

Californian State Teachers Retirement System

Teachers Retirement System of Texas

Massachusetts PRIM

Colorado PERA

  • Founded in 2017 by leading class action lawyers
  • Retained and publicly-backed by largest institutional investors in the world
  • First firm to be awarded sole carriage of an Australian class action in a contested ‘beauty contest’, with competing claims/firms permanently stayed

Phi Finney McDonald is one of Australia’s leading class action law firms, and has offices in Sydney and Melbourne and in London.

The firm specialises in complex and large-scale litigation, with a focus on shareholder and environmental class actions. Its founders previously led the class actions practice at one of Australia’s largest plaintiff firms. With over fifty years’ litigation experience and thirty-five years of specialist class actions experience, the firm’s founders have achieved over half a billion dollars in class action settlements.

In its shareholder class action practice, Phi Finney McDonald has established the trust and confidence of some of the largest institutional investors in the world. The firm’s repeat clients include some of the largest and most influential pension schemes, private investors, sovereign wealth funds, and investment platforms across the Asia Pacific, North America and Europe.

In a highly competitive market, Phi Finney McDonald won contested carriage motions for lead counsel status in high profile class actions against BHP Billiton and GetSwift. The firm draws on this expertise to drive significant public interest actions on behalf of groups seeking access to justice in landmark human rights matters, representing First Nations Leaders against the Commonwealth of Australia to establish a pioneering climate litigation model in Australian courts.

Phi Finney McDonald is unique in the Australian market. While its lawyers have the experience and relationships of a large law firm, they operate within a lean, boutique structure with minimal overheads, and a purpose-built IT platform. This allows the firm to provide top quality legal services at a lower cost than its rivals.

The firm has received judicial praise for developing innovative litigation funding structures that reduce costs and improve client returns.

The firm places a particular emphasis on corporate governance and environmental and social responsibility. It actively seeks to frame class actions so as to produce the greatest possible improvement in corporate behaviour, reflecting the stewardship.

Department Name Email Telephone
Class Actions Ben Phi +61 3 9134 7100
Class Actions Tim Finney +61 3 9134 7100
Class Actions Odette McDonald +61 3 9134 7100
Directors : 4
Principal Lawyers : 6
Special Counsel : 3
Senior Associates : 4
Associates : 5
Lawyers : 8
Administration : 11
International Offices : London: 25 Southampton Buildings Holborn, WC2A 1AL, Tel: +44 203 709 9315, Email:

Phi Finney McDonald has a London office specialising in collective and complex litigation in England & Wales, with a focus on shareholder class actions. Our expertise includes:

Shareholder and securities investment

Investor claims involve complex financial issues and require specialist expertise. We provide clients with the experience and endurance to take on the largest companies.

The firm’s clients include some of the largest and most influential pension schemes, private investors, sovereign wealth funds, and investment platforms across Europe, the Middle East, North America, and the Asia Pacific.

We have strong and enduring relationships with litigation funders, developed over many years, that enable us to obtain the funding our clients need to fight cases from a position of strength.

Competition and antitrust

We act for victims of competition law breaches by bringing actions for damages caused by:

  • price-fixing and cartels
  • retail price maintenance
  • other anti-competitive agreements
  • abuse of dominance

Class actions and other collective competition law claims involve complex economic evidence and procedural issues and require the right expertise. Our experience includes bringing the first opt-out class action in the UK.

Data protection and privacy

We act for people whose personal data has been breached or misused by private or public bodies, particularly in collective actions. The security and misuse of personal data are critical issues today. Private and public organisations collect vast amounts of personal data, but do not always protect it adequately or use it ethically and transparently. The misuse or breach of personal data can be extremely damaging, financially and emotionally, and can even be life changing. We provide clients with the skills and expertise to take on complex data protection claims.

Consumer law and product liability

We fight for people who have been injured by dangerous products or sold defective products through mis-selling and fraud. This includes claims for:

  • personal injuries caused by pharmaceuticals, medical devices and other products
  • people who have bought high value consumer products such as cars because of misrepresentations or fraud
  • people who have bought homes affected by serious building defects.

Our experience includes acting in some of the most significant product liability cases in the last decade. This includes acting in group claims for people born with congenital malformations caused by the drug thalidomide and for people who bought Volkswagen vehicles containing emissions test cheating software.

Fraud and financial product mis-selling

We represent people who have been mis-sold or negligently advised in relation to high value financial and investment products such as interest rate swaps, insurance, property and other complex investments. This includes claims against:

  • banks and insurers
  • investment companies
  • independent investment advisors
  • accountants, solicitors and insurance brokers

Our experience ranges from multimillion-pound claims by small and medium-sized businesses that were mis-sold interest rate hedging products by major banks, to claims for groups of investors who were fraudulently sold international property investments.