Bird & Bird > Sydney, Australia > Firm Profile

Bird & Bird

Australia > Data protection Tier 2

Bird & Bird works prolifically on cross-border data protection and security matters, operating as part of the firm’s global data practice. The team works with major domestic and multinational clients and offers significant expertise across Australian and international data regulations, advising on day-to-day compliance and broader strategic issues including impact assessments and data breach responses. Key names in the Sydney-based team include Sophie Dawson, who advises on incident response and privacy assessments for high-profile corporates and technology companies, and Hamish Fraser, who works with global platforms and cloud providers on data breaches, transfers and policies relating to personal information.

Other key lawyers:


‘Access to international resources, highly responsive lead partner in Australia in Sophie Dawson. In a rapidly changing field, this depth of expertise is highly valuable’

‘Sophie Dawson is excellent – highly responsive, very knowledgeable on data protection issues, constantly considering how the field is changing and what that may mean for us.’

‘Fantastic customer service and great communication style. They do not over service like many firms but rather understand what is needed and provide practical and to the point advice.’

‘Sophie Dawson has a wealth of knowledge on data privacy and communicates issues concisely. She proposes practical solutions to problems and seeks to avoid protracted legal disputes.’

Key clients

National Roads and Motorists Association Limited

Work highlights

  • Advised three major Australian media companies in relation to privacy matters.
  • Advised an online advertising company on advertising regulations.
  • Advised various clients on the privacy reforms proposed in the ACCC Digital Platforms Inquiry Report.

Australia > IT and telecoms Tier 2

Bird & Bird‘s Sydney-based technology and communications team advises global technology companies, major communications firms such as Vodafone, highly regulated industry clients and leading computer game companies. The practice has developed niche areas of expertise, including advising on satellites, space law and autonomous vehicles, providing contracting, regulatory and dispute resolution assistance in these areas. Hamish Fraser and Thomas Jones are co-leaders of the practice; Fraser’s focus is on technology contracts, advising on commercial and regulatory issues for information, communication and technology clients, and Jones is strong in telecoms regulatory matters, including on novel issues linked to satellite and space activities. Sophie Dawson has expertise in handling major disputes for media companies, whilst managing partner Shane Barber is strong in the knowledge economy sector. In September 2021, the team’s TMT disputes expertise was strengthened by the arrival of Julie Cheeseman from Ashurst.

Practice head(s):


‘Very broad and deep coverage of telecoms issues, extremely responsive, and very pragmatic. Strong relationships with regulators. Able to resolve problems quickly and effectively.’

‘Excellent team with a network of lawyers that are able to assist with a wide range of questions and issues both locally and in a wide range of other jurisdictions.’

‘Hamish Fraser is always available and able to come up with solutions suitable to my needs and resources within his team that are suitable to my work.’

‘Thomas Jones is a creative thinker, deeply knowledgeable, responsive, and very effective at communicating advice.’

‘Michael Stojanovic is very good at strategic thinking and helping mitigate risk, and terrific at managing complex multi-jurisdictional matters.’

Key clients

Vodafone Hutchinson Australia Pty Ltd

Speedcast International

Aircall SAS

Rockstar Games


Software AG Australia Pty Ltd

Work highlights

  • Acting for Vodafone Hutchison Australia and also the joint venture between Vodafone and Optus Mobile Pty Limited.
  • Acting for Speedcast International on an innovative communications project in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Advising Aircall on the roll out of an innovative call centre as a service solution in Australia, including providing both initial and ongoing regulatory advice.

Australia > Media and entertainment Tier 2

The media and entertainment group at Bird & Bird assists major media corporations, sports organisations, and computer game companies that are engaged in high-profile disputes. Led by media M&A expert Shane Barber and defamation authority Sophie Dawson, the team advises such clients as Nine Entertainment, Rugby Australia, and RockStar Games on a full range of matters. These include defamation, M&A, pre-publication advice, brand management, and sports sector transactions. The group is supported by Rich Hawkins, who handles sports law matters, media litigation specialist Joel Parsons, and Bridget Edghill, who advises on the implementation of global policies. All lawyers mentioned are based in Sydney.

Practice head(s):


‘The Bird & Bird Media and Entertainment practice has done a masterful job of quickly and effectively educating us as to the pitfalls and challenges presented by Australian media and defamation law, particularly with intermediary platform liability issues.’

‘Very experienced lawyers and access to international resources when needed. Both litigation and commercial issues can be dealt with, across the team.’

‘Sophie Dawson, Joel Parsons, and Rich Hawkins are all excellent and experienced practitioners. They are responsive, engaging, and good people to deal with.’

‘Sophie Dawson is a rock star. She and her colleagues are seemingly always available and have guided us superbly in terms of identifying business challenges as well as opportunities.’

Key clients

Nine Entertainment Co. Pty Ltd

Rugby Australia

City of Sydney

Take-Two Interactive Software Inc; RockStar Games, Inc

Epic Games Inc

Australian Police Journal

The Players’ Tribune

Sportsbet Pty Ltd


GlaxoSmithKline No

Lebara Mobile

Work highlights

  • Acted for two global computer game companies on proceedings to protect high-value intellectual property from threats emanating from Australia.
  • Advises two of Australia’s leading media companies on regulatory, privacy, and defamation matters, including acting for them on significant litigation.
  • Advising on a global thought leadership project for the privacy-compliant design of the evolving adtech landscape.  

Australia > Intellectual property Tier 3

The practice at Bird & Bird benefits from the firm’s international reach to act for major domestic and global clients. In addition to handling patent infringement proceedings and brand management, the group also provides pro bono IP services. Practice head and highly-regarded litigator Jane Owen has expertise in the life science and higher education sectors, and their associated IP issues. Lynne Lewis is adept at handling IP-related consumer and regulatory law; and Sophie Dawson is a TMT specialist litigator and advises on copyright issues in this area.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘Sophie Dawson is experienced and approachable. Very responsive to queries and happy to talk through issues. Access to international resources also appreciated.’

‘I’ve been very impressed with Lynne Lewis’s  professionalism, expertise and more importantly true partnership and understanding of our business needs.’

‘Broad expertise across commercial IP issues and litigious/contentious issues, which is unusual in a smallish team. Keen to offer us competitive pricing ’

‘The team at Bird & Bird has adapted to our numerous requests in the world of intellectual property on an ongoing basis – no request is ever too obscure for the team to navigate! It has been fabulous to partner with the team, and we are appreciative not only of the pragmatic-level advice, but also the brilliant training offered to.’

‘The people are the difference. With the team at Bird & Bird you have trust in their ability as well as honest and transparent communication.’

‘A great understanding of the industry I work in makes a difference to the advice I receive. Lynne Lewis is focused on getting the best outcome for my company.’

Key clients

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Australia

Wisetech Global

Boart Longyear

Globaltech Corporation

Dongkuk Steel

Howden Group

Brien Holden Vision Institute

Freedom Foods Group

Rakman / Trafalgar Group

Abbey Laboratories

Elixinol Global

Align Technology

Jubilant Generics

First Pharma

Troy Laboratories

Take-Two Interactive / Rock Star Games

Nine Network Australia

HCAFranchise Corporation


Ascott International Management (2001)

Macquarie University

KPMG Australia IP Holdings

The Wonderful Company

University of New South Wales

Target Brands

Vodafone Hutchinson Australia



Australian Literacy & Numeracy Foundation

Solfarina Run


Internet Services Australia 1

Body Fit Training Company

Work highlights

  • Advising GSK and Novartis in Federal Court proceedings brought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission relating to the branding of Osteo Gel and Voltaren Emulgel.
  • Advising Jubilant Generics in urgent Federal Court proceedings against Arrotex, Arrow Pharmaceuticals Generic Partners.
  • Representing Boart Longyear in a patent infringement/revocation claim brought against it and its subsidiary Globaltech by Australian Mud Company in relation to downhole core orientation equipment used in the mining industry.

Australia > Dispute resolution: litigation Tier 4

Bird & Bird has particular strength in disputes in the technology sector, as well as in the media, telecoms and intellectual property arenas. Sophie Dawson leads the Sydney-based team and is experienced in technology and media-related disputes. Jane Owen and Lynne Lewis have IP expertise.

Practice head(s):


‘Very experienced media litigation team which is innovative on pricing structures as a way of attracting more work. Focussed on avoiding/resolving litigation.’

‘Bird & Bird has a unique practice specialising in technology disputes, and therefore has particular expertise in complex technical matters.’

‘A thorough service across all aspects of a case; intelligent and constructive engagement; sensible advice.’

‘Sophie Dawson is highly efficient, knowledgeable, and easy to work with.’

‘Sophie Dawson and Joel Parsons are both very engaged and engaging, highly responsive, very knowledgeable and provide good value advice.’

‘Sophie Dawson has great strategic instincts, and is very client orientated.’

Key clients

DXC Technology Group

Take Two Interactive Software Group

Warrego Energy Ltd

Regius Resources Group Ltd

Verseon Corporation

BlueInc Group

Sumo Australia Ltd

Epic Games Inc


Dongkuk Steel

Howden Group Limited

Brien Holden Vision Institute Limited

Nine Entertainment

Hewlett-Packard Australia

Work highlights

  • Acting for Take-Two in proceedings concerning unauthorised mods written for the Grand Theft Auto V game.
  • Acting for three companies within the BlueInc Group of insurance companies (Select AFSL Pty Ltd, BlueInc Services Pty Ltd and Insurance Marketing Services) and the group managing director, Russell Howden.
  • Representing DXC Technology and Hewlett-Packard Australia Pty Limited in relation to complex and technical litigation against Optus in the New South Wales Supreme Court, regarding a project concerning Optus’ wholesale telephony systems.

Australia > Labour and employment Tier 5

The Sydney-based employment practice at Bird & Bird acts for both local and international clients, predominantly in the technology and communication sectors, on contentious and non-contentious mandates. The group is particularly adept at handling large, cross-border projects as well as enforcing non-competition and non-solicitation clauses in employment contracts. Kristy Peacock-Smith is head of the team.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘The best part about Kristy Peacock Smith is that she always makes herself available to our needs. And gives practical advice and sound risk assessment.’

‘We have worked with B&B Australia in a very delicate process and they were extremely cautious with every detail, always on top of things and alert to deadlines. They supported us with a calm and positive approach and we built a strong case together.’

‘We worked closely and specially with Kristy Peacock-Smith (Partner), but also Leila Moddel (Special Counsel). Kristy and her team were always very kind and gentle, extremely professional and dedicated to the tasks. They gave very good and substantiated advice, with their focus in the best interests of our company. They are not the kind of company that says yes just to give comfort to the client – they will always show the good and bad scenarios, so the client can take an informed decision.’

Key clients

Australian Institute of Company Directors

Automation Anywhere


China Southern Airlines


DXC Technology


ServiceNow Australia Pty Ltd

Electronics for Imaging, Inc.

Elixinol Global Limited



Currency Select

Remote Technology Inc.


Professional Footballers Australia Inc

Domo Australia Pty Ltd

Dronedeploy, Inc.

Software AG Australia Pty Ltd


Work highlights

  • Advised China Southern Airlines on a major reduction in force in its Australian cabin crew, as a result of the severe impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on all international airlines.
  • Representing VisionBox in proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, making an application for an interlocutory injunction, in order to prevent a key employee commencing work at the client’s key competitor.
  • Acting for Immarsat on the legality of the introduction of a diversity questionnaire for its employee population.

Australia > Corporate and M&A Tier 6

Bird & Bird advises primarily on cross-border transactions in close collaboration with its Asia-Pacific and global teams. The practice focuses on key sectors, including the life sciences, healthcare, technology and retail industries, using sector groups to provide specialised expertise in each area. The firm also advises mid-sized domestic businesses on transactions. The team is led from Sydney by Shane Barber, who focuses on the communications and media industries.

Practice head(s):


Very commercial and have access to offices across Europe which make cross-jurisdictional matters very easy to manage.

Key clients

9Spokes International Limited

Regius Resources

Bacchus Resources Pty Ltd

Experience Co Ltd


Elixinol Global Limited

Wagestream Holdings Limited (UK)

Wirecard AG

SPX Corporation

Work highlights

  • Advised SPX Corporation on its acquisition of the Sealite Group.
  • Advised Australian Wirecard entities (one solvent, one insolvent) on the complex corporate and regulatory issues affecting them in light of the parent’s insolvency.
  • Advised Elixinol Global Limited on the agreement to acquire Cannacare Health GmbH.

The firm: With over 1,200 lawyers in 28 offices worldwide, Bird & Bird excels in managing complex projects for clients across the globe with a seamless one-firm approach.

The firm’s Australian office operates a collaborative integrated practice with the firm’s other offices and co-operation firms across the Asia-Pacific region. With offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore and Sydney, the firm is well placed to advise Australian and New Zealand corporations on inbound and outbound investment opportunities with leading trading partners.

The firm’s Australian practice not only serves its clients across Australia and New Zealand, but also forms an integral part of its global offering and strengthens the firm’s practice in the Asia Pacific region.

Areas of practice: With a team of 40 legal specialists the firm’s local knowledge is key to its success – especially when the firm’s work involves multiple jurisdictions. The firm’s lawyers in Australia are widely recognised by clients and peers as being among the leading practitioners in their areas of expertise, which include: communications, competition, corporate and commercial, mergers and acquisitions, dispute resolution, information technology, e-commerce and media, infrastructure and real estate, intellectual property and international HR services.

The firm’s Sydney office undertakes cross-border and multi-jurisdictional work for some of the highest profile global and national corporations operating in the automotive, communications, electronics, energy and utilities, food and beverage, information technology, life science and healthcare, media, entertainment, sport and financial services industries.

Corporate and commercial
Data protection and privacy
Dispute resolution
Information technology and e-commerce
Infrastructure and real estate
Intellectual property
International HR services
Life science and healthcare
Number of lawyers : 1,200
at this office : 40
Contacts : Shane Barber, managing partner (