Firm Profile > Baker McKenzie > Melbourne , Australia

Baker McKenzie

Intellectual property Tier 1

Baker McKenzie’s IP team handles the full scope of issues relating to the protection, enforcement and exploitation of IP rights for its clients. The group is led from Sydney; Andrew Stewart and Richard Gough are the joint practice heads and the department also functions as an integral part of the global network. On the contentious side, team members are noted for some precedent-setting work; Stewart led a team on an online content protection case brought pursuant to the Copyright Act. Elisabeth White leads the firm’s national healthcare group, the firm has a notable presence in the healthcare sector. It also has deep expertise in industries such as TMT and consumer goods. Robert Arnold, Jonathan Flintoft, Byron Angelopulo and senior associate Chantal Savage are also noted.

Media and entertainment Tier 1

Baker McKenzie’s notably broad offering encompasses media-related litigation, defamation, transactions, pre-publication work, regulatory issues, M&A work and content distribution. Sydney-based Andrew Stewart is a star name in the field and represents a number of clients in the free to air, subscription, IPTV and radio broadcasting industries with extensive experience in handling IP, publication and regulatory matters. He heads the practice which is well regarded in the developing arena of online copyright and was appointed by the Motion Picture Association of America and Village Roadshow to act on first of its kind litigation against various ISPs, the intent of which is to block access to numerous copyright infringing websites.

Competition and trade Tier 2

At Baker McKenzie, Georgina Foster leads the national competition and regulation practice, which handles a wide range of matters such as local merger clearances and global corporate transactions, and investigations and competition law enforcement work. The department’s client roster includes market-leading consumer goods and luxury brands, as well as digital platforms, among others. Notably, the group advises the regulator in relation to enforcement proceedings; Melbourne-based dispute resolution partner Alex Wolff is a standout practitioner in this regard, as well as in the criminal cartel space. Working closely with Wolff is special counsel Helen Joyce, who is also noted. Recently promoted senior associate Rowan Kendall is a key figure at the office in Perth. The team has expanded through two new arrivals: Lynsey Edgar came to the Sydney office from Dentons, while senior associate Elizabeth Sarofim joined from Ashurst in October 2018.

Dispute resolution Tier 2

Baker McKenzie has established a strong presence in the contentious insolvency space, where it acts on debt proceedings across the many levels of the judicial system. Melbourne-based department head Alex Wolff is a particular standout figure in this regard and also leads the firm’s insolvency and reconstruction group. Helen Joyce works alongside Wolff and has expertise in handling competition and consumer law claims, among other matters. The group also has the ability to handle technology disputes, representing both customers and suppliers of technological goods and services. Other sources of work come through clients seeking assistance with regulatory investigation, as well as international arbitration, particularly in the construction and natural resources sectors. Jo Delaney leads the arbitration group. Andrew Salgo, Mark Chapple and Maria O’Brien are also key names to note.

IT and telecoms Tier 2

Baker McKenzie's full service TMT practice advises on IT procurement and outsourcing together with regulatory regimes, cyber security and privacy issues, SaaS and a range of e-commerce matters. This is combined with corporate/commercial and IP expertise. Andrew Stewart heads the team and Anne-Marie Allgrove is recognised for her skillfulness on the the IT front - especially security and data protection  matters and issues concerning the dark web. Adrian Lawrence  and Patrick Fair (who heads the firm's cyber security practice) are other key practitioners as is 'exceptional' corporate partner Andrea Kennedy who acts for clients such as  Verizon (previously Yahoo!)

Labour and employment Tier 2

Baker McKenzie has been advising its enviable client roster of institutional clients on a number of sensitive 'me too' investigations and routinely carries out proactive regulatory compliance programmes. The practice has also handled a number of industrial relations matters such as Unilever's high-profile termination of its Minto ice cream-making site enterprise agreement. Also notable is the firm's work on modern slavery, senior director and executive issues, harassment, healthcare and migration matters. Michael Michalandos spearheads the practice from Sydney where Paul Brown and Spiro Mellos are also based. In Melbourne, the key names to note are Sean Selleck and Kellie-Ann McDade who was recently promoted to partner. Stephen Hardy was also made up to partner in Sydney.

Tax Tier 2

Baker McKenzie is home to a very highly-rated indirect tax practice and is also engaged domestically and internationally on planning, income, stamp duty, land, GST, transfer pricing, restructuring and takeovers, disputes, wealth management and employment tax matters. Headed by John Walker, the team includes Amrit MacIntyre who has a particular focus on the property and energy sectors including the renewable and alternative energy spaces. Simone Bridges is a standout name for cross-border GST and duty matters while Miles Hurst regularly advises offshore funds on their inbound Australian investments. Healthcare and finance are also industries of focus for the team. Named lawyers are based in Sydney.    

Banking and finance Tier 3

A year of notable change for Baker McKenzie’s practice saw debt capital market specialist Duncan McGrath take over the role of practice head from Sean Rush following his departure from the partnership, George Harris’ retirement, the promotion of David Cooper to partner, and the recruitment of Alastair Gourlay from Clifford Chance. Building on the firm’s international capabilities, the Australian team has also increased its focus on the domestic market, particularly in infrastructure and real estate finance matters; the group also has expertise acting for Chinese banks, handling renewable project financing transactions and acquisition financing, securitisation and derivatives work. Corporate finance expert Bryan Paisley and Melbourne-based acquisition and property finance specialist Chuong Nguyen  are also recommended.

Construction Tier 3

Baker McKenzie is highly regarded for aviation, mining, oil & gas, road, water and utilities, healthcare, university and real estate projects. The team oversees the full life-cycle of construction works from project bids and contract management through to disputes and adjudication. In Melbourne, Anthony Whelan heads the department which includes recently promoted partner David Cooper, an expert on project finance in the energy and renewables sector.

Corporate and M&A Tier 3

Based in Melbourne and Sydney respectively, Richard Lustig heads the M&A group and Ben McLaughlin leads the corporate markets function at Baker McKenzie. McLaughlin is also the global head of the firm's healthcare offering and Steven Glanz works with the team on all aspects of corporate finance. The team is known for its skilled handling of multi-jurisdictional work; acting on public and private mergers and acquisitions involving the Asia Pacific market and beyond.

Energy (transactions and regulatory) Tier 3

Baker McKenzie maintains a reputation for its work on climate change law and international carbon markets. This complements an energy practice that has a strong focus on renewable and clean energy, which is led by practice head Paul Curnow. Sean Duffy  is head of the energy, mining and infrastructure group and Zoe Hilson is another senior partner who handles work relating to thermal energy projects and renewable energy. The team also handles work in the conventional energy sectors and provides the gamut of corporate and M&A expertise, as well as finance and tax. Sean Rush has left the firm and Christopher Saxon has retired.

Project finance Tier 3

Baker McKenzie has a strong focus on the financing of renewable energy projects and also has a dedicated renewable energy and clean technology industry group. A number of the banking and finance team are dedicated to energy financing matters and it acts for a global roster of investors in this sector. Anthony Whelan and Michael Kunstler head the practice and dual qualified Sean Duffy (Australia and New York) acts for sponsors, financiers, contractors and governments on large-scale transactions, restructurings and project financings. David Cooper is also a name to note for his broad financing experience.

Real estate Tier 3

Baker McKenzie’s ‘approachable and helpful team’ is renowned for its work on residential and mixed-use developments, inbound overseas investment and transaction. The practice is home to a dedicated hotels and tourism practice and also possesses extensive experience in representing clients from the luxury brand, retail, international corporate and financial institution industries. Operating from Melbourne, Bruce Webb is hailed as an ‘excellent supervising partner’ and heads the practice alongside Sydney-based David Jones whose specialist knowledge includes funds investment in the commercial property and hotels sectors, both in Australia and the wider Asia Pacific region.

Regulatory compliance and investigations Tier 3

Baker McKenzie is well versed in acting on multi-jurisdictional anti-corruption and bribery assignments, white-collar fraud actions as well as regulatory matters in the healthcare and financial services sectors. Georgie Farrant  heads the practice and is an expert on areas including whistle blowing, anti-money laundering and regulator investigations. Her team also routinely assists clients with anti-bribery and anti-corruption risk management, from both a domestic and international perspective. Also based in Sydney is recommended senior associate Andrew Emmerson; he is developing a broad practice with niche expertise in import control and trade sanctions.

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 3

Baker McKenzie’s restructuring and insolvency practice is singled out in the market for restructuring mandates and is notably active in the mining and resources sectors; it recently advised PwC as administrators of Laguna Gold on its voluntary administration and liquidation. The group is also noted for its handling of contentious matters - it regularly handles complex banking litigation work, and cross-border matters, leveraging the firm’s strong US capabilities. Maria O’Brien leads the practice and also heads the Asia Pacific working group; David Walter focuses on the infrastructure and mining sectors, and Peter Lucarelli handles restructuring and insolvency disputes.

Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) Tier 4

Sean Duffy and Mathieu Hanaut co-lead the energy, mining and infrastructure practice at Baker McKenzie. Duffy has broad expertise in the energy and natural resources sectors, including transactions in mining and gas infrastructure matters. The team's work includes advising client on transactions relating to nickel and coal mines.

Project development Tier 4

Sean Duffy and Mathieu Hanaut oversee Baker McKenzie's energy, mining and infrastructure work - handling many large-scale domestic and cross-border transactions in those sectors. Duffy acts for sponsors, financiers, contractors and governments on sales, acquisitions, restructurings and project financings and Hanaut advises international companies on their investments and operations in the resources sector in Asia-Pacific and beyond. Zoe Hilson also has extensive experience in energy infrastructure projects.

Capital markets

Craig Andrade heads up the practice at Baker McKenzie, which primarily focuses on the equity space; Duncan McGrath is the key contact for DCM work and was also recently promoted to head of the firm’s banking group. On the equity side, the team is a notable choice in the market for underwriter clients including UBS, Macquarie Capital and Morgan Stanley; the group also has experience on the issuer side. The team also utilises the firm’s global network to assist with international mandates and fields individuals with US and international securities law capabilities; Andrew Reilly is the key US securities specialist. David Holland moved to Hogan Lovells and Lauren Magraith moved in-house at Gresham Partners.

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When It Comes to People

We are committed to diversity and inclusion in our people, support and development of their talent, and dignity and safety in our workplaces. Baker McKenzie also is a signatory to the UN Global Compact, a voluntary global initiative in which we have committed to align our policies and operations with ten principles in the areas of human rights, fair labor, the environment and anti-corruption.

Diversity and Inclusion

Baker McKenzie was founded on the idea of diversity. From our earliest days, we have strived to nurture a respectful, inclusive environment that encourages diverse individuals to thrive personally and professionally as full contributors to the success of the Firm and the clients we serve. We do not permit or tolerate discrimination in our workplaces. This means:

  • All personnel decisions must be: a) respectful of differences among employees and potential employees, b) based on factors relevant to their ability to perform the work they are, or would be expected to do, and c) in accordance with all applicable laws and regulations.
  • This includes decisions related to the recruiting, hiring, assignment, compensation, training and development, promotion and dismissal of personnel, as well as other terms and conditions of employment.
  • Applicable local laws, which we follow, vary, but differences that we strive to overlook in personnel decisions include race, color, creed, religion, citizenship, national origin, ethnicity and/or cultural background, age, sex, gender, gender identity/expression, sexual orientation, marital status, pregnancy and disability.

While our approach to diversity and inclusion is multi-faceted, three areas where we have specific policies are:

Ethnic & Cultural Diversity

Ethnicity means different things in different countries, so a single approach to ethnic and cultural diversity is ill-advised. This is why we build practices from the ground up, taking local cultural sensitivities into consideration wherever we practice law. Despite the challenges, we have a strong desire to address a lack of equity around the world and encourage each of our offices to define race/ethnic diversity in a way that suits their local culture, politics, clients and business environment.

Gender Diversity

We believe women must be leaders at all levels of our Firm. We seek to foster women leaders in our senior global roles but we are also focusing on ensuring that women are leaders of our most significant client relationships. Since 2012, we have adopted a gender policy designed to encourage the recruitment and retention of more women, and provide greater opportunities and support for women to assume leadership roles. At the partner level, we have set gender diversity aspirational targets – we are working to ensure that women comprise at least 40% of local/national partners and at least 30% of principals and those in leadership positions.

LGBT Diversity

Everyone should feel comfortable in the workplace, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We are committed to creating and maintaining an open and supportive working environment. This includes equal opportunity for advancement and development within the firm regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and the equal provision of benefits to same and opposite sex partners or spouses.

We have made great strides in encouraging equality in our Firm and in engaging in these crucial conversations on a global basis. Our seven basic principles include:

Principle 1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality;
Principle 2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination;
Principle 3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers;
Principle 4. Promote education, training and professional development for women;
Principle 5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women;
Principle 6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy; and
Principle 7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.