Australia 2019 – GC Powerlist

Australia 2019

Adam Cooper

General counsel and company secretary | Flinders Ports Holdings

Transport and infrastructure

‘Adam Cooper is a very experienced commercial general counsel and company secretary, heavily relied on by the executive at Flinders Ports Holdings, not just in respect of legal matters, but...

#GCPowerlist Australia 2019

Adrian Goss

General counsel, Australia and New Zealand | Bauer Media

Sports and media

What are the most important transactions and litigations that you have been involved in during the last two years? Bauer has undertaken a number of small asset divestments over the...

#GCPowerlist Australia 2019

Andrew Finch

General counsel and group executive, office of the CEO | Qantas Airways

Transport and infrastructure

#GCPowerlist Australia 2019

Andrew Selim

General counsel and company secretary | Home Consortium

Industrial and real estate

What are the most important transactions and litigations that you have been involved in during the last two years? I played a critical role in one of the most significant...

#GCPowerlist Australia 2019

Anna Lozynski

General counsel | L’Oréal Australia and New Zealand

Consumer Products

What does being “legally innovative” mean to you? Being legally innovative is a daily attitude and a practice. It means adopting a progressive mindset. It means being focused on the...

#GCPowerlist Australia 2019

Editor Message

Since first being published as The Corporate Counsel 100, The Legal 500’s GC Powerlist series has grown exponentially since its beginnings in 2013. It started by covering four of the world’s most established legal markets, and whilst the core objective of the publication – highlighting the most capable, outstanding and innovative in-house counsel in a jurisdiction – has remained the same, the reach and scope of the GC Powerlist has since become almost unrecognisable. Now present in a vast array of jurisdictions and with a portfolio of 70 unique editions, the GC Powerlist series has gone from strength to strength and has been firmly established as the ‘go-to’ title that assesses and features leading corporate counsel across the globe.

Not content to rest on our laurels, we at The Legal 500 are evolving the GC Powerlist series even further, deepening our commitment to ensuring not only the widest geographical coverage, but to highlight and explore issues and challenges at the forefront of the minds of leading in-house lawyers. Therefore, this and future editions of the GC Powerlist will have a very different look to their predecessors. Instead of profiling individual counsel or in-house legal teams, more incisive insights from in-house thought leaders on the topics of the day will be featured extensively throughout our new look GC Powerlist publications.

This new look entails the publication of Q&A transcripts regarding legal and business challenges, comment pieces on specific industry or regulatory affairs, more detailed analysis as to where the market is heading and content related to soft-skills, work ethic and business relationships that general counsel utilise. This new format will not only provide more thought leadership and insight, but provide more clarity on what is driving legal business forward in each market that we cover.

This brings me to Australia. I have personally covered the Australian in-house legal market for almost five years, which has allowed me to become familiar with the deep pool of in-house legal talent that exists across various industries and levels of seniority within the country. If my work on this year’s Guide to Australia’s Rising Stars provided evidence of Australia’s immense in-house talent at a more junior level, then the standard of this year’s GC Powerlist: Australia serves to confirm the quality and depth of the country’s senior in-house counsel in the present.

It was my pleasure to speak to and extensively interview Australia-based counsel spanning Fortune Global 500 companies, domestic business titans and organisations at the cutting edge of technology and the future of work, each with their own priorities and challenges. I would like to thank our sponsors – Gilbert + Tobin, Johnson Winter & Slattery and McCullough Robertson – for supporting this publication. I’d also like to thank our extensive network of law firm partners and in-house counsel in the region whose opinions we canvassed during the course of the research phase. Of course, feedback is valuable and welcomed, so if there are any comments or suggestions please feel free to get in touch with these.

Last but not least, I would like to congratulate all those featured in this year’s list. Their selection means they have been identified as in-house counsel who are amongst the standard bearers of the profession, and as specialists who confront and manage commercial and legal challenges in a way that marks them as market leaders. They are not only talented legal practitioners, but instrumental partners to and crucial components of their respective organisations, demonstrably helping them drive success and move business forward.

Editor |

Sponsor Message

Gilbert+Tobin

Gilbert+Tobin logo

Johnson Winter & Slattery

Johnson Winter & Slattery logo

With significant regulatory changes coming into effect and the spotlight staying firmly on culture, ethics and one’s social licence to operate, compliance remains a critical issue for Australian businesses.

Regulators have had a political mandate to be more active, which has created an increasingly sharper focus on sustainable and socially acceptable business conduct, with unethical behaviour being publically pursued and punished.

The Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry revealed sweeping shortcomings among many industry participants sparking political and regulatory action to restore trust in the financial sector. Regulators now have the resources to increase investigative activity, resulting in an increase in prosecutions and civil penalty proceedings. The publicity surrounding these activities means corporate behaviour, culture and compliance remain a key focus for boards and senior management across all sectors.

The Australian Government has also announced new legislation to better expose corporate misconduct with proposed reforms to enhance protection and rights for whistleblowers and a comprehensive review of Australia’s white-collar crime laws.

The increased scrutiny on Australian businesses is throwing more challenges at general counsel who are already operating across an ever broadening spectrum of business issues. The role of the general counsel today is not just about delivering legal advice. They are also responsible for compliance, business risk, governance, operations and regulatory issues; bringing legal knowledge and business acumen to help businesses navigate through future risks and opportunities.

Like the private sector, many general counsel are also feeling the pressure to do more with less as they balance a tightening budget and expanding mandate. It is therefore no surprise that technology and innovation are increasingly becoming a priority for general counsel looking for ways to deliver quality legal work faster and more cost effectively. Technology will free in-house lawyers to focus on business critical issues, leaving the low value legal work behind. This is likely to serve as a further catalyst for the general counsel role to continue evolving to be less about legal advice and more focused on strategically steering the business forward.

The Legal 500 GC Powerlist is one of the few industry directories that recognises the talent of Australia’s corporate counsel as they navigate these industry changes. As a proud sponsor of the 2019 GC Powerlist, Johnson Winter & Slattery is pleased to play a small part in highlighting the critical role in-house counsel play in the achievements of their organisations. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with our clients as we both seek to deliver greater value to the business community. Congratulations to those ranked in this year’s The Legal 500 GC Powerlist.

About Johnson Winter & Slattery

Johnson Winter & Slattery is an independent national Australian law firm with over 60 partners and offices across Australia. We advise major Australian and international corporations and investment funds on their most challenging transactions and disputes within Australia and surrounding regions.

An appropriate blend of legal know-how and commercial acumen lies at the heart of effective and valuable legal counsel. Through working closely with clients, getting to know their business, and appreciating their commercial parameters and objectives, Johnson Winter & Slattery ensures its approach is tailored to deliver cost-effective commercial outcomes. A partnership ethos of service, technical excellence and collaboration ensures the most relevant specialist expertise and experience is brought to bear on every assignment.

McCullough Robertson

McCullough Robertson logo

McCullough Robertson wholeheartedly congratulates all individuals on being named part of the GC Powerlist: Australia for 2019.

This accolade reflects the instrumental role each of you play in your organisation, particularly in a time of endless disruption – both internally and in the external business landscape.

With ever changing business priorities and expectations, the role and skillset of the general counsel is evolving. Increasingly, the job description includes the responsibility of more than just the “day job” of purely legal work. You are required to be part of general business considerations, be mindful of new technology to improve process efficiency, and sustainably lead teams of high-performing lawyers. The role requires you to be a well-rounded professional, with skills beyond legal technical excellence.

McCullough Robertson is firmly committed to supporting the holistic growth and development of legal professionals through our executive education program, tomorrow’s GC. Australia’s first-to-market course focuses on equipping the leaders of tomorrow with the soft skills and knowledge required to thrive in their role – now and into the future.

Over the 12 month program of professional coaching and upskilling, participants work with industry leading facilitators on areas such as personal leadership and wellbeing, unlocking the potential of teams, enterprise leadership, and managing disruption through innovation and project management.

For further information or to register your interest in being part of tomorrow’s GC visit:
www.mccullough.com.au/tomorrowsgc/

Again, congratulations to all individuals listed in the GC Powerlist. It is a great accomplishment and you should be extremely proud of your efforts. We look forward to watching you continue to flourish and inspire in your vitally important role.