Australia: Construction 2017

In this chapter, we recognise 53 of the country’s leading construction specialists. The featured lawyers have proven expertise in representing a range of clients including owners, contractors and subcontractors in both contentious and non-contentious work within the construction sector.

Most Highly Regarded
1. Douglas Jones AO Independent Arbitrator, Sydney
2. Andrew Stephenson Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Melbourne
3. Peter Pether King & Wood Mallesons, Sydney
4. John Cooper Jones Day, Sydney

CLAYTON UTZ tops our research in this section achieving an impressive nine listings across three of its offices. The firm’s market-leading construction team is a top choice for large construction projects, particularly in the transport, infrastructure and energy sectors.
In Brisbane, Dale Brackin is considered “one of the top 10 practitioners in the Australian market”. His impressive practice sees him represent domestic and international clients on a variety of front-end advisory work, as well as back-end dispute resolution.
In Sydney, disputes specialist Frank Bannon is described as “an acknowledged leader in the field”. He regularly acts for owners, contracting authorities, contractors and subcontractors on high-profile construction projects across a range of industries.
Sergio Capelli is a highly regarded practitioner known for his extensive experience handling front-end matters for a wide range of clients involved in significant projects.
The “outstanding” Marko Misko is well known for his extensive experience advising on contract documentation and transactional issues. According to sources, “clients love him”.
The “superb” Owen Hayford is recommended for his impressive track record advising on major construction and infrastructure deals.

National full-service firm CORRS CHAMBERS WESTGARTH is home to six practitioners identified as key names in the construction sector. The firm’s team boasts a strong reputation in the construction and engineering spaces, as well as construction disputes.
Melbourne’s Andrew Stephenson, one of the most highly regarded practitioners in this year’s research, is considered “one of the true leaders in the field” by one market source. He is particularly well known for his proficiency handling major disputes.
In Perth, Chris Ryder is a prominent figure in the Western Australian construction market thanks to his considerable expertise advising on large projects and high-profile disputes.
Andrew Chew draws high praise from clients, one of whom notes: “He is able to deal with very complex structures in a commercial manner. He is responsive, attentive to client needs and committed to providing innovative solutions."

NORTON ROSE FULBRIGHT enjoys an excellent reputation in the market. Its team regularly advises major construction and engineering clients active in significant transport projects. In this chapter, five lawyers are selected for inclusion.
In Sydney, Rob Buchanan is recommended for his expertise handling energy, mining and infrastructure-related construction disputes. According to sources, he is “great to work with” and “highly sought after by clients looking for heavyweight lawyers”.
National practice head Grant Ahearn is a standout figure in the Australian market with an enviable list of clients. He boasts over 25 years’ experience in the field and handles both contentious and non-contentious issues.
Matthew Croagh specialises in high-profile LNG disputes. He is also known for advising clients on project strategies to improve time and cost-efficiency during construction projects.

MINTERELLISON boasts a market-leading construction team known for handing the full range of construction-related work. In this chapter, we single out three of the firm’s impressive practitioners.
Stewart Nankervis is a highly rated lawyer with a longstanding practice covering social infrastructure projects. He regularly advises private and public-sector clients on contractual matters and is particularly adept when drafting long term O&M and energy performance contracts.
Sydney-based Pamela Jack is a seasoned construction lawyer with a wealth of expertise on both front and back-end issues.
Peter Wood heads the firm’s national construction, engineering and infrastructure disputes practice and is described as “a strong all-rounder” by respondents.

HERBERT SMITH FREEHILLS’ construction team enjoys an excellent reputation in the market. We recognise two practitioners this year.
One source considers Hamish Macpherson “a name I would always pick as a construction expert”. He co-heads the firm’s construction and infrastructure disputes group and is recommended for his considerable experience handling significant construction disputes.
David Templeman is recognised as one of the leading players operating at the nexus of infrastructure project and construction work thanks to his 25 years of experience in the space.

White-shoe firm JONES DAY excels in cross-border construction projects and related disputes and also sees two lawyers selected for inclusion in this chapter.
In Brisbane, veteran practitioner John Cooper is a well-established figure in the market with vast experience advising on large construction and infrastructure projects. Interviewees describe him as “a great commercial lawyer” and “hard worker”.
Stephen McComish’s impressive practice sees him advise mining, energy and public sector clients on high-profile disputes. He is particularly well known for his experience acting in construction-related arbitrations.

In this chapter we recognise two practitioners at MOLINOCAHILL LAWYERS, where construction law forms a key competency.
Name partner Tony Molino comes highly recommended for his wealth of experience advising clients on large domestic and international construction projects.
The “excellent” Meghan Cahill is also identified as one of the country’s leading construction lawyers thanks to her strong track record advising principals and contractors on both contentious and non-contentious issues.

INDEPENDENT ARBITRATOR Douglas Jones AO is an eminent construction lawyer and arbitrator who is highly regarded on the international stage. As one interviewee maintains, “For parties in mega disputes, this is the arbitrator you want. He turns things around very quickly and and runs a firm hearing focusing the parties on the important elements of the case.”

KING & WOOD MALLESONSPeter Pether is considered “an extremely distinguished lawyer” by market commentators. He is known for his longstanding and market-leading construction disputes practice.

INDEPENDENT PRACTITIONER John Sharkey is considered “an acknowledged leader” in the Australian construction space and regularly drafts and negotiates construction contracts for significant stakeholders. He also stands out as a distinguished arbitrator and mediator.

EXPERT DETERMINATION CHAMBERSDonald Charrett is a prominent figure in the Australian construction disputes space. Respondents praise his “approachable, measured and fair manner” as well as his “reputation, character and skills”.

JBM ADVISORY’s Phillip Greenham is a top name in the field who is known for his insight and experience advising government bodies on contractual issues.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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