In this edition of WWL: Australia & New Zealand, we feature a more than 300 firms, ranging from full-service outfits to specialised boutiques. However, over a third of the total listings are achieved by eight standout firms, which we profile here.
King & Wood Mallesons
Global full-service firm King & Wood Mallesons is a major presence in the Australian market. It demonstrates its strong position in our research this year, achieving 87 listings across 25 practice areas.
The banking and capital markets practice stands out as a core strength of the firm, with 12 lawyers recognised this year for their banking expertise, and nine singled out for their experience in structured finance and debt capital markets. The team is well acquainted with advising domestic and multinational financial institutions on the full gamut of banking and financing matters.
It also stands out for the strength of its corporate tax practice, with seven lawyers highlighted this year for their excellence in corporate tax, indirect taxation and transfer pricing.
M&A and governance is an in which the firm performs particularly well. This is reflected in this year’s research, where six lawyers are singled out for their market-leading work in the field across various sectors, from energy and resources, to entertainment and technology.
Key lawyers at the firm include Sharon Henrick, who stands out for her stellar competition practice while Matthew Swinn is recognised as a distinguished figure in the intellectual property space. Peter Pether is hailed for his top-tier construction practice, while Yuen-Yee Cho is well thought of thanks to her banking and capital markets expertise. David Friedlander comes highly recommended by market sources who consider him as a top M&A and corporate governance practitioner. Cheng Lim is distinguished for his experience in the data sector, namely on privacy and data breaches.
Australian powerhouse Clayton Utz solidifies itself as a dominant force in the market, where it is renowned for its exceptional offering across the country. This year, it demonstrates the full breadth and depth of its expertise, achieving 82 listings across 23 practice areas.
M&A and governance is a core strength of the firm with seven top-tier corporate lawyers recognised for their expertise in the full range of related matters from private transactions and negotiations to take-over bids. The firm also sees seven construction lawyers highlighted for their excellence when it comes to assisting clients on transactions, disputes and projects across the sector.
The firm also possesses deep expertise across a range of sectors, most notably across the life sciences and IP sectors for which we highlight a total of 11 first-class lawyers this year. The team is well versed in handling matters spanning transactions, contentious proceedings and regulatory issues. Energy, natural resources and mining is another key strength for the firm, where we recognise six lawyers for their top-tier work.
Key names at the firm include Sergio Capelli who is highlighted for his excellent government contracts practice, while Colin Loveday and Greg Williams are recognised for their market-leading work in the life sciences sector and in product liability defence proceedings. Andrew Walker is a top-tier lawyer for M&A and corporate governance and Andrew Steele is a leading figure in the real estate sector.
Full-service firm Allens ranks highly among Australia’s leading legal service providers. It demonstrates its strong position in the domestic market in our research this year, achieving 76 listings across 27 practice areas, with lawyers from across four of its Australian offices recognised.
M&A and governance is an area in which the firm performs particularly well in this edition. In our corresponding chapter, we single out nine lawyers for their top-tier work advising clients in relation to acquisitions, joint ventures and governance issues arising out of M&A activity.
The firm also stands out for its top-notch energy, natural resources and mining practice, with eight lawyers recognised for their first-rate work on a wide array of energy projects, from solar and hydro to electricity and gas.
The firm is also highly active in the banking sector, with the firm achieving six listings in our corresponding chapter. The team is well versed in working with domestic and international bank clients, global corporates and funds.
Key names at the firm include Igor Bogdanich who stands out for his extensive experience in the mining sector and Guy Foster who is singled out for his expertise in regulatory and commercial disputes. Lawrence Magid is commended for his exceptional corporate and international tax practice. Fiona Crosbie and Jacqueline Downes are well versed in competition law. Craig Henderson is particularly adept at handling public company takeovers and mergers while Tim Golder is distinguished for the strength of his IP practice.
Herbert Smith Freehills
Herbert Smith Freehills performs exceptionally well in this year’s research with 62 leading lawyers from the firm featured across 18 different practice areas.
The firm demonstrates strength in M&A and governance with an impressive nine lawyers recognised for their in-depth knowledge of joint ventures, public acquisitions and complex mergers. It also showcases high levels of expertise in capital markets, with six lawyers singled out in our corresponding chapter for their expert handling of cases involving securitisation, structured finance, and debt and equity transactions.
Key names at the firm include Hayley Neilson, known for her expert handling of corporate finance and banking transactions. Philippa Stone and Rebecca Maslen-Stannage stand out in the capital markets and M&A arena while Peter Briggs is highly regarded for his top-tier environment and climate change practice. Julie Couch is a top name in the real estate sector and Shaun McVicar ranks highly among peers for his excellence in IP law.
Full-service powerhouse MinterEllison is a mainstay in the regional legal market, with a stellar reputation for the great breadth and depth of its offering. This is showcased in our research this year, in which it receives 59 listings across 23 practice areas.
Corporate finance is a core strength of the firm, as demonstrated in our M&A chapter in which five excellent lawyers are listed for their work advising clients on a range of matters from joint ventures to take-over bids. It is further illustrated with lawyers listed in our banking, capital markets, and restructuring and insolvency chapters.
MinterEllison also excels in competition law. This year five lawyers are singled out for their excellence when it comes to merger control, leniency agreements, cartel investigations and foreign investment matters.
Standout lawyers at the firm include Stewart Nankervis who stands out as a leading light in the government contracts arena. James Mok is esteemed for his excellent knowledge of the banking sector, while Gordon Williams comes highly recommended for his first-rate labour and employment practice.
Ashurst enjoys a strong reputation as a market-leading corporate firm and has a strong presence in the Australian market. The firm demonstrates its high-level expertise with 58 practitioners listed across 23 practice areas in this edition.
Banking is an area in which the firm excels, with six practitioners highlighted this year. The practice is notable for the depth of its experience in advising lenders and borrowers, enabling clients to benefit from different perspectives in banking and debt financing matters.
The firm shines across a range of practice areas and receives special mention for its leading energy, natural resources and mining offering, with five lawyers distinguished this year for their top-tier work on transactions, regulation and disputes.
Eminent practitioners at the firm include Shawn Wytenburg and Martin Coleman, who are revered for their brilliant banking practices, while John Briggs stands out as a powerhouse in environmental law. Georgia Quick is a top-tier construction lawyer, and James Marshall and Ross McClymont are recognised leading figures in corporate restructuring and insolvency proceedings.
Corrs Westgarth Chamber
Renowned commercial law firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth enjoys a strong position in the Australian market. This is reflected in our research this year where the firm achieves 48 listings across 20 practice area chapters.
Construction and energy are key strengths of the firm, where it receives seven and four listings in our corresponding chapters respectively. The lawyers are identified for their excellence on a range of matters, from energy and infrastructure projects, to construction contracts and public private partnerships.
The firm further demonstrates its strong expertise in our intellectual property chapters, in which four lawyers are recognised for their patents expertise and six lawyers are singled out for their trademarks experience.
Labour, employment and benefits is another area in which the firm the excels, with four lawyers from the group singled out for their leading work on diversity and discrimination issues, employment-related disputes and wrongful terminations.
Standout lawyers at the firm include John Tuck, who is recognised as a top name for labour and employment law. Philip Catania is a leading light in the data sector, while Odette Gourley and Grant Fisher are recognised for their combined expertise in IP and life sciences. Michael Earwaker and Andrew Stephenson are identified for their impressive experience in construction and dispute resolution.
Gilbert + Tobin
Leading Australian firm, Gilbert & Tobin impresses in this year’s research with 39 lawyers recognised across 15 different practice areas.
The firm demonstrates exceptional strength in data law with six leading lawyers recognised for their detailed knowledge of the regulatory landscape, data protection, software development laws and large-scale digitalisation projects. It also stands out for its prominence in M&A and governance, with five individuals highlighted for their expertise in public takeovers, joint ventures, and complex corporate governance.
Project finance is also a key area of strength for the firm with four lawyers listed in this chapter for their excellent work across a range of industries including energy, telecommunications and infrastructure.
Leading names at the firm include John Schembri who is highly esteemed for his market-leading project finance practice. Elizabeth Avery and Luke Woodward standout for their outstanding expertise in competition law while Dominic Emmett is recognised as a top-tier restructuring and insolvency lawyer.