Australia: Labour, Employment & Benefits

This chapter highlights 40 outstanding practitioners who are recognised for their excellent work in the labour, employment and benefits field.

Most Highly Regarded
1. John Tuck Corrs Chambers Westgarth, Melbourne
2. Graeme Smith Herbert Smith Freehills, Melbourne
3. Steven Amendola K&L Gates LLP, Melbourne
4. Michael Vrisakis Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney

MinterEllison is one of the leading firms in the field, with six practitioners recognised.
Jim Fox is a well-established name in the employment space and is recognised for his excellent work advising clients on resolving related issues for both private and public sector clients.
Dan Williams is recognised by peers as “one of the leaders in the Brisbane market”, and as a “very good operator”, with expertise in both advisory and litigation work across a range of industries.
Karl Blake boasts strong experience advising employers on various labour law issues, with high-profile clients turning to him when seeking insight on litigation and other matters.
Maged Girgis has extensive experience navigating the complexities of labour and employment matters, with one interviewee affirming that he is “definitely a specialist in benefits”.

Ashurst continues to have a heavy presence in the market, with five lawyers listed here.
Ian Humphreys is an experienced player in employment law, and leads the firm’s employment practice. His clients span the public and private sectors and he has strong expertise advising and litigating in the field.
Stephen Woodbury has spent significant time advising clients in the employment field, specialising in high-level employment deals focusing on the employer-employee relationship and extending to litigation.
Adrian Morris is recognised for his impressive experience working in employment law spanning a wide range of industries. His expertise ranges from singular employment issues to more large-scale company relations.

Herbert Smith Freehills has four outstanding practitioners listed.
Graeme Smith is a labour and employment specialist, with a history of advising on large deals with high-profile clients. He enjoys a strong reputation in the market advising on a range of issues across the labour and employment field.
Michael Vrisakis is a distinguished superannuation specialist, with additional expertise in the regulatory side of the employment field.
Russell Allen is said by peers to be “very good at building relationships”, and is considered a “strategy person”. He has significant experience advising on strategy within the workplace, and is noted for his particular expertise within the energy and resource industries.
Michael Coonan is a well-known presence in the employment field and possesses experience advising domestic and international clients on all aspects of industry relations and dispute resolution.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth achieves three recognitions this year.
John Tuck is an outstanding practitioner with strong experience in advising clients on strategy, litigation and workplace management.
Nicholas Ellery draws praise for his work in the employment field and has advised clients on issues from dispute resolution to health and safety.
Michael Chaaya specialises in the regulatory and commercial aspects of employment law, working closely with financial firms to provide insight into the regulatory framework relevant to their workplaces.

Three excellent lawyers from Clayton Utz achieve recognition in this chapter.
Graham Smith is identified by peers as “certainly, one of the leaders in the field” and “very strong in Melbourne”. He is a long-standing practitioner in the employment field with a history of advising on strategy, regulation and relations.
Stuart Pill is a workplace management specialist, focusing on issues including outsourcing and restructuring. His experience also extends to strategy and dispute resolution.
Abraham Ash focuses his first-rate practice on a range of matters including industry relations, employee contract advice and dispute management.

Seyfarth Shaw also achieves three nominations this year.
Darren Perry stands out in the market as a first-rate employment lawyer who is recognised by sources for his expert handling of collective bargaining matters and termination disputes.
Henry Skene is well known in the Australian market for his top-notch practice that encompasses advising clients on a range of workplace relations matters.
Chris Gardner specialises in international employment law and is highlighted by peers for his excellent work on the employer side when it comes to both advisory and contentious work.

K&L Gates sees two lawyers recognised.
Steven Amendola is a “top-notch guy”, who has frequently advises clients on a range of matters from workplace relations to dispute resolution.
Nick Ruskin is a workplace specialist, who is recognised for the practical advice he delivers to clients on industry relations and anti-discrimination matters.

Michelle Levy at Allens is “a specialist in pensions” according to respondents who commend her deep expertise in superannuation and wealth management matters.
Wendy Rae boasts an impressive corporate practice and is recognised here for her excellent work in relation to superannuation funds.

At Harmers Workplace Lawyers, Michael Harmer has over three decades of experience dedicated to the employment field. He is well equipped to handle a wide array of matters including workplace relations, discrimination and senior executive employment.

Joydeep Hor at People + Culture Strategies is an employment specialist with a particular focus on dispute resolution and workplace harassment, as well as proactive strategy making for employee management.

At Baker McKenzie, Paul Brown is a widely recognised figure in the Australian market who comes highly recommended for his adept handling of employment contracts, disputes and negotiations with trade unions.

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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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