Paula Gilardoni
Office:
L35, Tower Two, International Towers Sydney
200 Barangaroo Avenue
Barangaroo
NSW 2000
City:
Sydney
Country:
Australia
Tel:
+61 2 9263 4187
Fax:
+61 2 9263 4111

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Competition

Paula advises on competition law matters including merger clearances, investigations and the competition law issues affecting joint ventures and other complex transactions. She provides ongoing strategic and commercial advice to clients in the banking, insurance, wealth management, payments, health, entertainment, manufacturing and petroleum industries. She is a digital economy and payment systems specialist, advising on new products, the development of new payment systems and platforms, investigations and regulatory reform processes.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO A CAREER IN COMPETITION LAW? 

Competition law grapples with problems that are the core of our social and economic life – how to make markets more competitive and how to increase social welfare. Often, competition lawyers are asked questions that cannot be answered with a simple “yes or no”. Working through that complexity is very satisfying. You often need a very nuanced approach that brings together the law, the body of jurisprudence and economic principles that sits behind the law, and a range of policy objectives and priorities (some of which are not always internally consistent). I have always been attracted to the complexity and intellectual challenge that competition law presents. 

WHICH QUALITIES ARE KEY TO SUCCESS AS A COMPETITION PRACTITIONER? 

Having a deep understanding of legal and economic principles is a good starting point. Having a high level of pragmatism and creativity also helps. Other than that, I find that successful practitioners have a distinctive ability to bring together things that others may find impossible to reconcile. It may be the ability to stay focused on the details and the big picture at the same time; or may be the ability to advocate a legal argument that brings together seemly irreconcilable legal principles; or the ability to bring together people with very opposed views. Some may call that good advocacy or even good people skills, and that would probably be correct but I think underlying that there is also an ability to bring together the “yin and yang” of any problem or situation that is uniquely important in our area of law.

WHAT ASPECT OF YOUR CURRENT ROLE DO YOU ENJOY THE MOST? 

Competition law is constantly evolving and changing. There is always new jurisprudence, new laws, new approaches to enforcement and new issues that need addressing. This is an area of law that never stands still and demands full intellectual engagement. That intellectual challenge is one of the first things that attracted me to competition law and still applies to this day. 

As a partner, I also work with many young lawyers and I enjoy seeing them develop as practitioners. Mentoring is a very rewarding part of my role. 

HOW IS THE PAYMENT SERVICE SECTOR DEVELOPING, AND IN WHAT WAYS HAS THIS IMPACTED YOUR PRACTICE? 

Electronic payments are a key part of ecommerce, so the sector has evolved significantly in the last few years. When I started working in this space, it was considered a very niche area. Since then, the law has developed a complex set of rules to regulate various aspects of payments, and competition regulators around the world have started to recognise the important role of payments to facilitate (or hinder) competition. My practice has obviously evolved in response to these changes and I expect that it will continue to change in the years ahead.

WHAT DOES GILBERT + TOBIN DO TO STAY AHEAD OF THE COMPETITION? 

We operate in a very competitive and demanding environment, so a commitment to excellence is a must. We also foster an environment where creativity is valued and rewarded. We are legal practitioners and therefore operate in an environment that is heavily influenced by precedent, but in advising our clients we never want to just stick to a formula, even if it that formula has been successful in the past. We are constantly trying to reinvent ourselves and improve what we do to ultimately service our clients efficiently and effectively. 

HOW WILL AUSTRALIA’S NEW CONSUMER DATA RIGHT LEGISLATION IMPACT YOUR PRACTICE NEXT YEAR? 

Initially, the Consumer Data Right will only affect a few industries (banking, energy and telecommunications) but I think the impact will go beyond that. In particular, I expect the ACCC will start paying closer attention to the impact of data on competition across different industries. I expect that questions of access to data, data monopolies, data as a source of market power, anti-competitive conduct involving data and information sharing more generally will become more prevalent, as the ACCC and regulators around the world start grappling with these new issues.  

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER PRACTITIONERS WHO HOPE TO BE IN YOUR POSITION ONE DAY? 

I would invite them to stay curious, flexible and open minded. Like many industries, technology is also changing we way we practise law. So I would also invite them to embrace change and make the most of the opportunities that will be created in the future.   

YOU HAVE HAD A VERY DISTINGUISHED CAREER TO DATE. WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO ACHIEVE THAT YOU HAVE NOT ALREADY? 

I actually have a very long list of things that I want to achieve. One pet project of mine is to develop better legal software, particularly software with AI capabilities. I would be very excited if I could develop software that replaces some parts of my own day-to-day job. 

Biography:

Who's Who Legal Competition: Lawyers

Paula is a partner in Gilbert + Tobin’s competition and regulation group.

She advises on competition law matters including merger clearances, investigations and the competition law issues affecting joint ventures and other complex transactions. She provides ongoing strategic and commercial advice to clients in the banking, insurance, wealth management, payments, health and entertainment industries, as well as clients in manufacturing and the petroleum industry.

Paula has successfully secured merger clearances for clients in heavily scrutinised industries. Most recently, she advised Caltex (a large petroleum retailer) on its acquisition of an independent network of service stations in Victoria, and also advised Baker Hughes in relation to its merger with General Electric.

Paula is a digital economy and payment systems specialist, advising on new products, the development of new payment systems and platforms, investigations and regulatory reform processes. She has represented clients in their interactions with the competition regulator (ACCC), the Reserve Bank of Australia, the prudential regulator (APRA) and the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC). She is a key adviser to AusPayNet and the recently established New Payments Platform. Paula is the competition advisor to OSKO, the first real-time payment service offered over the NPP. She is also advising a consortium of major banks who have developed BEEM, a peer-to-peer payment and domestic mobile wallet service and advised a group of Australian banks on their dispute with Apple in relation to the introduction of ApplePay into Australia.

Paula is also the lead partner of the innovation team in competition and regulation, where she is at the forefront of the development of new technology platforms for the delivery of legal services and is a regular contributor on topical issues in financial services and payments. Paula recently developed the HarperReady interactive tool that uses a technology-driven risk-based approach to the delivery of legal content.

Paula has a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of New South Wales and also has qualifications in computing science. Paula is recognised by Best Lawyers in competition law.

WWL says: Paula Gilardoni is highly recommended for her wide-ranging competition expertise, which covers transactions, investigations and advisory matters in an array of industries and sectors.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Competition which can be purchased from our Shop.

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