Geoff Forbes retires after 20 years of dedicated service to the firm


This month marks the retirement of long-time Piper Alderman Partner, Geoff Forbes. In a career spanning more than 40 years, Geoff has become one of the country’s leading hospitality sector lawyers advising a range of clients from individual pubs to the industry’s largest corporations.

Geoff has spent the last twenty years at the helm of Piper Alderman’s hospitality sector practice where he is hugely respected by his clients and colleagues.

During his career, Geoff has been at the centre of some of the most significant changes the industry has seen, from the large-scale shift in property ownership to individual licensees in the 1990s, to the introduction of gaming into hotels.

For Geoff, there were two factors that kept him focused on the relatively specialised field of hospitality sector law; the clients and the range of work.

“Throughout my career, one aspect of my client work that I really valued was the down to earth nature and resilience of most of the licensees I’ve dealt with. As a lawyer, this has allowed me to give full, frank advice and work productively with clients to get the right result – even in pretty testing circumstances at times. The other thing that’s really kept me engaged and interested in the sector is the sheer variability of the work. I can go from working on a comparatively small transaction with an individual licensee to dealing with a complex, multifaceted issue with a large-scale hospitality brand.”

One of the most memorable periods of my career, as well as beneficial for the industry was the series of transactions involving many of my clients purchasing their hotel properties from Lion Nathan in the mid-90’s.  It was extremely challenging for all concerned but it paid dividends for the industry in the end” Geoff recalls, whilst reflecting on his career.

As a well-loved and highly regarded practitioner, Geoff has built strong relationships across the industry, dealing with and in many cases forming friendships with long standing and loyal clients as well as with legal colleagues in other firms. He is also a highly valued colleague amongst Piper Alderman’s partners and staff.

“He is one of the best in the industry when it comes to representing clients in the hospitality space. We have great confidence in him, his attention to detail and extreme professionalism standout. We also have great confidence in working with Piper Alderman moving forward with the team having the mentorship, training and practical experience of working with Geoff over recent years.”

Matt Rogers, Publican at The Goodwood Park and Marina Hotels

As Geoff walks away from the industry, he and his wife are looking forward to a slower pace of life, and plan on spending as much time as possible in Melbourne visiting their two grandsons.

The focus will now be on continuing Geoff’s legacy of success and growth in Piper Alderman’s market leading hospitality practice, with Jon Dodd’s recent appointment to partner. Jon has worked alongside Geoff for the last 15 years and is looking forward to providing continued guidance to Piper Alderman’s hospitality and gaming clients.

“Geoff has been a valued member of our team for over two decades. His experience and understanding of the hospitality sector in SA, particularly in the pub space, is second to none. We will miss him, but we are fortunate that he has trained Jon Dodd so well over the years, that the firm will continue to be market leaders in this space.”

Tony Britten-Jones, Managing Partner, Piper Alderman

We sincerely thank Geoff for his service to the firm and wish him well as he enters his retirement on the 2nd of July 2021.