The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: Australia, 2020 edition



The Legal 500 has today released its Asia Pacific rankings for the 2020 edition and Piper Alderman has been recognised across 9 areas of law including Construction, Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution, Energy (transactions and regulatory), Intellectual Property, Labour & Employment, Real Estate, Regulatory Compliance & Investigations and Restructuring & Insolvency.  The directory ranks firms into tiers based on a number of factors including complexity of matters handled, size of practice and client feedback received.  We are humbled by the testimonials received from our clients and express our sincere thanks for their participation in the research process.



Noted for its ‘extensive knowledge of all areas of construction law’, Piper Alderman advises a range of stakeholders and is particularly geared towards the representation of contractors. Martin Lovell heads this and the projects teams and includes project finance among his expertise. Melbourne-based Geoff Emmett has a ‘mind capable of working from many angles’ and is typically instructed for construction management, PPP and guaranteed maximum price contracts. Projects span the road, rail, water, energy, building, heath and manufacturing sectors, among others. Margot King is a new partner level arrival from Walker Corporation.

‘The team includes lawyers who have worked within industry and therefore have a unique insight into the issues facing their clients.’

‘The Piper Alderman team are unique through their genuine care for their clients and desire to provide the best possible advice whilst building relationships which extend beyond the daily professional interactions.’

‘Piper Alderman are outcome driven not task driven.’

Geoff Emmett has mind a capable of working from many angles. He depth of understanding of the law, for all its strengths and weakness is impressive.’

‘Fees charges are fair and reasonable.’

‘Great commercial knowledge, fast response.’

Corporate and M&A

Piper Alderman’s clients are made up of public and private companies in sectors including energy, resources, technology, health and agribusiness. Its expertise extends to all areas of M&A, private equity and capital raisings. James Dickson in Adelaide has a significant corporate transactional experience together with corporate governance, ASIC requirements and ASX Listing Rules. James Macdonald in Melbourne also has broad, international experience. Mark Williamson handles corporate, securities and funds matters with a track record in Australian and cross-border securities transactions.

‘What made it unique to us was the level of caring support and understanding that this was a new area for us and they guided us through the process with very gentle handling of all areas and kept the wheels moving and also let us be a partner in the process with them. They settled a lot of jittery nerves.’

Andrew [Rankin] was a very steadying person, calm and collected at all stages. We felt very safe in his hands.’

Hugh Scales is excellent. He’s fastidious on detail but also highly commercial. Plus he has a lot of experience with PE deals and PE fund structuring.’

‘Piper Alderman is a nice middle-sized practice. It is small enough that we feel valued but large and diverse enough to handle most issues that we come across.’

‘We have a very personalised service from James Macdonald. He has taken the time to understand our business. He can predict likely legal areas for us to address before they become issues. He is very pragmatic and logical – and doesn’t propose legal projects for their own sake. We appreciate that he takes a balanced view of the cost benefit of different approaches to delivering advice.’

Dispute resolution

The team at Piper Alderman acts for clients from a range of industries, including life sciences, construction, and mining. The ‘approachable and accessibleAnne Freeman and Ian Nathaniel jointly lead the practice, delivering advice across a wide range of commercial disputes as well as representing clients in litigation. It works particularly closely with third-party litigation funds such as LCM Finance, offering ‘excellent strategic/tactical insights‘. ‘Exceptionally talented litigatorGordon Grieve is acting for Giabal Pty in an A$90m claim against Gunns to recover investments made in a woodlot in Tasmania. Florian Ammer is an ‘excellent‘ and ‘standout lawyer‘.

‘The dispute resolution team provides timely, practical advice tailored to the needs of the business.’

‘Unique – focused on client outcomes, strategic thinking combined with commercial experience. Augmented to the extent the managing partner and chairman are involved and across the details – impressive.’

‘Very experienced litigation practitioners in all classes of litigation. Excellent strategic/tactical insights across all east coast jurisdictions. Better collegiate approach than other firms I have used.’

‘I have worked with many different large firms and have found Piper Alderman the best by far. The firm is professional and clearly holds a high standard for the calibre of solicitor they bring on. All interactions I have had with Piper Alderman staff have been of high quality.’

Energy (transactions and regulatory)

With noted strength in South Australia and Queensland, Piper Alderman is highlighted for its deep expertise in the oil and gas industries. Gordon Grieve in Sydney and Ashley Watson in Adelaide head the practice which includes Martin Lovell who is referred to as a ‘magic circle quality‘ lawyer. The team handles a range of work for clients such as ElectraNet and Petrel Energy. It also handles electricity and renewables work advising on corporate, finance and disputes; Kathryn Walker has a focus on electricity and renewables matters in addition to related environmental issues. Josh Steele in Brisbane is also recommended.

Martin Lovell is magic circle quality.’

‘All offices have experienced practitioners in oil and gas, and other energy related sectors, including related regulatory, insurance, M&A, and capital markets dealings.’

‘Wide experience in the sector through Grieve (Sydney), and Steele (Brisbane). All practitioners are widely known in, and have a deep knowledge of, the oil and gas sector.’

Intellectual property

Split between the firm’s three offices across Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, Piper Alderman’s IP team attracts commendation from clients for its ‘seamless integration and high-quality legal analysis’. The department’s client roster is varied and includes public and private companies, government departments, public-sector research organisations, not-for-profit organisations, and individuals. The group is handling an increasing number of mandates in the fintech sector, as well as in other innovation-reliant industries. Led by practice co-head Tim O’Callaghan, the Adelaide-based team focuses on the food and beverage industry and ‘thrives from the strong leadership and knowledge of O’Callaghan’. In Melbourne, ‘very experienced’ department co-head Tim Clark has developed a niche in IT and telecoms, life sciences and biotechnology, and the IP aspects of social media. Sarah Johnson in the Sydney office is developing the firm’s cross-practice, not-for-profit sector group.

‘Piper Alderman’s team thinks outside the box and comes up with creative solutions.’

‘The team has access to a range of experts at multiple levels, which is extremely beneficial, as it allows a quick turnaround, regardless of whether the issue is of a more general or specific nature.’

‘The quality of work from the team is very consistent among its members. The team is very responsive, acts timely, and provides practical advice.’

‘The knowledge and various skill sets of individuals on the team are very impressive, which creates a sense of trust in the work that they handle for clients.’

‘Tim O’Callaghan is an excellent strategist who thinks several moves ahead, and provides clear and direct advice rather than sitting on the fence.’

‘The team thrives from the strong leadership and knowledge of Tim O’Callaghan. His ability to evaluate problems and to see the bigger picture is a standout quality.’

Labour and employment

Labour and employment law is a core part of Piper Alderman’s national offering led from Melbourne by Tim Lange whose experience includes the drafting and negotiation of enterprise agreements and awards, resolving industrial disputes, terminations and unfair dismissals, employment contracts and policies, issues around employee records and privacy, anti-discrimination and work health and safety. David Ey is the main name to note in the Adelaide office and Sydney-based Tim Capelin is also a key contact.

‘The team at Piper Alderman always makes itself available and is able to share knowledge in a way that can be understood by a group of people with varying experience in the employment and industrial relations space.’

‘They know their trade and keep up to date with legislative changes at Piper Alderman. They are honest and responsive. I trust their advice and I appreciate their candid conversations.’

Chris Hartigan and Michelle Cox take the time to understand our company. This results in practical advice that is easy to apply and easy to pass on to management.’

‘Piper Alderman has the legal expertise and professionalism that you’d expect but that is combined with a pragmatic approach based on a real understanding of how businesses work. They aren’t just lawyers, they are trusted advisers.’

Erin McCarthy and Andrew Stewart provide commercially astute, complex legal analysis and are easily capable of ‘operationalising’ their counsel.’

Tim Capelin is approachable, highly professional and provides exceptional client service. He is timely in his responses to both phone calls and written advice. He and his team deliver on pieces of work once briefed without multiple follow-ups unless necessary.’

David Ey and Erin McCarthy are an absolute pleasure to deal with. They provide reliable and consistent advice and make themselves available whenever we call. They are genuinely committed to the success of our business.’

Andrew Stewart has an extraordinary grasp of industrial relations law.’

Erin McCarthy is a fantastic lawyer based in Adelaide with an exceptional knowledge base as an employer lawyer, but has the capacity to be very practical and explain things to executives who are time poor and want answers.’

Tim Lange is available, customer-focused, positive and supportive.’

Real estate

Brisbane-based Warren Denny heads the practice at Piper Alderman following his arrival from K&L Gates. He joins a team praised for its ‘great depth of knowledge’ and brings expertise in leasing, acquisition and sales as well as developments and dispute resolution. Both public and private sector clients instruct the practice for assistance on infrastructure and other developments as well as matters relating to the sale, management and ownership of industrial, residential, retail and commercial assets. Margot King is another new arrival; she joined the Sydney office from an in-house role and bolsters the practice with her expert knowledge of urban renewal and infrastructure projects. Lawyers based in the firm’s Adelaide office also make up the department.

‘Comprehensive legal support across our business and private investments. Professional and with great depth of knowledge and experience’.

Mark Askin is recommended. He and his team are always available and provide prompt professional support and guidance. He is proactive in keeping up to date with his knowledge of the real estate markets, which is reflected in his passionate embrace of new commercial and high rise developments within Queensland and Internationally.’

‘They are incredibly diligent in their approach to everything from purchase and lease negotiations through to forecasting potential hurdles and assessing risk.’

‘Personalized service and practical and honest advice’.

‘This team has a vast knowledge and skill set, and referred work is promptly and professionally dealt with.’

‘In the leasing area, the solicitors are very competent and are able to clearly articulate legal points and their broader impact to the client, which assists greatly with the negotiation of the legal documents.’

‘Approachable, responsive, knowledgeable and efficient, creating a cost effective, accurate service. Good solution finders.’

Regulatory compliance and investigations

The team at Piper Alderman is hailed for its ‘extensive practical experience’ and ‘excellent attention to detail’. Its workload encompasses regulatory compliance, corporate investigations, anti-bribery and corruption, whistle-blower investigations, workplace safety, corporate governance and white-collar crime. Tom Griffithprovides sound advice and guides expertly’, he heads the practice alongside James Dickson from Adelaide with other key names based in Sydney. Andrea Beatty recently joined from Keypoint Law and advises on all aspects of financial services regulation.

‘The Piper Alderman team has extensive practical experience in the Financial Services and the Payments Industry generally.’

Andrea Beatty and her colleagues have extensive industry experience having worked with numerous financial services and payment system participants over many years. This experience provides them with significant insight into the practical considerations that apply when assisting their clients.’

‘Very competent, professional, adhere to time frames and provide great leadership in managing large volumes of work, working in partnership with in-house legal. Excellent attention to detail and accuracy in cost estimates and invoicing’.

Tom Griffith provides sound advice, was always available, very easy to work with, and guided us expertly to achieve our deadlines.’

Restructuring and insolvency

Under the leadership of Michael Lhuede in Melbourne, Piper Alderman’s team focuses on SME market transactions with expertise in the retail, food services and construction sectors. The practice counts insolvency practitioners, specialist insolvency firms and banks as clients; examples include ANZ, Deloitte and Grant Thornton. Other key practitioners in the firm’s national network include Melbourne-based Joanne Hardwick, Mike Hayes in Adelaide, who handles personal and corporate insolvency and turnaround work; and Sydney-based Thomas Russell, who is an expert in Personal Property Security Act litigation and securities enforcement. Sydney-based litigator Angelina Kozary made partner in 2019 and partner Cheryl Weston joined the team in July 2019.

‘I find the team’s strength and key capabilities are their care (and concern for the client), availability, approachability, knowledge and professionalism.‘

‘This firm is large enough to deal with all matters but personal enough to deal with each individual circumstance/job individually. Always receive a personal call regarding updates on matters.‘

‘The team at Pipers are very responsive where matters require urgency of action. They treat your matter as if it is the only one they are working on and obviously have a “strong bench” of junior lawyers supporting the partners in the delivery of timely commercial advice. There is rarely a matter that they are unable to deal with.’

Mike Hayes always has an opinion and is happy to share without having to research everything in depth. He thinks on his feet and adapts his style to the required situation.’

Michael Lhuede is bright and astute on all matters and offers practical advice each time. I never have to question Michael’s judgement on how to approach a matter.’

Joanne Hardwick and Michael Lhuede provide confident advice with reasonable fees and the ability to work on a spec basis.’

‘Stand out partners are Michael Lhuede, Thomas Russell and Angelina Kozary. All very good technically, responsive and able to deal with complex insolvency issues.’


Source: The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific: Australia