The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: Australia, 2021 edition


The Legal 500 has today released its Asia Pacific rankings for the 2021 edition and Piper Alderman has been recognised across 10 areas of law including Construction, Corporate and M&A, Dispute Resolution, Energy (transactions and regulatory), Financial Services Regulatory, Intellectual Property, Labour & Employment, Natural Resources (transactions and regulatory), Real Estate 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.


2021 Rankings


Piper Alderman’s team enjoys a strong reputation for projects in the energy, infrastructure, resources, defence, transport, health and aged care sectors. The group thrives in respect of construction-related disputes and project delivery with the workload spanning procurement processes, interface arrangements, offtake, maintenance and operation matters. Practice head Martin Lovell operates from Adelaide with a history of supporting developers, government, sponsors and contractors on project finance, joint ventures, business structuring and development transactions. His team has recently seen an increase in its work in the renewable energy and transmission infrastructure areas. In Adelaide, Kathryn Walker is a ‘very commercially focused and experienced lawyer‘, particularly in relation to renewable energy projects.

The team provides cost-effective, pragmatic commercial advice. They have a great depth of construction law knowledge across the offices. Megan Calder is focused on obtaining the required commercial outcome in a cost-effective way. Geoff Emmett thinks laterally and can be relied upon to deliver well thought out solutions.’

“Piper Alderman has consistently provided accurate, pragmatic and efficient legal services to our organisation. We initially engaged Piper Alderman to assist us to prepare a range of contract templates for us. Our use of Piper Alderman over the last 12 months has expanded. Recently, they assisted us to prepare a complex deed of amendment to one of our largest managing contractor contracts. We required a very quick turnaround on this document and Piper Alderman worked over the weekend to ensure we had the document within a matter of days. If it was not for their intimate knowledge of our business and their expertise in the relevant area of law, the document would have taken at least double the time to prepare.”

“We have been engaging Martin Lovell and Juniper Watson on a variety of matters for about 2 years now. Over this time, Martin and Juniper have developed an intimate understanding of our business and our needs. Their knowledge of our business, and their expertise in the subject matter, means that they are able to turnaround work for us at a rate which far exceeds that which we would expect from other law firms. We use Martin and Juniper to provide advice and assistance in a wide range of legal matters and they have consistently provided that advice and assistance efficiently and accurately. They have exceeded our expectations and we will continue to engage them where we require external counsel. They are highly professional but also very personable and able to communicate to lawyers and non-lawyers in a clear manner. They go above and beyond, and I have no hesitation in recommending Piper Alderman, and in particular Martin and Juniper.”

“Depth of knowledge and experience across industry and industry participants enabling the provision of balanced, commercial advice. Martin Lovell is very approachable, listens well and communicates clearly. He is practical and commercial in his advice. His depth and breadth of experience is very evident. Juniper Watson is similar in style and has excellent technical knowledge. Megan Calder – exceptional knowledge of construction law and the construction industry.”

“High quality, fast and practical advice. Daniel Fitzpatrick is a seriously talented trusted advisor. Good, to the point advice.”

“Geoffrey Emmett is the main Partner at Piper Alderman that provides Construction Engineering legal advice. His team is very responsive and understands the needs of our company. They are very professional and know where to seek additional advice if required. The service is equivalent to having a personal in-house lawyer but with the backup of a major organization.”

“Martin Lovell is the best lawyer I have worked with in private practice. His intelligent, commercial and easy to understand advice is second to none. He is our first point of call in dealing with complex commercial matters and contracts. His demeanour in client meetings is exceptional and I would have no hesitation in having him attend meetings on our behalf.”

“The unique ability of the team of Robert Riddell and Daniel Fitzpatrick to carefully consider the clients’ needs and deliver on that basis. To provide a very clear understanding of options and possible outcomes.”

“Daniel Fitzpatrick has been a huge reason for our company surviving a very difficult time. His approach and dedication dragged me personally and my company through a period where we thought that an ongoing case may end us financially. He gained the best outcome at every stage. I never felt as though he was not part of our team, and more so was the driver behind the successful results achieved at every critical stage.”

“Robert Riddell provided the upper management to make sure Daniel was given adequate support to allow our case to run so smoothly. He was there for me whenever needed.”

Corporate and M&A

Piper Alderman offers a range of corporate expertise across its broad national team, advising clients on complex transactions, cross-border considerations, corporate governance, and takeover panel issues. The team is active in healthcare and life sciences, transport, technology, food and beverages, and natural resources deals, with many containing complex technical aspects or foreign ownership. Adelaide-based co-head James Dickson has a strong focus on mergers, acquisitions and takeovers (both for bidders and targets) in Australia, while Melbourne co-head James Macdonald is active in transactional and corporate advisory work. Adelaide’s Bianca Jennings (nee Battistella) is noted for her expertise in foreign investment approvals. Lis Boyce joined the team in February from Dentons.

“Able to tailor advice to a company’s size and specific requirements. Timely and clear advice. Partners Sarah Clarke and Josh Steele have both provided outstanding service.”

“The team is always very responsive and makes a big effort to understand our businesses and what our definition of what a successful outcome looks like.”

“I have worked with Alasdair McLean for four years now and always found him exceptional to deal with. He takes time to understand our issues and the intricacies of our businesses. I find the personal approach, genuine interest, and care of great value and reassurance.”

“The Corporate team is well-led by James Dickson, who allows his team members to shine in their own right, having the well-founded self-confidence to feel no need to dominate all client interaction, while at the same time having an equally well-founded confidence in the legal and commercial judgment of his colleagues.”

“James Dickson is a voice of calm assurance. He is also gracious in bringing in his expert colleagues in other areas of the practice when they have something to add.”

“I was impressed with their depth of knowledge and ability to apply this to unconventional areas, and particularly impressed with the level of interaction internally to provide solutions.”

“Lis Boyce is very commercial, personally engaged, quick to call in further expertise from within the firm where required. Lis has been actively involved in our matters and has helped us resolve several difficult situations with investors relating to contract technicalities, debt and equity maturity, and conversion, adjustment of shareholdings, deal documentation.”

Dispute resolution: litigation

A top performer in the corporate and commercial litigation space, Piper Alderman prides itself on its work in the class action space, where it benefits from being at the forefront of third-party litigation funding. The group is adept at handling white-collar crime proceedings and corporate litigation; former managing partner and practice head Gordon Grieve and Simon Morris (both based in Sydney) are names to note in this regard. The department is jointly led by Anne Freeman and Ian Nathaniel, based respectively in Sydney and Melbourne. Greg Whyte leads the team in Brisbane and specialises in managing complex litigation and disputes, with an emphasis on corporate disputes, class actions, professional negligence and insurance. The Melbourne-based group strengthened its trust and estate litigation expertise with the appointment of Louise Gehrig from Thomson Geer in March 2020.

“Piper Alderman has a team with a wide range of experience across commercial litigation. The firm has a skilled group of litigation solicitors, who are a pleasure to deal with. They also have good insight and judgment across commercial litigation generally, as well as particular experience in class actions.”

“Simon Morris is an outstanding intellect and an extremely capable manager of complicated litigation. He stands out for his strategic insight and intellectual clarity.”

“The team is gaining a real presence in class action litigation. Unlike most of its competitors, it acts for both plaintiffs and defendants which provides the firm with a unique insight.”

“Martin del Gallego is developing a real specialism in representative proceedings.”

“Compared to other firms, in my experience, the Piper Alderman litigation practice is very experienced in both preparing and running cases. They have strong relationships with and work well with barristers that they brief and they are also very good at managing clients both in terms of the legal issues and the process of the case. They apply the correct amount of resourcing to the case.”

“Simon Morris is a very good and experienced litigation partner. He is across the detail of his cases, and brings significant intellectual input to both the legal analysis and strategic direction of the case. He also heads a talented team of senior and junior associates.”

Energy (transactions and regulatory)

Piper Alderman specialises in complex and innovative energy projects, advising clients on developments in renewable energy transmission and storage, hybrid and virtual power generation, and district energy schemes. The team is geographically diverse and acts on matters across Australia utilising expertise from across the firm. Sydney’s Gordon Grieve co-heads the team and is a highly experienced energy sector lawyer. Adelaide-based co-head Martin Lovell focuses on energy transmission infrastructure projects and market-leading renewable energy and battery storage schemes. advising on transactional and regulatory elements. Also based in Adelaide, Kathryn Walker takes the lead on planning, approvals, and cultural heritage-related advice. Sydney’s Sina Kassra has a number of energy and oil & gas clients, supporting them in transactions and commercial matters. The team was bolstered by the arrival of internationally experienced energy projects specialist John Doyle from an in-house position in 2020.

“Multidisciplinary firm covering all aspects of the energy sector with highly skilled practitioners.”

“The team has a great balance of experienced individuals and willing young lawyers. They are trained really well to respond to in-house needs and always provide practical, implementable advice.”

Martin Lovell is magic circle quality but based in Adelaide; you can’t get better than that.”

“Piper Alderman has a great depth of experience in relation to commercial advice on regulatory and transactional matters in the natural resources industries, and particularly in oil and gas. Its deep understanding of the sector makes it the go-to firm for oil and gas matters across Australia.”

“I have greatly valued the collegiate approach to all matters commercial that I have worked on with the firm.”

Financial services regulatory 

The regulatory compliance and investigations team at Piper Alderman advises on a number of areas in the financial services regulatory space, including commercial arrangements involving financial services providers, lending transactions, and securities enforcement. Andrea Beatty leads the team from Sydney; her specialisms include consumer credit, payment systems, privacy, licence applications, regulatory compliance projects, and audits. In team news, casino regulation and gaming law specialist Chris Lyons was promoted to partner in July 2019.

Intellectual property

Piper Alderman provides comprehensive support to domestic and international clients in IP enforcement, protection, and strategic expansion matters. Headed up by Tim Clark out of the Melbourne-based office, the team has an especially strong reputation in the contentious space, where recent highlights show strengths in patent and trade mark infringement litigation and trade secrets claims. The practice group also has an impressive track record in patent and trade make oppositions and appeals. Another key figure is Tim O’Callaghan in Adelaide (an ‘adaptable and personable’ attorney), who handles trade mark registration and portfolio management for corporate clients and has experience acting alongside international counsel in disputes involving foreign litigants.

“They can deliver creative solutions and tools to assist combat counterfeit.”

“Tim O’Callaghan works with clients to tailor solutions. Tim is also adaptable and personable.”

Labour and employment

Piper Alderman’s employee relations department maintains a strong stream of work in the eastern states in addition to a dominance in its traditional southern heartland, drawing clients from corporate entities and well-known public sector organisations. Melbourne-based practice head Tim Lange has specialist experience handling matters involving heavily unionised workforces. Other key names in the team include Sydney-based Tim Capelin and Erin McCarthy in Adelaide and newly made up partner Ben Motro in Sydney.

“The team’s very prompt response to an urgent request for assistance was very much appreciated. The advice is always practical and sound.”

“Tim Lange was always available, be it over the weekend or just in the evening, and prompt in responding to queries even when the response could have waited. His thorough understanding of employment laws and how they are applied by courts and tribunals were very useful”

“Pragmatic team, technically strong.”

“Tim Lange – takes time to understand business drivers, pragmatic. Good availability.”

“The team at Pipers understands our business and is quick to provide us with advice and support. Their advice is accurate, timely, and presented in a clear and understandable manner.”

“Erin McCarthy’s knowledge is excellent and it is never too much trouble for her to share this and she ensures that we have a good understanding of the advice provided.”

“Tim Capelin seems to be available to assist us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and has never let us down. He is a valuable extension to our company.”

“The team that I work with are responsive to our needs. We have required assistance with little notice and the team has rallied and been available to us. I appreciate the way they work together and the fact that I can communicate with different team members and know that I am being accurately informed and that they are all across the matter. The team is organised and so builds confidence with us as their client. They provide updated information when necessary and ensure that we are prepared for hearings or the submission of documents in a timely manner.”

‘The individuals are very strong communicators and make themselves available at any time we need them. They are responsive, organised, and always have a full understanding of the relevant matter. The team members I work with are understanding of my lack of legal training and at times understanding, they ensure I am fully informed and have any questions answered in a timely manner.‘

“Tim Lange provides very practical commercial advice which is always on point. The thing that makes Tim different is that he focuses on building the relationship and growing capability with his clients and doesn’t bill for every interaction like some legal firms.”

“They have access to a great team and can handle every legal question in-house using their internal resources and knowledge. Have always received a prompt response with a timeline given as to when I can expect an answer. Very friendly and approachable team. Understand big and small businesses and create a “family-like” atmosphere for clients.”

“Strong attention to detail, while appreciating context. Excellent technical legal analysis coupled with sound commercial nous.”

“Erin McCarthy, in particular, is amazing She can converse with our managers, board, HR team and executive and convey information in real terms that people understand. She is down to earth, has a sense of humour, and gets our business because has taken time to learn about our operations and risk appetite etc. Erin also has provided our teams with training many times over the years to help us prevent IR issues and also ensured our business is provided with information ahead of legislative changes to ensure we are prepared and compliant. People feel comfortable working with Erin because she has a really practical approach and has built strong and trusting relationships with our key stakeholders. We can always trust Erin to have our best interests at heart.”

“The depth of understanding of our business and the employment law that is unique to our industry is second to none. The team is a trusted and reliable partner for our business.”

“David Ey and Erin McCarthy excel in their responsiveness, their knowledge of our business, their judgement, the quality of their advice, timeliness, and professionalism. They give advice that we trust and to top it all off, they are nice people to deal with.”

“Tim Capelin is professional, knowledgeable, and very capable of resolving complex matters.”

“Tim Lange’s approach makes me feel safer when navigating difficult situations. This is because of his calm, considered approach.”

“Professional, straight to the point. Not leveraging time with clients. Warm and welcoming approach. Industrial law strength but also how this applies to organisations and practical management strategies.”

“Emily Haar is very approachable for thoughts and opinions as to strategic plan. Business focused and Emily works with the client to minimise risk.”

Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) 

Piper Alderman works with a wide variety of minerals and mining companies, including mid-sized to major domestic and international entities, supporting clients across commercial, regulatory, strategic, and contentious matters. Areas of expertise include transactions, exploration approvals and development agreements, project financing and operations, and dispute resolution. Adelaide-based Practice head Ashley Watson advises resource companies on the life-cycle of projects, including land access agreements, infrastructure, and downstream elements, as well as working with clients on environmental obligations. Brisbane’s Josh Steele specialises in public and private transactions for resources clients, alongside capital markets equity raisings for projects.

“Responsive and succinct.”

“Availability and professionalism.”

“Multi-disciplined legal team with offices and people in multiple cities. culture is adaptable to our sized company and business.”

“Josh Steele is our main commercial lawyer and he has taken upon himself to get a deep understanding of our business and people; in some ways, we see Josh as an employee rather than a consultant and that is the way it should be. He is available 24/7 and understands when mission-critical activities arise that he needs to be on top of them and deliver which he does to the highest standard. His work and advice have been flawless.”

“Breadth of expertise and specialist skills to draw on across various disciplines under one large roof.”

“Practical solutions and approaches to complex issues, looking not only at the legal interpretation but the commercial goals and coming up with solutions rather than hurdles.”

Real estate

Clients of Piper Alderman’s ‘passionate, knowledgeable, reliable, and relatable‘ team include REITs, institutional investors, developers, local authorities, quarry operators, landlords, and tenants. The team prides itself on its ability to identify the legal and commercial risks of developments and is notably busy on the leasing front where it holds distinguished knowledge of strata title schemes. Brisbane-based Warren Denny, reputed for his transaction and disputes proficiency, ‘leads the department very well’. Asset class expertise is spread across office, industrial, retail, hotel, and residential in addition to more niche sectors such as rural property, mining, and aged care.

“I have dealt with Tony Britten-Jones and Rhianne Caruso for various real estate issues and both are always prompt in resolving matters. I am able to contact them directly.”

“The Property Team’s biggest strength is their attentiveness and ability to respond in a non-legalistic manner.”

“Warren Denny leads the team very well and Caitlyn Slater is very responsive.”

“Quick knowledgeable response. In-depth knowledge and availability.”

“Tony Britten-Jones stands out due to his knowledge and efficiency. He does not run up a client”

“The Piper Alderman Real Estate team is passionate, knowledgeable, reliable, and relatable. Those characteristics, together with the quality of the work that they execute, gain the trust of their clients and their professional colleagues across all sectors.”

“Mark Askin is a committed and skilled practitioner, with a passion for the real estate industry. His breadth of knowledge is facilitated by his awareness of the diversity of the industry and his preparedness to engage with professional colleagues to achieve the best outcomes. He is constant in his desire and capacity to absorb more in the pursuit of real estate and legal best practice.”

“Mark Askin always aims to please. Bright, energetic – a real star!”

“Piper Alderman has a strong team of lawyers who provide excellent service.”

“Margot King is an excellent lawyer, very thorough, and someone who provides outstanding service.”

Restructuring and insolvency

Active across markets in Melbourne, Sydney, and Adelaide, the restructuring and insolvency team at Piper Alderman is distinguished by its expertise in the SME market. Practice head Michael Lhuede continues to act in multiple insolvencies, and regularly advises banks and lenders on security enforcement. Other key team members include Joanne Hardwick in Melbourne and Mike Hayes in Adelaide.

“Small but very proactive team with excellent knowledge of both corporate and personal insolvency. One of Adelaide’s leading insolvency practices.”

“Outcome-focused, pleasant to deal with, breadth of resources, knowledgeable staff.”

“Technically very good, practical advice, courage to give advice you might not like.”

“Strong reputable firm, specialists in insolvency matters.”

“Michael Lhuede – prompt, strong commercial advice and reasoning. Joanne Hardwick – litigator with a great understanding of legal application and principles.”

“Professional, confident and willing to work hard to achieve a result.”

“Immediate access to partners in respect of legal advice. A service ethos in dealing with clients and as a business one that is willing to adapt, change and seek improvements to the way it does business.”

“The practice has a wide range of knowledge and the partners are prepared to seek support and refer you to the appropriate partner.”

“Their ability to listen to your instructions and communicate where you stand in law and support your view and way forward.”

Source: The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific: Australia