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The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: Australia, 2022 edition

13/01/2022

The Legal 500 has today released its Asia Pacific rankings for the 2022 edition and Piper Alderman has been recognised across 12 areas of law including Construction, Corporate and M&A, Data Protection, Dispute resolution: Class actions, Dispute resolution: Litigation, Energy (transactions and regulatory), Financial services regulatory, Intellectual property, Labour and employment, Natural resources (transactions and regulatory), Real estate and Restructuring and 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.

2022 Rankings

Construction

Headquartered in Adelaide, Piper Alderman’s team specialises in assisting various parties with construction contracts, including EPC, D&C and alliance contracting. The firm is particularly focused on transport and transmission infrastructure projects. Martin Lovell handles energy, infrastructure and real estate projects on behalf of contractors, public sector bodies and large developers. Currently he is involved in the $2.28bn electricity interconnector project in New South Wales. Fellow partner Kathryn Walker stands out for her expertise in renewable energy projects, including major solar, wind and hybrid developments. In Melbourne, partner Megan Calder is known for handling frontend and backend work across the spectrum of construction law.

Martin Lovell, Juniper Watson and their team provide fantastic service and a high quality product.  Nothing is too difficult for them and they consistently deliver.’

‘For us, the consistency of the product provided and the availability of Martin and Juniper make them stand out.  We also work with a lot of East Coast firms, and we find that the product provided by Martin and Juniper is definitely of the same standard, if not better than the East Coast.’

‘Full service firm that delivers.  Good value, efficient, high quality.’

Corporate and M&A

Piper Alderman has expanded its M&A footprint with the opening of a new Perth-based office, giving the firm a national offering. Additionally, the team was bolstered by the addition of Sydney-based Lis Boyce from Dentons, giving the firm new capabilities within healthcare and life sciences. Elsewhere, the team advises a variety of clients, including mid-sized companies, family offices and investment funds, focusing on areas such as the energy, financial services, private equity and agribusiness arenas. The team is led by Adelaide’s James Dickson and Melbourne’s James Macdonald, both experienced in M&A and broader corporate advice, including hostile takeover matters.

‘Very commercial and pragmatic. More like advisers with a legal lens than pure lawyers.’

James Macdonald is very good and is supported by capable associates.’

‘Knowledgeable and hands-on.’

‘Big enough to have deep niche expertise but small enough to provide personal service.’

‘Very extensive experience in the Resources sector and has a deep understanding of the critical issues. This is especially important with the legal construction of joint venture agreements and ensuring one’s interests are protected.’

‘Reliable and efficient. They are well versed in the area and often come up with inventive and intelligent solutions. They are timely with all advice and often complete work before the required time.’

‘Intelligent, personable and reliable. They go above and beyond to service their client’s needs.’

‘I worked very closely with Bianca Jennings on multiple transactions. Her expertise with the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act and familiarity with the Foreign Investment Review Board were absolutely critical to the successful completion of our transactions. Her ability to educate me and our transaction team on the issues was absolutely fantastic.‘

Data protection

Piper Alderman has a strong focus on the IT and financial services sectors, advising on privacy and commercial data considerations, alongside maintaining an incident response offering. The team is led by Melbourne’s Tim Clark , who advises IT clients on data protection and privacy policies, data breach notifications and data collection practices, as well as data considerations for IT contracts, alongside Sydney’s Andrea Beatty, who specialises in the financial services sector and has a focus on incident responses, particularly relating to ransomware attacks.

‘The firm has strengths in a number of key areas that our business utilises from time to time. I like that my main contact organises other expert advice from within the firm as required after consulting with me on estimated time and cost to do so.’

‘Piper Alderman has been instrumental in the legal aspects of our offering to clients. Flexibility and awareness allow us to add real value to our client’s needs and there is always the willingness to accommodate most situations.’

‘We have found Piper Alderman to work well together to support our legal needs. It is evident that there are different specialties within the Piper Alderman team but our legal needs are managed seamlessly.’

Andrea Beatty was fantastic support to the business when we were dealing with a cyber-security breach. She was always available and provided expert guidance on the Privacy Act implications and communication strategies.’

‘Our partner Tim Clark has taken the time and interest to intimately understand our business and our highly specialised industry, and this makes for rapid consideration and response to our legal matters.’

Dispute resolution: class actions

The dispute resolution and litigation team at Piper Alderman undertakes class actions for both plaintiffs and defendants, with particular strengths in shareholder and financial mandates. The team is also adept at acting for litigation funders. The Brisbane team is led by Greg Whyte, while Martin del Gallego is also a name of note in Sydney.

‘The team are highly engaged and efficient, quickly turning around good quality work product and effectively managing a number of complex matters.’

‘Piper Alderman’s class action team has breadth and depth and covers multiple AU jurisdictions. This makes it a “one stop shop” and obvious go to for funded class actions.’

‘The stand-out class actions partner in Sydney is Martin del Gallego, who combines energy and enthusiasm with experience and expertise gained in AU and overseas.’

‘The partner and senior associate team members of Piper Alderman (particularly in Brisbane) has been a stable and consistent group for a number of years. This kind of legacy provides certainty, familiarity, and consistent business relationships. A key benefit this long standing team is that there is accountability and ownership by all its members, which not only results in quality legal work but also excellent client service and communication. The team (and firm) is also willing and proactive in discussing commercial billing structures/arrangements.’

‘Intelligent, commercial, inventive, strategically focused, accountable, practical and genuine.

‘High level of competence in the practice area; work for both applicants and respondents; experience in running cases to trial; ability to deploy significant resources to meet deadlines.’

Martin del Gallego is very user-friendly. He is a good strategic thinker, calm and capable.’

Martin del Gallego is gaining a real profile in the class actions space.’

Dispute resolution: litigation

Anne Freeman and Ian Nathaniel co-lead the dispute resolution team at Piper Alderman from Sydney and Melbourne, respectively. The team has a strong focus on working with third party litigation funders, and is experienced in class actions and insolvency, construction and IP claims. In Sydney, Gordon Grieve and Simon Morris are adept at handling white-collar crime cases and commercial litigation. Greg Whyte, who focuses on corporate litigation, class actions, professional negligence cases and infrastructure disputes, leads the Brisbane team.

‘The team members are all intelligent, commercial, strategic, accountable and practical. Having lawyers that are prepared to stand by their advice is important (particularly to corporate clients). The team has also been working together for well over 5 years and this longevity differentiates them positively in comparison to firms with high turn overs. As a client, knowing that the team you started litigation with is the same team that you will be finishing with is reassuring.’

‘The dispute resolution/litigation team at Piper Alderman, and in particular in their Sydney and Brisbane offices, has an enviable track record in commercial litigation in all major jurisdictions in Australia (as well as significant experience in the UK courts). The senior team members are all highly experienced and tactically astute practitioners, who are deeply committed to successfully developing and mentoring their impressive team of younger lawyers; this commitment to development ensures the all-important quality and thoroughness of the preparation for legal disputes.’

Anne Freeman is second to none in client service. Goes above and beyond to maintain the highest quality of legal services and strives for the best outcome. Excellent communication skills, strong leadership and good to work with.’

Ian Nathaniel is an approachable and thoughtful lawyer. He is strategic in outlook and practical in approach.’

Simon Morris has decades of experience and a cool head.’

Martin del Gallego brings energy, enthusiasm and overseas experience to the team.’

‘In Simon Morris I have been most struck by his pragmatic, unruffled way of approaching challenging situations. The quality of the work is very high from a legal analytical perspective, but what makes him a bit different from many practitioners is a strong and immediate practical sense of what the realistic range of outcomes will be in litigation. He has a very good feel for a case.’

Greg Whyte is highly skilled and has very good judgement, as well as extensive experience in handling large commercial disputes.’

Gordon Grieve is a very savvy and experienced litigator. Keeps an eye on the main game, and is unflappable in court. High level of competence on legal issues.’

Energy (transactions and regulatory)

Piper Alderman specialises in complex transmission infrastructure and battery storage projects. It is also known for advising clients on electricity connection arrangements, M&A and disputes relating to energy and resources developments in Australia. Furthermore, the firm has significant experience in upstream and downstream oil and gas projects taking place in South Australia and Queensland, in which it provides transactional and regulatory support. Martin Lovell, based in Adelaide, stands out for his strong credentials across the electricity sector, particularly in relation to project financing and agreements enabling the transition to green energy. Fellow Adelaide partner Kathryn Walker frequently handles the commercial aspects of infrastructure and renewable energy projects, whereas Sydney partner Sina Kassra is a go-to lawyer for energy clients engaged in capital markets transactions, mergers and acquisitions.

‘We have found our ongoing engagement with Piper Alderman’s Energy Practice seamless. Seamless in the sense that when matters arise across the entire spectrum of legal advice covering areas such as commercial transactions, M&A activities, JOAs, FIRB , tenure / landholder and native title, there is always an expert available with the expertise and network to bring about outcomes. That is crucial for us as a client to know that we have partnered with a law firm that we can rely on and trust to act in our best interest no matter what the issue is.’

‘The experience of the team involved, hands on by senior Partners. Results and strategic focused ’

‘Genuine, actually interested and real actual experience in the case, not just another number.’

‘This team is ‘magic circle’ quality, but in Adelaide. You can’t get better than that.’

Martin Lovell is an excellent lawyer, incredible hardworking, commercially astute and a market leader in the Energy sector, not just in South Australia, but Australia wide. He really takes the time to understand the business and to deliver high quality outcomes.’

‘What we are looking for in our legal team is a highly specialized group of professionals who are prepared to take instructions on what outcomes are required to move a project along. These projects may take many years to evolve into reality. A well connected team of professionals is absolutely essential in the energy sector. Piper Alderman have the right approach, contacts and knowledge in the energy sector to add a great deal of value to our complicated projects.’

‘We have no hesitation in putting Kathryn Walker in the top 5% of legal professionals we currently deal with. She ‘gets’ it she doesn’t need to be educated in the planning and energy sectors which relate to our projects and she takes the lead. Outcome focused from day one, understanding our strengths and weaknesses being prepared to work in a team to deliver projects is important to us.’

Martin and his team are approachable and are commercial. I appreciate their ability to provide me with a quick and easy to understand solutions to complex commercial problems I present.’

Financial services regulatory

The financial services and fintech team at domestic Australian firm Piper Alderman advises major domestic and international financial institutions, funds, and fintech start-ups across a broad range of financial regulatory matters. These include regulatory investigations and disputes, licence applications, payment systems, investment schemes, and crypto-asset exchanges. Headed by regulatory authority Shannon Adams at the Adelaide office, the team has used the ‘Paid by Coins’ payment gateway to allow clients to pay for service with leading cryptocurrencies. The group is backed by veteran commercial litigator Simon Morris, risk management expert Andrea Beatty and Michael Bacina in Sydney, and investment scheme specialist James Dickson in Adelaide.

‘Extensive experience in the payments industry and financial services generally coupled with excellent legal skills. Client communication is excellent and they are always available, often at short notice, to assist and provided advice.’

Michael Bacina and his team go above and beyond to deliver the best advice and executes well. Piper Alderman demonstrates exemplary service and conduct in the legal field.’

‘This practice is somewhat unique in that it is a mid-tier national firm based in Adelaide. These qualities enable it to be properly resourced without the bureaucracies of the largest firms in that you are able to deal with a senior partner without delegation of functions to junior recruits and, in addition, being based in Adelaide enables lower relative fee scales.’

James Dickson is a stand-out partner due to his high level of legal expertise, commerciality and ability to deliver outcomes from complex situations involving multi-counter-party legal teams. He is highly accessible and his response times are quick which contributes to exceptional outcomes which has not been the case with other legal firms that I have dealt with/observed in practice. It is also helpful that he is passionate and dedicated to legal practice.’

Intellectual property

Spread across the firm’s offices in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide, Piper Alderman’s practice has strengths in conducting a range of IP work including patents, trade marks, copyright and designs for public and private companies, government agencies, research organisations and charities based in Australia and internationally. Life sciences, food and beverages, and technology are core focus areas of the team. Tim Clark is head of the IP practice and leads the Melbourne team; he primarily undertakes transactional and non-contentious work in the telecoms and life-science sectors. Tim O’Callaghan leads the team from the Adelaide office and has expertise in portfolio management and protection; he also supports clients in the defence sector. Sarah Johnson left the firm in June 2021 and Eilish Gigney has been promoted to special counsel.

Labour and employment

The employment relations practice at Piper Alderman has a national presence across Australia with strength in advising clients on bespoke employment law needs. Practice head Tim Lange has expertise in advising clients from the professional services, health, transport, retail and telecoms arenas and is based in Melbourne with Chris Hartigan. Joe Murphy was recruited from Australian Business Lawyers in 2021 to join Tim Capelin and Ben Motro in Sydney, while Erin McCarthy is based in Adelaide. 2021 also saw the team expanding with the opening of its Perth office when Shane Entriken joined from Allion Partners, and Emily Haar‘s promotion to the partnership. David Ey retired.

‘The team has a diverse range of knowledge, experience and services to cover our needs. Billing is efficient and there is strong collaborative partnership in our shared work in profession development and advice.’

‘I couldn’t recommend the Piper Alderman Labour and employment team high enough. They are leaders in their field in terms of their depth of knowledge and expertise.’

‘Family spirit and small but dedicated team. Fast response time and always willing to help. There is always an expert on hand for any given question. Taking good care of clients.’

‘Always available, great communication if there could be a delay in assisting. Always responsive, no follow up needed. Great help especially from Ben Motro in all HR matters.’

‘Highly professional, experts in employment law, highly responsive. They listen and quickly interpret what you are seeking, they are not afraid to clarify if need be. You can build relationships with them, and thus is critical as it saves time when seeking advice. They know how to prepare the response and in what tone and language. Their advice is easy to understand and interpret.’

‘I have worked closely with Ben Motro for a number of years now, and no matter how small of an issue, Ben always provides an outcome with our best interest in mind. Ben is an expert in his field and is not afraid to educate you and make recommendations on how we can minimise our risk when it comes to employment.’

Tim Lange is exceptional in terms of his practical advice and his deep expertise. What makes him different is that he has a focus on building his client’s capability and so works as a true partner in this space.’

Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) 

Piper Alderman’s natural resources team focuses primarily on the corporate and commercial aspects of mining projects throughout Australia, including gold, uranium, coal, and phosphate ventures. It also has a niche in supporting quarrying companies extracting aggregates and sands across Australia, providing the raw materials required for construction projects. Ashley Watson, who is based in Adelaide, has a wealth of experience in gold exploration and mining projects, in which he tends to provide advice on tenements, land access, infrastructure, production and all downstream activities. Fellow Adelaide partner Sarah Clarke specialises in M&A and capital raising; she is also experienced in metals marketing and sales. Brisbane partner Josh Steele advises clients on business and asset acquisitions, capital raisings, joint ventures and operational issues.

‘Piper Alderman has been a pleasure to work with and I would highly recommend them to anyone wishing to engage legal services in the Resources Industry. In particular, we require quick turnaround times on legal advice as our commercial deals tend to progress at a significant pace and deals/transactions can be compromised if not advanced in a timely manner. Piper Alderman has consistently met my required deadlines and turnaround times and have provided thorough and considered advice.’

‘I have mainly worked with Sarah Clarke from the Adelaide office. I have valued her input on a number of deals and transactions to ensure that all likely issues are dealt with upfront, avoiding misunderstanding and ill-feeling when potential issues are not dealt with in the appropriate documentation. Sarah has drawn on a wealth of experience to assist with both corporate transactions and compliance with regulatory bodies particularly in the public, listed company space. Her timely response to enquiries and turnaround time of documents has always been outstanding.’

‘Pragmatic, accommodating’

‘With the merger of Watsons Lawyers into the Piper Alderman practice, the depth and width of experience in Mining/Resources law is very valuable. The practice is very capable of dealing with the needs of mining and exploration companies.’

Sarah Clarke has a wide range of experience in servicing clients in the resources/mining industry. While I have worked with her only in a limited capacity in recent times, she always makes herself available and is a pleasure to work with.’

Real estate

Piper Alderman advises a diverse range of clients, including institutional investors, developers, landlords and tenants, in relation to leasing transactions, risk management and project development. Brisbane partner Mark Askin and Adelaide partner Adam Rinaldi lead the team, specialising in real estate transactions, including leasing, acquisitions, and sales. Mark Askin has a strong reputation of advising property institutions and REITs in relation to capital transactions. In Sydney, Margot King is a standout partner, given her depth of expertise in urban renewable and infrastructure projects, in which she focuses primarily on risk assessment.

‘Piper Alderman are experts in their field and are prompt and efficient when dealing with Leases and Tenants.’

‘Diversity is strong with a good mix of people from different backgrounds. Collaboration is very good. High level of interaction.’

‘Very knowledgeable and great team to work with; tasks are always completed in a cost-effective and timely manner.’

Mark Askin is an outstanding individual, he has great knowledge and is a relationship builder. Mark has really added value to our organisation.’

Restructuring and insolvency

Piper Alderman has notable expertise in the national SME market, assisting a variety of medium-sized businesses in the financial services, tourism, and logistics industries. The team is also involved in insolvency-related litigation, as well as cross-border restructurings and financial claims. Melbourne’s Michael Lhuede heads up the team, and is active as an adviser and an advocate in complex liquidations and insolvency cases, with Joanne Hardwick also noted for her work with insolvency practitioners, directors and shareholders. In Adelaide, Mike Hayes handles a diverse range of insolvency work, while the Brisbane office was bolstered by the arrival of Joel Shaw from Thomson Geer in early 2021.

‘Flexibility and ability to make decisions, provide advice on the fly, so to speak.’

Michael Lhuede – very knowledgeable and has a willingness and ability to assist.’

‘The partners of Piper Alderman provide strong technical and commercial skills in the area of insolvency and reconstruction.’

‘A true expertise in bankruptcy. A real focus on technical insolvency law. Strong in the mid-market.’

Michael Lhuede and Joanne Hardwick are a collaborative and complementary partner team with a combined technical expertise and commercial approach.’

‘The Piper Alderman team has a wide range of skills in the restructuring and insolvency space, ranging from commercial to technical and as such can assist an insolvency practitioner with almost every situation.’

Source: The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific: Australia https://www.legal500.com/c/australia/