The Legal 500 Asia Pacific: Australia, 2024 edition


The Legal 500 has released its Asia Pacific rankings for the 2024 edition and Piper Alderman has been recognised across 14 areas of law including Corporate and M&A, Data protection, Dispute resolution: Class actions, Dispute resolution: Litigation, Energy (transactions and regulatory), Environment and planning, Fintech and Financial services regulatory, Infrastructure projects and construction, Intellectual property, Labour and employment, Labour and employment: workplace health and safety (WHS), 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.

2024 Rankings

Corporate and M&A

With offices in Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, the corporate and M&A practice at Piper Alderman attracts clients from across key sectors in the Australian market, including private equity, health and life sciences, and energy and natural resources. James Dickson has significant experience in corporate structuring as well as mergers, acquisitions and takeovers; he co-leads the group with James Macdonald, who specialises in disposals, venture capital and corporate governance.

‘I found the Piper Alderman team extremely professional, knowledgeable and collaborative. The team was approachable and available at all times, and they were very solution focused, which was extremely valuable in a very stressful business divestment. I had 100% trust in their advice and recommendations, and I really enjoyed working with them.’

‘PA provides services with professionalism at a reduced cost to the bigger legal firms. They are focused and diligent, and can think outside the box when needed. They also operate with great efficiency.’

James Dickson is our go-to partner for any corporate or M&A work. He is responsive and pragmatic. He provides excellent advice, always through a commercial rather than legalistic lens.’

‘The practice is solutions focussed, practical and commercially minded.’

‘Pragmatic, commercial, capable, cost-effective.’

‘Consistently displayed exemplary skills, expertise, and dedication for our matter.’

‘With excellent communication skills, both written and verbal. Their ability to explain complex legal concepts in a clear and concise manner, ensured we fully understood our rights, options, and the potential outcomes. ‘

‘Always had our best interests in mind. We felt the communication for their quoting and billing aligned and there were no unknown costs or concerns during the period we dealt with the team.’

Data protection

Tim Clark and Andrea Beatty lead the privacy and data protection team at Piper Alderman, from Melbourne and Sydney respectively. With expertise in areas including spam legislation as it applies to marketing activities and workplace surveillance, the team represents clients within Australia and internationally, supported by overseas associates. Notably, it has particular experience assisting clients setting up overseas businesses with understanding foreign data laws, including EU GDPR and the UK’s Data Protection Act. Beatty acts for a range of financial services clients and Clark has extensive intellectual property protection experience.

‘Piper Alderman are responsive, able to shift work across team members based on specific skill sets and areas of expertise, and are willing to understand a company so that they can provide the most appropriate advice.’

Tim Clark and his team were very responsive, delivered on time, and also responded to specific feedback and scenarios in order to tailor the advice.’

‘Piper Alderman assisted us greatly with a privacy breach situation, providing timely and clear advice, and guiding us through the necessary response steps – providing a holistic solution.’

‘Collaborative and proactive matter management.’

‘Working with the practice is always easy and engaging. There’s a great team spirit and ‘can do’ attitude.’

Dispute resolution: class actions

The dispute resolution and litigation team at Piper Alderman acts in class actions on both the plaintiff and defendant side, with particular strength in cases in the financial services and life sciences industries. Martin del Gallego leads the team from Sydney, a commercial litigator with notable experience in cross-border class actions. Greg Whyte, in Brisbane, is noted for his ‘technical ability’, and Anne Freeman, in Sydney, is an ‘exceptional practitioner‘. Also in Sydney, Kate Sambrook made partner in January 2023, and has notable experience in the financial services sector.

‘Piper Alderman has grown into a mature litigation practice in Sydney, now running high-profile and high-value cases across various industries.’

Kate Sambrook is a highly experienced, efficient and driven practitioner. Martin Del Gallego is commercially minded, an excellent communicator and very approachable. Both Martin Del Gallego and Kate Sambrook are strategic and able to change tack quite quickly, which is invaluable in fast-paced litigation.’

‘They are all extremely well organised, efficient, engaged, strategic and reliable. Their work is a very high quality, and they are a pleasure to work with.’

Martin del Gallego is practical, easy to work with and has first-rate legal and commercial acumen. Lillian Rizio is super efficient and totally in control of her files; nothing is left to chance.’

‘The Piper Alderman Class Actions practice is a stand-out team of heavy-hitting litigators. With their exceptional level of experience and skill in representative proceedings, they are top-notch legal minds, strategists, advisors, negotiators and advocates.’

Greg Whyte is undoubtedly one of Australia’s top class actions practitioners. His technical ability and legal thinking is second to none, and he is genuinely passionate about his clients’ claims, working tirelessly to progress them in the most efficient and effective way. A true top-notch operator.’

Anne Freeman is an exceptional practitioner. With her wealth of class actions experience, she is a savvy litigator and strategist, a genuinely engaged advisor and a “safe pair of hands” for her clients. I would not hesitate to recommend Anne – both on the plaintiff and defendant side of the ledger.’

Kate Sambrook and Martin del Gallego are both star performers and Millie Byrnes-Howe is an excellent senior associate.’

Dispute resolution: litigation

The ‘commercially minded’ Martin del Gallego leads the Piper Alderman dispute resolution and litigation team from Sydney, with a wealth of experience in disputes involving financial services, insurance, energy and resources, and construction clients. Gordon Grieve in Sydney, is sought after for his ‘exceptional technical and tactical skills’, while Meriel Steadman is a key contact for the Perth office. In Sydney, the ‘highly experienced‘ Kate Sambrook was promoted to partner in January 2023.

‘Great technical understanding, coupled with high integrity.’

‘Piper Alderman’s litigation team is highly competent, trustworthy and responsive.’

Kate Sambrook is a highly experienced, efficient and driven practitioner, who is an absolute pleasure to work with.’

Martin del Gallego is commercially minded, an excellent communicator and very approachable.’

‘Both Martin del Gallego and Kate Sambrook are strategic and able to change tack quite quickly, which is invaluable in fast paced litigation.’

Gordon Grieve has exceptional technical and tactical skills, as well as range and depth of litigation experience not available in other firms I have dealt with. Greg Whyte is also an outstanding litigator with great commercial awareness. More recent partners McKenzie Moore and Caterina Meduri are already outstanding practitioners with a maturity of approach beyond their years of practice.’

McKenzie Moore is client focused, has good legal judgment, and is not a pushover.’

Anne Freeman is a great partner, all over the complexities of the case and the detail while keeping perspective and strategy in mind at all times. A very safe pair of hands.’

Energy (transactions and regulatory)

The ‘robust and well-rounded’ team at Piper Alderman demonstrates deep expertise in electricity and gas transmission and distribution infrastructure, connections, and generation project related matters. The practice is increasingly active on financing and development mandates concerning wind and solar farms, and hydrogen projects. Martin Lovell is a well known for his transactional and regulatory expertise, and his specialism in grid scale generation, battery projects, wind and solar farms and district energy schemes. Kathryn Walker and head of resources, Josh Steele are the key names to note within the team.

Piper Alderman distinguishes itself from other law firms through its deep knowledge base and approachability. The team is not only well-versed in all aspects of law, but they foster a relationship of trust and open communication. The team is robust and well-rounded, capable of addressing a wide array of legal issues.’

‘This firm has expert partners for various aspects of the oil and gas upstream sector.’

‘I have dealt with Piper Alderman in relation to energy industry matters for over thirty years. Their depth of experience in these matters is exceptionally broad and deep, and evidences a clear understanding of the commercial drivers of this sector.’

Josh Steele takes a very personable approach to his clients and has an excellent knowledge of the energy industry.’

Environment and Planning

The team at Piper Alderman, primarily based in Adelaide, exhibits broad expertise in due diligence, environmental enforcement, and regulatory aspects of major projects, with particular emphasis on environmental compliance requirements. Ashley Watson is a key contact for government authorities, while Kathryn Walker has deep knowledge of carbon capture and storage related issues, planning approvals, and water infrastructure matters. Sydney’s Paul Vergotis is experienced in advising clients on procedural matters falling under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation.

‘Piper Alderman’s Environment and Planning team has a strong network of qualified experts in the design and building industry and this gives them a competitive edge.’

‘The team stands out for their personable approach, drive to achieve positive outcomes, and efficient communication.’

‘Piper Alderman delivers a personalised intuitive service, providing exceptional and timely professional advice.’

‘A highly professional firm with very capable staff.’

‘I found the team to be very knowledgeable and easy to work with. The team members are very engaging and are prompt in answering emails and enquiries.’

Kathryn Walker is exceptional – competent, friendly and a great communicator.’

Kathryn Walker has provided an outstanding and exemplary service, she is highly knowledgeable, reactive, and personalised. Kathryn was always readily available to provide advice, was prompt, exact and clearly understood the processes to achieve to the desired outcomes.’

Paul Vergotis is very to the point and well versed in this field, offering strategic direction for matters.’

Fintech and Financial services regulatory

With Shannon Adams holding the reins in Adelaide, Piper Alderman leverages its ‘key relationships within the fintech and crypto industry’ to assist clients from the space with mandates such as capital raisings, security token issuances and Australian market entries. The team is also well placed to advise traditional financial institutions and fintech companies on an array of financial services regulatory, licensing and compliance work including anti-money laundering/counter-terrorism financing issues, regulatory investigations and disputes. In Sydney, digital law expert Michael Bacina leads the blockchain group; the former software developer combines technical know-how with regulatory and legal expertise. Financial services regulatory expert Andrea Beatty is equipped to handle front-end and back-end work related to ASIC investigations. Leading the Melbourne team is Steven Pettigrove whose practice extends to digital asset regulation.

‘The team has key relationships within the fintech and crypto industry that has streamlined the entire process.’

Michael Bacina was instrumental in driving our business forward. He had key relationships with everyone involved.’

‘Exceptional industry knowledge in blockchain/cryptocurrency; very practical and business-oriented solutions.’

Steven Pettigrove and Michael Bacina have good industry knowledge and give practical and business-oriented solutions.’

‘They are a truly excellent fintech team. Steven Pettigrove is a true expert in his field.’

‘Blockchain and decentralised technology is extremely complicated, and not just from a legal or regulatory perspective. There are only a handful of people in Australia who understand the technology well enough to give advice on it and Mike Bacina and Steven Pettigrove are leaders among them.’

Steven Pettigrove is very level headed and deep in the technology. He is able to give commercial advice that we trust because he actually understands what the big picture is and how Ethereum works.’

Infrastructure projects and construction

Piper Alderman continues to work with the government on a number of significant construction projects in the defence, health, transport and hydrogen sectors, including acting as the lead adviser on the $13bn Port Bonython Hydrogen Hub. In Adelaide, Martin Lovell is active in the development and funding of major infrastructure and construction projects, and Kathryn Walker has a strong focus on all forms of construction documentation, water infrastructure, planning, approvals and land access. Melbourne-based Megan Calder and Geoff Emmett are the other key figures.

‘Number of experienced practitioners, all very responsive. Excellent knowledge, but also provide practical solutions. Excellent value for money.’

‘The individuals I work with are exceptional in several ways and possess a unique combination of qualities and values that make them stand out. We appreciate their transparency and client-centric approach, extensive legal knowledge, fairness, problem-solving abilities, and unwavering commitment to serving their clients’ best interests.’

‘Piper Alderman stands out as a truly unique law firm in Australia, offering a distinctive blend of innovative thinking, sector-focused expertise, and a collaborative culture that sets it apart from the rest.’

Martin Lovell is the lawyer I ring when I have a bet-the-house judgement call to make. He is commercial, has a great gut instinct, understands the competitive tensions, and understands the business. When I need to emphasise a point internally, I add Martin’s name into the conversation.’

Geoff Emmett is exceptionally bright and a great lateral thinker.’

Megan Calder comes up with practical, down-to-earth solutions. Very responsive.’

‘The Piper Alderman infrastructure and projects team continue to impress me as we work together on more deals. There is depth on the bench, and the team is very well led by Martin Lovell. We have predominantly used Piper Alderman for our bet-the-house alliance deals, and we view them as our in-house lawyers.’

‘The practice has a broad depth of knowledge and expertise and all are very approachable. A very commercial approach to working through challenges.’

Intellectual property

Spread across Adelaide and Melbourne, Piper Alderman is a key contact for government, research organisations, and public and private companies on copyright, designs, patents, and trade marks. Co-head of the team Tim Clark is located in Melbourne and is knowledgeable of the intellectual property and commercial aspects of social media. Fellow co-head Tim O’Callaghan excels in IP protection and portfolio management, while Travis Shueard has been praised for his ‘outstanding knowledge’.

‘They are extremely knowledgeable and proactive. They always respond promptly to queries and have a knowledgeable support team to assist if our regular contacts are unavailable.’

‘The firm’s commitment to excellence is evident in every aspect of their service. Their responsiveness, efficiency, and thoroughness in handling our legal matters have been consistently remarkable.’

‘Their ability to adapt to our evolving needs and their willingness to go above and beyond have centered our trust in their capabilities.’

‘Their proactive approach to legal problem-solving has saved us valuable time and resources, enabling us to make well-informed decisions with confidence.’

‘Throughout our collaboration, we have been thoroughly impressed with the level of service and dedication the firm have consistently delivered.’

‘Their professionalism, attention to detail, and commitment to achieving favourable outcomes have surpassed our expectations.’

Travis Shueard has outstanding knowledge of our operation. He provided very detailed analysis as well as very clear and reliable advice.’

Labour and employment

With offices in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney, the labour and employment team at Piper Alderman advises organisations across a host of sectors, including health, transport, retail, telecoms and construction. With over 24 years of experience in employment law, practice head Tim Lange has expertise in a wide range of employment and industrial relations matters, covering terminations and unfair dismissals, anti-discrimination, employment contracts and industrial dispute resolution. Erin McCarthy has extensive knowledge of misconduct investigations, namely cases of bullying, discrimination and harassment. Other lawyers to note include Ben Motro, who has experience advising on and preparing employment contracts, deeds of release and enterprise agreements.

‘Piper Alderman’s employment practice is unique in our experience in that not only do you have exceptional access to their Partners, but the depth of knowledge across the team and the lack of silos ensures support is always available. ’

Tim Lange’s encyclopaedic knowledge of Australian employment law is matched only by his ability to think strategically from the inception of a matter.’

Ben Motro was an exceptional support through a series of challenging issues. Ben was always very easy to get a hold of, he has a great disposition which makes working with him an absolute pleasure.’

‘Very genuine and very approachable. They are also prompt with their responses, and the advice is always technically smart, tailored to our needs, and immensely helpful with our decision-making. We trust their advice.’

‘Personal service – consistency in advice, and working with a team that understands our business.’

‘Very knowledgeable team who are always willing to educate and share knowledge, explaining advice clearly and concisely. ’

Erin McCarthy – very easy to work with, pragmatic and patient.’

‘The law firm has unique capability in industrial relations.’

Labour and employment: workplace health and safety (WHS)

Piper Alderman’s expertise spans the gamut of WHS matters, from initial legal advice through to defence and prosecution. Under the guidance of practice head Shane Entriken, who leads from Perth, the team educates and advises their predominantly national client base – consisting of boards, employers, officers and regulators – on a range of health and safety matters. The strong bench includes Andrew Jonklaas, who advises on health and safety compliance, particularly within the mining, transport and energy industries, and Lauren Baker, whose practice blends strategic advice with disputes and court litigation services.

‘Each team member at Piper Alderman is exceptional.’

‘Piper Alderman is an excellent firm that gives generously to the community. They provide excellent pro bono service to many charities that need assistance.’

‘Their invaluable assistance extended to every stage, from conceptualization to seamless industry implementation.’

‘Few professionals exhibit the unique combination of insight, dedication, and leadership that Shane Entriken represents.’

Shane Entriken not only showcases a profound grasp of intricate legal affairs but also steers through complex challenges with remarkable finesse. His selfless dedication to clients’ concerns, coupled with a natural talent for pinpointing inventive resolutions, firmly establishes him in his field.’

Shane’s exceptional leadership prowess extends beyond the legal domain, prominently manifested through his pro bono endeavours. His active role in nurturing a culture of collaboration and advancement further underscores his outstanding leadership acumen.’

Natural resources (transactions and regulatory) 

Referred to as ‘reliable, knowledgeable and responsive‘, Piper Alderman fields a national, cross-practice team which assists a variety of clients in the energy sector who are involved in natural resources, mining, and minerals. Practice co-heads are Josh Steele in Brisbane, a key contact for corporate matters, and projects and finance lawyer Martin Lovell. Former practice head Ashley Watson is instrumental in the team’s work in this space, in particular when it comes to gold exploration and mining, tenements, land access, and infrastructure matters.

‘Reliable, knowledgeable and responsive. Partner-level access is excellent and the team is always available for timely advice in various disciplines.’

Josh Steele has consistently provided excellent commercially practical advice in a very timely manner.’

‘Straightforward commercial and legal advice for any scenario.’

Josh Steele and his team have provided us with another year of excellent service.’

Real estate

Labelled as a ‘strong and knowledgeable team’, Piper Alderman’s practice is a key contact for corporate entities, government authorities as well as institutional investors. Mark Askin co-leads the department from Brisbane and acts for listed property funds and private REITs in real estate capital transactions. Fellow co-head Adam Rinaldi in Adelaide is well versed in mixed-use projects, office developments and retail and commercial tenancies. Janet Wong in Melbourne is often engaged on industrial and residential developments.

‘The team provides appropriate advice in a timely manner. I feel that I am listened to when I make an enquiry and need advice.’

‘Attentive, accessible, and very good communicators.’

‘The Piper Alderman real estate team are diligent, hardworking, personable, and always listen to client’s needs.’

‘We have a very friendly and practical relationship with the partners and their associates which makes for effective and efficient outcomes.’

‘Each partner has an in-depth knowledge and knows how to apply this in a commercially practical way.’

‘They provide independent practical advice that has our best interests at heart. Their services are provided in a timely manner, and the team are flexible in their approach and listen to the outcomes needed.’

‘Piper Alderman provides practical commercial legal solutions. They are innovative in their advice and provide amazing, personalised customer service. Their staff are friendly and down to earth – a rare find in larger law firms.’

Mark Askin and his team take the time to really understand client needs which contributes to an overall better outcome. Mark’s communication is exceptional. He is extremely approachable and accessible – his service feels genuine.’

Restructuring and insolvency

The restructuring and insolvency practice at Piper Alderman is praised for its ‘depth of knowledge, attention to detail and understanding of the strategies that may be employed by opponents’. The team has been handling matters from a broad range of industries and geographies, including high-profile crypto-currency collapses, the administration of a gold miner and the navigation of bankruptcy trustees. Melbourne-based partner Michael Lhuede heads the practice and regularly appears before the courts in a range of contentious matters. Based in Adelaide, Mike Hayes has insolvency experience across of range of industries, including hospitality, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and retail. Mark Doble joined the team in October 2022.

‘The practice has a breadth of expertise across a range of services. Staff and partners are proactive and responsive.’

‘The partners are knowledgeable and proactive. They have a wealth of experience and are commercial in their approach. Cheryl Weston is a good example as she has great experience in insolvency and corporate restructuring. Her friendly approach puts clients at ease and her commercial approach ensures clients receive advice that maximizes their position.’

‘Highly experienced and knowledgeable in the area of practice; extensive network of contacts both interstate and overseas, providing great assistance to clients requiring legal services in geographically distant locations; wide areas of practice within the firm, allowing “one-stop shop” facilities where expertise is required in overlapping areas of the law.’

Mike Hayes & Antony Disciscio: both extremely knowledgeable in insolvency law and practice, both very approachable and willing to provide initial advice at no cost, both prepared to “go the extra mile” to assist the client and achieve a good result, also both very nice people with good values outside of the professional environment.’

‘Trust, effectiveness, competitive fees, knowledgeable and commercial.’

‘A diverse, close-knit team of extremely good lawyers always concerned for their clients’ needs and the best service possible.’

Cheryl Weston is a stand out partner for her professionalism, prompt attention to a matter, ability to meet deadlines on time, attention to clients’ needs, value for fees paid and willingness to listen to and respect the client.’

‘The practitioners at Piper Alderman are specialists in the field of insolvency with deep knowledge of the law and provide practical advice. It is clear that they work in a collaborative manner.’

Source: The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific: Australia