In the busy world of energy and resources, firms need lawyers like Cassandra Wee. A senior associate in the energy and resources group, she has gained considerable expertise in the oil and gas, electricity and mining industries and has acted for a number of the firm’s key clients on matters ranging from LNG marketing, oil and gas/LNG project structuring and joint venture arrangements, to significant upstream and downstream energy offtake and purchase arrangements and the sale and purchase of significant assets in the mining, electricity and oil and gas sectors. Her work includes coordinating due diligence, drafting and negotiating transaction documents and preparing complex advice.
Walker is a vital member of the transaction team representing the NSW Government on the privatisation of its electricity generators. Her stellar work has included advising on material hedging, electricity supply arrangements and energy regulatory issues, and assisting the government on AGL’s groundbreaking application to the Australian Competition Tribunal for merger authorisation. She has also played a key role in the sale of Australia’s largest generator, Macquarie Generation, to AGL. Walker’s expertise has also taken her overseas: she has travelled to Malaysia to present to clients and representatives of Baker & McKenzie’s Asian offices on Australian energy markets.
Real estate and property
Kendra McKay, Holding Redlich
As the NSW property market goes from strength to strength, senior associate McKay is busier than ever. She is involved in a range of major real estate projects, and her clients finance, own, develop and manage major mixed-use office, retail, industrial, residential and seniors living assets across NSW. She advises various ASX-listed REITs and unlisted property trusts as well as international property developers. Recently, McKay has acted for a stapled A-REIT on in excess of $150m in acquisitions and the ultimate redevelopment of over 15 seniors housing estates in NSW.
Kate Barry, Mills Oakley
After only one year of practice, Barry was promoted to the role of associate, and is definitely a young lawyer to watch. Her thorough drafting skills and ability to anticipate client needs has seen many of the firm’s ASX-listed clients recommend her to their peers. As a result of her exceptional work and client service, Barry is taking on increasingly significant and complex work. Her recent work has included advising Lend Lease on day-to-day matters for a 140-lot ‘off the plan’ strata office development in Docklands. She has also advised Lend Lease on the drafting of GST clauses and rent guarantees. In addition, she has project managed a number of client technology projects, and has been responsible for building 10 client portals, including a property and leasing portal for Associated British Foods.
Rebecca Petrie, King & Wood Mallesons
Despite having less than three years’ experience, Petrie has in effect been acting in the role of senior associate with limited supervision for the past 12 months on a large private arbitration for John Holland Pty Ltd. Most recently, she stepped up to the challenge during a six-week hearing and effectively acted as instructing solicitor and junior counsel to Sandy Thompson QC. Because of her outstanding technical ability and initiative, Petrie was entrusted with the preparation of many of the key documents presented to the arbitrator during the course of the hearing. Her hard work and dedication was well rewarded when the arbitrator made a point of praising these documents after the hearing concluded.
Melinda Wong, Gadens
Wong has thrown herself into the task of helping Gadens meet its strategic objective of developing its presence in Asia. Drawing on her knowledge of Chinese culture and China’s business community, Wong has established key connections between the firm’s property team and its fast-expanding client base of Chinese real estate developers and investors. This has included consolidating the firm’s relationship with YIHE Group, a Chinese hotel group. She is also heavily involved in Gadens’ pro bono program, providing assistance to the Women’s Legal Service and advising a local not-for-profit disaster relief agency
Montesano has taken on a central role in managing and developing the Hall & Wilcox ‘off-the-plan development’ practice. Over the past 12 months, her varied role has included assisting in the acquisition of development sites; managing various development projects; and meeting and liaising with developer clients, site vendors, lot purchasers, owners corporation managers, surveyors, project managers, financial institutions and other significant players in the lifecycle of a development – all tasks she has excelled at. She also prepares and lodges documents to facilitate the registration of plans of subdivision and the creation of owners corporations, as well as preparing all settlement documents, arranging mortgage discharges and facilitating and attending settlements.
Simmons has grown into an outstanding young lawyer since his early days as a summer clerk at DLA Piper in 2007–8. Taking a break in 2009 to work as a tipstaff to the Honourable Justice Rothman in the Supreme Court of NSW, in early 2010 he commenced as a graduate at the firm. Now a senior associate, Simmons works in the litigation and regulatory practice, mainly in commercial litigation, focusing on cross-border disputes. In addition to his practice, he is also a law tutor at the University of Technology, Sydney, and regularly writes articles for industry publications.
Melissa Lirosi, Holding Redlich
Lirosi’s first contested Supreme Court trial was a big one: two of the best silks in the business going head-to-head in a hard-fought contract battle between two sophisticated corporates – a case lawyers dream about. Her intimate knowledge of the matter saw Lirosi play an integral part in the running of the litigation, including instructing counsel over four days of cross- examinations and intense legal analysis by some of the most brilliant legal minds in the country. Outside of the office, her food blog, ‘My Fair Melbourne’, has garnered an impressive following and led to an after-work life of restaurant openings and interviewing internationally acclaimed chefs.
Grazia Altieri, Colin Biggers & Paisley
Acting for high-profile clients such as Pfizer and Boral, Altieri is excelling as a senior associate in the dispute resolution team. She has worked on a number of lengthy debt recovery proceedings and has also been involved in the successful defence of difficult and complex claims. She assisted in settling a large professional negligence claim brought by a mortgage broker against two valuation companies and their directors. Altieri has also worked to contribute to her firm and established both the Young Professionals Committee and Buddy System at CBP Lawyers to help younger solicitors.
Swan specialises in administrative law advice and commercial litigation for a range of Commonwealth departments and agencies. He has developed his legal skills in his role of managing a busy litigation and advisory practice, through a Master of Law at Cambridge University, and in his ongoing role as tutor and examiner at the ANU College of Law
. Swan has instructed senior counsel in Full Federal Court appeals and has been a solicitor on the record in special leave applications to the High Court. He also manages several immigration litigation files and appears as an advocate in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, Federal Circuit Court and Federal Court.
Melissa Tan, Curwoods Lawyers
By day, Tan works on Curwoods Lawyers’ dispute resolution team and thrives on client trust and rapport. She recently gained her status as an associate of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, which reflects a professional commitment to the promotion of private dispute resolution and providing clients with a proactive approach and a different perspective to achieve the most efficient and sensible outcome. Outside her day-to-day commitments, Tan is passionate about fighting human trafficking in Asia. She has raised funds for Project Futures through a charity run, and continually supports the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation, an Australian charity working in Vietnam with children in crisis.
Erin Hourigan, Maddocks
A senior associate who acts for government and corporate clients in commercial disputes, regulatory and advisory matters, Hourigan has developed a reputation for her skilful handling of complex contractual issues, Corporations Act matters, ASIC/ACCC investigations, the Competition and Consumer Act, defamation and reputation management and negligence. Career highlights include acting for NSW Department of Family and Community Services in relation to its involvement in the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses into Child Sexual Abuse. Hourigan also successfully acted for the CBA in its defence of a significant, long-running ex- employee’s defamation/sexual harassment claim.
Claire Schneider, Norton Rose Fulbright
Schneider is a gifted litigator who has acted in a range of significant commercial disputes, including helping Rio Tinto defend a $25m claim by Walker Corporation in relation to a proposed lease. The NSW Supreme Court case involved over 35 volumes of documentary evidence and a spread of witnesses across Australia and the UK. Schneider used technological platforms to successfully facilitate access to evidential material, and supervised an international team of 12 lawyers from a legal process outsourcing firm analysing over 54,000 documents. She is also the lead senior associate acting pro bono for the Seisia Community Torres Strait Islander Corporation in a Supreme Court of Queensland claim.
Crystal Png, Norton Rose Fulbright
Png’s strong business development skills and her outstanding contributions to the firm resulted in her promotion to senior associate in 2013. She has advised on a number of prominent local and cross-border transactions, including acting for corporates such as GHD, and acting for private equity funds such as CHAMP Ventures on the sale of TSMarine (a global subsea specialist oil and gas service provider) and on the acquisition of Road Safety Equipment Australia. She also regularly acts for global insurers with respect to proposed warranty and indemnity insurance policies taken out for M&A transactions with deal values ranging from $20m to $500m.
Janelle Watts, Sparke Helmore
Watts’ rapid professional development has seen her take on an integral role in the corporate group’s key transactions and initiatives in the last 12 months. She has acted on many complex M&A and private equity transactions, including the investment by Inflexion Private Equity into CMO Global (which involved elements in Australia, the UK, the Netherlands, Singapore, the USA and New Zealand), several transactions for Anacacia private equity and Macquarie Capital, and a large restructure of the business of Only About Children. She has also helped build the firm’s warranty and indemnity transaction insurance practice, having acted on over 10 transactions for underwriters in the last six months.
Alex Kauye, Gilbert + Tobin
As a senior lawyer in Gilbert + Tobin’s corporate advisory team, Kauye has played a key role in some of the most high-profile and complex transactions in Australia over the last few years. These high-profile deals include Foxtel’s acquisition of Austar, Rio Tinto’s takeover of Riversdale Mining, PEP’s acquisition of Spotless, Archer Daniels Midland Company’s proposed takeover of GrainCorp, the recapitalisation of Billabong by Centerbridge and Oaktree, Vitol’s proposed acquisition of Shell’s Australian downstream assets, the IPO of Burson Group, and the privatisations by the NSW Government of the Ports of Botany, Kembla and Newcastle.
Private client services
Julia Tonkin, Maddocks
Tonkin specialises in advising high net worth individuals on all aspects of personal succession planning, and is responsible for the day-to-day management of Maddocks’ robust probate practice. Her clients include some of Australia’s leading families and young entrepreneurs. She is already developing a strong practice in the Guardianship & Administration list at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT), including both advice and appearance work. Her considerable expertise has also been recognised outside of the firm. Last year, Tonkin was invited to present to legal professionals at a continuing professional development seminar, and delivered the paper Testamentary Trusts: A Sense of Entitlement.
Tim Scanlan, HopgoodGanim
Scanlan was promoted to senior associate at just 26 years of age, and it’s easy to see why. He specialises in business structuring and the acquisition and disposal of private enterprises, and his clients include some of Queensland’s most well-regarded entrepreneurial companies. His diverse practice spans a variety of industries such as financial services, hospitality, healthcare and mining services. In the last 18 months Scanlan has been involved in mergers and acquisitions with a total value in excess of $200m. In particular, he advised South Coast Radiology in relation to a merger to create Australia’s largest physician-owned radiology network.
Gemma Chadwick, HopgoodGanim
In recognition of her exceptional record in planning, development and environmental law issues, including representing clients in the Planning and Environment Court, Chadwick was promoted to senior associate in 2013. Her recent work includes advising Boral in relation to its existing operation at Upper Ormeau, as well as its proposed development of a hard rock quarry at Reedy Creek. She has also successfully negotiated a development approval for Leighton Properties’ Mosaic project in the course of a Planning and Environment Court Appeal, following an initial refusal by Brisbane City Council. In addition, she has advised Consolidated Properties on its 550 Queen Street office tower project.
Arjuna Dibley, Baker & McKenzie
Dibley is an impressive associate in Baker & McKenzie’s global environmental markets practice, where he practises on climate change law and policy in Asia. He has advised the Indonesian Government regarding laws related to REDD+, and a large multinational company on projects in China established under the Clean Development Mechanism, among other significant matters. Dibley has written and presented on Indonesian and international environmental law, including at the Forest Asia Summit. In recognition of these experiences, he was appointed an associate at the Melbourne Law School in 2013, and in the same year received the Australian Davos Connection Australian Leadership Award.
Kaitlyn Gulle, Lander & Rogers
Advising on the drafting and implementation of workplace policies and enterprise agreements, and assisting with the progress of grievance procedures and internal investigations is all in a day’s work for Gulle. Her impressive list of achievements includes acting in a landmark decision of a full bench of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) which established the temporal scope of the new anti-bullying jurisdiction. She also acted for Mammoet in the complex High Court appeal brought by CFMEU regarding prohibition on making payments to employees during protected industrial action. Her extensive practice also includes employment, industrial relations and anti-discrimination litigation in the Federal Courts, the FWC and VCAT.
Joel Davis, DLA Piper
Davis launched his legal career as an associate at the Fair Work Commission – superb preparation for joining DLA Piper’s employment group in January 2011. In addition to his employment advisory and litigation expertise, Davis takes a leading role in a number of business and internal cultural development activities at the firm. He pioneered the firm’s peer-to-peer networking initiative called Zone, which has since been replicated in most of DLA Piper’s major offices around the world. Joel’s star is clearly on the rise. He was promoted to senior associate in early 2014, and later this year he will transfer to the firm’s London office to continue training in preparation for partnership.
Sarah Buggy, Mills Oakley
Selected from hundreds of applicants, Buggy joined Mills Oakley as the first graduate at the firm’s Sydney office. She joined Lisa-Marie McKechnie as the only solicitor on the financial services team, and has helped grow this practice area to almost 20 solicitors across three offices. One of her first cases was recently heard before Justice Pembroke in the Supreme Court of NSW. She was responsible for preparing the case, and during the hearing she instructed counsel, advised the client, and engaged in settlement discussions. The client was successful and awarded judgment with costs. Her outstanding client service was recognised last year with a firm-wide award. Buggy was promoted to associate in June this year and is currently the youngest associate at the firm.
Matthew Battersby, Clayton Utz
Battersby is a rising star who advises on competition, telecommunications and consumer law, with a focus on the TMT sector. Working with some of the largest device manufacturers and network operators in Australia, Battersby helps his clients navigate regulatory challenges and formulate novel legal solutions so they can continue to develop innovative and productivity-enhancing devices and services in what is a dynamic and rapidly evolving sector. Pro bono forms an important part of Battersby’s practice and he provides advice to charities and victims of crime in addition to his volunteer work at a community legal centre. He was promoted to senior associate in July 2014.
Elizabeth Sarofim, Ashurst
Sarofim advises clients on competition law issues in a wide range of industries and has been instrumental in a number of high-profile transactions, including obtaining informal merger clearance from the ACCC for Google’s acquisition of Motorola Mobility. She has also secured clearance from the ACCC for AGL to acquire the balance of Loy Yang Power. This clearance concluded a landmark regulatory process that had its origins more than a decade ago. In recognition of her achievements, she was appointed as a senior associate in May 2014. Prior to joining Ashurst, Sarofim was a senior project officer at the ACCC.
Lena Vanmali, Gilbert + Tobin
A lawyer in Gilbert + Tobin’s competition and regulation practice, Vanmali has a proven and recognised track record of delivering commercial and innovative client solutions. She has played an instrumental role in game-changing transactions, like obtaining ACCC clearance for Virgin’s acquisition of 60% of Tiger, a deal of key strategic importance for an industry under heavy regulatory scrutiny. Vanmali takes a leading role in mentoring paralegals, clerks, lawyers and law students through initiatives such as the Sydney University Law Society Women’s Mentoring Program, and guest lectures for the competition law course at Sydney University.
Infrastructure and construction
Kathryn McCormack, Clayton Utz
McCormack is one of the lawyers to watch at Clayton Utz. A senior associate in the major projects and construction group, she has had pivotal roles on some of the largest transport infrastructure projects in Australia, including the North West Rail Link in NSW, and Legacy Way in Queensland. The high calibre of her legal and commercial acumen is being recognised by both the legal industry and academia. This year she was offered a place on the prestigious Master of Law program at New York University. McCormack is one of only a few hundred students accepted to NYU out of thousands of applicants from around the world.
Fiona Borrelli, Allens
Borrelli is a major infrastructure projects specialist and has played pivotal roles in a number of important, large-scale social and economic infrastructure projects. In addition to her technical excellence as a senior associate, clients and colleagues comment on her advanced commercial and relationship skills. She has also been recognised for her strong project management and communication skills, culminating in her ability to work autonomously in leading diverse deal teams. Borrelli recently played a key role in advising the successful consortium for the Queensland Schools Project PPP from bid submission to financial close. Completing in December last year, it is the second-fastest Australian PPP to reach financial close.