LIV head charters her own course
Offshore option gets thrown out
Turbulent times for aviation
Lawyers talk tax
CounseL in Charge
uP in The air
Print Post Approved 255003/05160
Friday 21 October 2011
What you can judge from a law firmâ€™s foyer
4,200 LAWYERS + YOU?
Insurance Litigators WANTED
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Our Sydney office has several positions available for experienced solicitors, preferably with a background in liability, medical negligence, personal injury, workers compensation and dust diseases.
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Please contact Alex McIntyre on Phone (02) 9231 3022 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Syd | Construction
Syd | Employment
6 – 8 years
An experienced front-end construction lawyer is needed to advise on construction matters including infrastructure projects, design and build contracts and facility maintenance issues, consulting, IP and general corporate matters. Ref: SYD/4493/OH
Syd | Corporate 4 – 6 years
A new role focusing on corporate transactional and advisory, financial services and company secretarial matters has arisen in our client’s highly regarded team. Major law firm experience and good academics essential. Ref: SYD/4488/OH
2 – 4 years
Syd | Construction (front-end) 3 – 6 years
Top tier firm seeks a mid level lawyer with broad employment experience. Work with three dynamic partners on a diverse range of challenging matters including contentious and non-contentious matters. Ref: SYD/4274/AM
This truly global construction team is looking for a mid level solicitor to advise on a range of front end construction, engineering and infrastructure projects. Outstanding clients and interesting work. Ref: SYD/ 4350/OH
Syd | IP Litigation
Mel | Banking & Finance
4 – 6 years
International powerhouse seeks experienced lawyer to work on a broad range of high level and complex IP disputes. Matters will include trade marks, patents, copyright, designs and confidential information. Ref: SYD/4514/AM
This premier B&F team are looking for a Senior Associate with a background in structured finance and capital markets. Great opportunity to work amongst market leaders in a friendly, team environment. Ref: MEL/4451/OH
Syd | Corporate/Commercial
Syd | Commercial
Mel | Employment
5 years +
4 years +
Global corporate has a new role for a corporate/commercial lawyer to join their team. Broad workload including M&A, corporate advice, company secretarial, commercial contracts, TPA etc. Cohesive, commercially focused team environment! Ref: SYD/4469/DS
This is a great opportunity working on a wide range of high calibre matters including, employment, IT and IP, insurance, contracts and acquisitions and disposals. Excellent drafting skills are essential. Ref: SYD/4497/GG
Motivated senior employment lawyer sought by top tier firm. Work on high level and complex advisory and litigious matters for some of Australia’s largest companies within an award winning team. Ref: MEL/4151/AM
Syd | Insurance
Bri | IP/IT
5 – 7 years
Per | Projects 10 years +
Senior role with a major, globally recognised project. High level front and back-end construction & projects work as well as broader commercial matters. High profile experience with a top firm or in-house required. Ref: PER/4425/DS
1 – 3 year If you have litigation experience and have an interest in insurance law this mid-tier firm offers a variety of insurance matters including general liability and medical negligence claims. Ref: SYD/4500/GG
4 years + An exciting new opportunity has arisen in this highly regarded IP/IT team. 4 years experience and solid academics are needed to come aboard this collegiate team. Excellent career progression opportunities. Ref: BRI/4498/OH
For a full list of active roles that Dolman is working on throughout the worldwide visit www.dolman.com.au For further information please contact one of our consultants for a confidential discussion: Gail Greener, Ralph Laughton, Daniel Stirling, Alex McIntyre and Olivia Harvey. Sydney (02) 9231 3022 Melbourne (03) 8637 7317 or email email@example.com
London | Restructuring & Insolvency 4 – 7 years
Act for corporates and practitioners in a wide range of sectors. This opportunity offers work across the firm’s global network in Asia, Europe and America. Candidates must have experience representing lenders and exposure to business restructuring and insolvency. Ref: LON/4513/RL
Singapore | Corporate Energy & Resources 4 – 7 years
Associate with broad background preferably in oil & gas, mining or other natural resources to draft agreements used in power and infrastructure development such as road, rail or ports. M&A expertise also highly regarded by this global powerhouse. Ref: SIN/4512/RL
Singapore | Corporate Associate 3 – 5 years
Commercially minded Commonwealth qualified associate needed by highly regarded international law firm. Advise blue chip clients on high profile transactions, acquisitions and joint ventures. Excellent academics required. Ref: SIN/4495/RL
Tokyo | Banking & Finance 4 – 6 years
Associate experienced in acquisition, leveraged, project finance or general lending gained from a top or quality mid tier firm to join this global firm. Must be capable of managing client relationships. Japanese NOT required. Ref: TOK/3720/RL
“You’ve snaffled all the profits that I produce and you promise things like partnership and you never deliver”
Caroline Counsel, president, Law Institute of Victoria – see page 16
THIS WEEK: A round-up of the latest legal news IN-DEPTH: After years of debate and political instability surrounding climate change, Australia’s controversial carbon scheme finally got the go ahead this month, creating plenty of work for lawyers as they help businesses comply. Briana Everett reports
IN-DEPTH: A major shake-up of laws governing the legal profession in the UK could lead to a flood of new entrants from non-legal organisations. Justin Whealing reports PRACTICE PROFILE: The aviation sector is no stranger to bad news, whether it be catastrophic accidents, highprofile corporate collapse or the emergence of serious safety concerns. Claire Chaffey speaks to three aviation lawyers there to clean up the mess LEGAL LEADERS: As a woman practising in one of the most emotionally charged areas of law, Caroline Counsel has demonstrated her empathy, professionalism and logic. She tells Stephanie Quine how she broke the glass ceiling and found her own way
24 H U D 6 6 6 _ L W. p d f
CAREER COUNSEL: Whether you’re a graduate or senior lawyer, and are in a position to choose between law firms, there are a few fundamental things to consider, writes Gail Greener 1 4 / 1 0 / 1 1 , 1 : 4 5 PM
FOLKLAW: The lighter side of the law
COVER STORY: The design of a law firm office needs to impress clients and staff. Justin Whealing looks at how four law firms tried to balance productivity with style
SENIOR IN-HOUSE LAWYER Founded in 1976, Becton continues to combine passion and energy in delivering more than $4 billion of award-winning development and construction projects. Today, Becton is an ASX publicly listed, integrated property group still focused on creating and managing a wealth of property-based assets. An exceptional opportunity now exists for a talented and committed senior commercial property lawyer to join the company. You will work closely with the CEO in a stand-alone position and play a critical role across the entire business. You will be a ‘commercial thinker’ from a major law firm who will manage the company’s sales, settlements, contracts and other related legal agreements. You will also oversee and ensure that the company’s compliance processes and legal obligations are met in your assessment and existing know-how of property development and construction law. Moreover, you will identify areas of potential risk and develop suitable strategies and systems to mitigate such risk for the business. You will enjoy autonomy and teamwork and be proactive and commercially focused with outstanding interpersonal and communication skills. This is a superb opportunity to join a leading Australian company and its dynamic development and construction team. Please apply, quoting Ref. No. 3B/58192, online at jobs.au.hudson.com Enquiries can be made to Greg Monks at Hudson Legal in our Melbourne office on 03 9623 6746.
L AW Y E R S W E E K LY 2 1 O C T O B E R 2 0 11
Editor, Justin Whealing
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It’s the age old debate: style vs substance. Law firms spend lots of money on the former, on the design of their offices, to give the impression of the latter. As simon swaney, a director with Bates smart – the architects who designed the new sydney office of Clayton Utz – told Lawyers Weekly, “A strong impression is required. We are dealing with one of Australia’s top law firms, so it should have that presence and power” (see the cover story on page 18). swaney’s words still resonate with office design today. however, a firm that designs an office with only presence and power in mind could do serious damage to its reputation. today’s law firm has to incorporate very modern concerns, such as work-life balance, the environment, and collaboration, into its design. the building into which Clayton Utz has moved to on 1 Bligh street in sydney is a fantastic example of balancing style with these concerns. It has a six-star Green star accreditation, the highest possible, its floor to ceiling glass design allows for an extensive use of natural light, and its filtration system saves the equivalent of an Olympic-sized swimming pool of water every two weeks. “I think the green elements of the building are important for corporate responsibility,” said Julie Levis, the partner in charge of the firm’s sydney office. For any firm’s credibility in the marketplace to remain intact, it could not have a CsR program while being housed in an environmentally un-friendly building. the use of sensor lights and the promotion of a workplace culture that seeks to reduce its carbon footprint are things more and more staff members are demanding – and that is increasingly being noticed by clients. similarly, a law firm can talk all it likes about work-life balance, but if its offices are dark and foreboding, with scant provision for social interaction or the provision of amenities so staff can run, cycle or walk to and from work or at lunchtime, then such talk will be seen as mere posturing. so, while it is ok to have the style, if an office is not designed to provide a culture of substance, it will be viewed as being just as vacuous as a callow-eyed model strutting down the red carpet.
Top Ten sTories online this week 1 Tesco v Clifford Chance 2 Lawyers do dirty work 3 Firm elects youngest-ever chairman 4 Fixed-fee model changes more than pricing 5 Abbott’s “blood pledge” no concern to lawyers 6 Magistrate’s career saved 7 Norton Rose takes guess work out of OHS laws 8 Gilbert + Tobin appoints banking and finance partner 9 Legal Leaders: Yes Minister 10 DLA Piper nabs Norton Rose restructuring guru nexT week The National Pro Bono Aspirational Target is a voluntary goal of at least 35 hours pro bono work per lawyer per year. Lawyers Weekly takes a look at how Australian law firms are working to improve their pro bono contribution and whether pro bono practices across the country are growing as firms recognise the need to increase their input.
ediTorial board Lawyers Weekly is delighted to have the following industry leaders on its editorial board andrew grech Managing director, Slater & Gordon
nick abrahams Partner, Norton Rose
will irving Group general counsel, Telstra Corporation
helen Mckenzie Deputy managing partner, Blake Dawson
sharon cook Managing partner, Henry Davis York
Joe catanzariti Partner, Clayton Utz
David cowling Partner, Clayton Utz
robert Milliner Chief executive partner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques
ewen crouch Chairman of partners, Allens Arthur Robinson
Megan Pitt Director, Australian Government Solicitor
sue gilchrist Partner and practice leader (intellectual property group), Freehills
lucinda smith Partner, Thomsons Lawyers
abouT us Publisher: John Nuutinen editor: Justin Whealing Deputy editor: Claire Chaffey senior Journalist: Briana Everett Journalist: Stephanie Quine Designer: Ken McClaren sales executive: Toby Chan subscribe toDay Lawyers Weekly is published weekly and is available by subscription. Please email email@example.com All subscription payments should be sent to: Locked Bag 2999, Chatswood D/C, Chatswood NSW 2067 aDvertising enquiries: Advertising enquiries: John Nuutinen firstname.lastname@example.org (02) 9422 8931 (mob) 0402 611 177 Toby Chan email@example.com (02) 9422 2545 (MOB) 0404 652 800 eDitorial enquiries: Justin Whealing firstname.lastname@example.org (02) 9422 2832 All mail for the editorial department should be sent to: Lawyers Weekly, Level 1 Tower 2, 475 Victoria Ave, Chatswood NSW 2067
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private practice IP Litigation
Sydney, 3 Years+ PAE
Superannuation & Funds Management
Sydney, 5 Years PAE to Senior Associate
Premier IP Practice Group of CBD ﬁrm seeks an experienced IP Litigation lawyer. You will be engaged in high proﬁle matters with a focus on patent litigation, copyright and trademark enforcement catering to international brand names. Work in a down-to-earth, fun and relaxed environment. E: email@example.com T: 02 8298 3852 Ref: EA46962
Superb opportunity to join top-tier CBD ﬁrm offering genuine work/life balance. You will be involved in a mix of superannuation and funds management work catering to large industry funds acting on large scale privatisations and membership schemes, mergers, and regulatory/compliance issues. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 02 8298 3852 Ref: EA46912
Insolvency & Restructuring
Sydney, 4-5 Years PAE
Sydney, 3 Years PAE
Well regarded national ﬁrm seeks experienced commercial litigator with robust insolvency experience to work on high quality and challenging matters including insolvency, ﬁnance and general commercial dispute resolution. You will need relevant experience gained at a well known ﬁrm. E: email@example.com T: 02 8298 3846 Ref: SH47060
Leading international ﬁrm requires a lawyer to join the litigation group specialising in company restructuring and insolvency litigation matters. You will need relevant insolvency experience gained at a well regarded mid or top tier ﬁrm, a strong academic record and a solid work history. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 02 8298 3846 Ref: SH47055
Brisbane, 5+ Years PAE
Brisbane, 3-5 Years PAE
Leading top tier ﬁrm seeks the experience of a senior solicitor with front-end construction experience to join their leading team. Work with blue chip clients on high quality matters. Excellent remuneration, staff beneﬁts and an opportunity to work with the best in the business are on offer. E: email@example.com T: 07 3031 3219 Ref: KW45834
Work in this highly reputable national professional indemnity team and work with high end clients on complex and challenging insurance matters. This is an excellent opportunity to take a step forward and develop you career with a leading national law ﬁrm. Excellent mentoring on offer. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 07 3031 3219 Ref: KW45900
Banking & Finance
Melbourne, 2+ Years PAE
This international ﬁrm is looking for a banking and ﬁnance lawyer to join their team. You will be working on project ﬁnance, securitisation and derivatives. Above market remuneration on offer, as well as the opportunity to work on high end transactions within a well known team. E: email@example.com T: 03 9590 2265 Ref: RB 46997
Melbourne, 2-4 Years PAE
Our client is a top-tier ﬁrm seeking to add a construction lawyer to their group. The role will require both front-end and back-end experience and you will have the chance to work with major clients. Opportunities to travel may be available as well as external secondments. Strong academic transcripts are essential. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 03 9590 2265 Ref: RB 46923
in-house In-House Legal Manager
Sydney, 8 Years PAE
You will be responsible for the company’s legal function in Australia; providing legal and regulatory guidance across all areas of the business, contracts and commercial negotiation, privacy and litigation. You will have strong experience of ﬁnancial services, technology and managing a team. E: email@example.com T: 02 8298 3850 Ref: KR46735
Corporate Legal Counsel Sydney, 3-6 Years PAE One of Australia’s leading organisations is currently recruiting a corporate lawyer to join their successful in-house legal team. You will need to be experienced in corporate advisory including knowledge of the Corporations Act and ASX listing Rules, corporate structures and transactions. E: firstname.lastname@example.org T: 02 8298 3850 Ref: KR47054
Settle disputes in Australia A high-powered delegation addressed Chinese business leaders in Beijing on 13 October to convince them to use Australia for international arbitration. “It is very important for Chinese business leaders to understand the level of support the Australian Government is giving to international arbitration in Australia and that … they will find a judiciary familiar with arbitration and supportive of the process,” said Clayton Utz partner Doug Jones. Denton lands key role on Aus-Asia taskforce Corrs Chambers Westgarth CEO John Denton was appointed to help former Treasury boss Ken Henry AC conduct a major review of Australia’s links with Asia. Denton will sit on a Federal Government advisory panel, led by Henry, to oversee the development of a white paper on the social, economic, strategic and environmental implications of the so-called Asian Century for Australia. Council yet to resolve big issue Victoria’s Sentencing Advisory Council has had an extremely productive year, according to its annual report, despite being embroiled in controversy regarding mandatory sentencing proposals. One of the Council’s major achievements was the release of the virtual “You be the Judge” program: an interactive forum allowing online visitors to assume the role of a judge in a sentencing hearing. Over 4,000 people used the program during its first six months.
Jump in M&A deals reveals market volatility THE VOLUME of M&A deals in Australia has increased by 22 per cent in the last year, compared to a global increase of just 3 per cent, but Australian M&A lawyers remain wary. Discussing Allen & Overy’s Quarterly M&A Index, released on 17 October, A&O partner Michael Parshall said while the statistics appear positive for Australia, the overarching trend is one of ongoing volatility, demonstrated by a 26 per cent drop in volume of deals in the second and third quarters of 2011. “This is not a tale of remarkable recovery, but one of considerable volatility,” warned Parshall. According to the M&A index, the strength in Australia’s energy and resources sector has ensured the country’s attractiveness to overseas investors. However, while cross-border investment in energy and resources is driving a relatively high volume of deals in Australia, some of the recent, larger Australian deals by value – SABMiller / Foster’s and Foxtel / Austar – have occurred outside that sector. “You read a lot of stuff that suggests everything’s about energy and resources, but if you look at a number of significant transactions, there have been some quite significant transactions in the media sector,” Parshall told Lawyers Weekly. “Energy and resources underpin a lot of activity but it’s not the sole source of it.” The M&A index ranked Australia fourth overall as a target for inbound M&A deals worldwide, following the USA, UK and China. Considered a “net seller”, Australia recorded a significantly higher volume of inbound deals (35) than outbound deals (13) over the last 12 months – a
trend that is likely to continue. Looking to the future, Parshall is cautiously optimistic, pointing to a number of global macroeconomic issues which could affect the Australian economy. “We have relatively good fundamentals at the moment, but if the USA or European economies continue to go backwards, or should China choose to dial back its growth, the Australian economy could find itself more exposed,” he said. Parshall expects more “opportunistic plays” in the future. However, he said companies will be taking their time and evaluating opportunities carefully.
R E W IND Empoyees from the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank have started using a pilot program of eftpos cards with new chip technology. The chips will allow transactions to be done with a mobile phone, via contactless terminals and online in an effort to enhance security. A broader rollout is planned for the second half of next year. Twenty of the world’s top finance officials put pressure on Europe to resolve its debt crisis with the incentive of broader international support for quick action. Treasurer Wayne Swan said a “comprehensive range of initiatives” was expected to be announced at the summit of EU leaders on 23 October. Insurers joined drivers in urging the government to give independent mechanics access to information needed to repair high-tech cars, so drivers aren’t forced to use official dealers to fix their vehicles. In submissions to a federal inquiry on the issue, the Insurance Council of Australia warned of consumer detriment if access to information remained restricted. The NSW Government announced a new taskforce charged with developing a 10-year strategy for the professional services industry. It will include six senior business leaders, including Norton Rose partner Richard Fogl and ANZ chairman Warwick Smith.
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Movers & Shakers
D E A L O F T hE W E E K
Mallesons and Freehills power aGl joint venture Deal Name: Joint venture between AGL Energy and APA Group to develop gas-fired power station at Mt Isa Key Players: Mallesons, Freehills, Clifford Chance
Mallesons stephen Jaques and Freehills have advised on the establishment of a joint venture between aGl energy and apa Group to develop a 242MW gas-fired power station at Mount Isa, Queensland. the power station, to be known as the Diamantina power station (Dps), will be underpinned by a long-term energy supply agreement with Xstrata and a power purchase agreement with ergon energy. aGl will supply gas to Dps from its wholesale portfolio, using existing transportation arrangements and new capacity on the Carpentaria Gas pipeline provided by apa. Dps will be constructed under a lump-sum, turn-key epC contract. Mallesons acted for the apa Group and aGl consortium on aspects of the power station development, including long-term electricity and gas supply arrangements with Mount Isa Mines (Xstrata), and the agreement with ergon energy, the regional electricity supplier. the firm is also advising the consortium on its project financing arrangements. the Mallesons team was led by energy, resources and projects partner Craig Rogers, who was supported by partners Dominic Bortoluzzi, David Bell, Matthew austin and scott Budd, and senior associates shannon etwell and Roderick smythe.
Freehills also advised aGl on aspects of the project, including energy supply, power purchase, gas sale, gas transportation and epC arrangements. total capital expenditure for the Dps will be approximately $500 million (before project financing costs), which is expected to be funded by implementing a limited-recourse project financing and equity contributions by aGl and apa. the Freehills team included partners Rob Merrick, sharon Wilson, toby anderson, John angus and nick heggart; senior associates prue taylor, Gary Borgan, Vittorio Cassamento and Michael Voros; and solicitors Matthew Goerke, Clancy Rudeforth, Mark hatfull and tristian Boyd. Greenswoods & Freehills directors Richard hendricks and andrew hirst advised aGl on tax issues. the Freehills and Greenwoods & Freehills teams worked with aGl legal, led by senior in-house lawyers Chris Reynolds and Kirstin Mann, as well as the aGl tax and aGl treasury teams. apa Group was also advised by Clifford Chance.
DE AL MAKERS
Blake Dawson (AM alpha GmbH), Freehills (Abacus)
Allens Arthur Robinson (MAp Airports Limited), Freshfields (OTPP)
Freehills (Echo Entertainment)
Joint venture to acquire 309 George Street, Sydney
Cross-border airport asset swap
Redevelopment of Sydney’s Star City casino
Freehills’ Justin O’Farrell
Allens’ Susan Burns
Freehills’ David Templeman
Firm elects youngest-ever chairman Kelly & Co has appointed its youngest-ever chairman of partners, corporate lawyer Jamie Restas, 38. Restas, who has been a partner at Kelly & Co for seven years, will work closely with the firm’s CEO, Stuart Price, to develop the firm’s strategy. Slaters appoints corporate general manager Former general manager of Slater & Gordon’s personal injury group in VIC, SA and TAS, Cath Evans, has taken up the newlycreated position of general manager corporate development & operations. Evans, who joined the firm in 1994 as a personal injuries lawyer, will oversee marketing, media, client experience and IT services while continuing to oversee development of Slater’s practices in SA and TAS. DLA Piper nabs Norton Rose guru DLA Piper has hired Troy Doyle as a partner in its Singapore office. The restructuring lawyer with more than 13 years’ experience in the Asia Pacific region will lead the firm’s restructuring and distressed investment team in Asia. Doyle formerly led the distressed debt and investments group at Norton Rose and prior to that, the restructuring practice at Clifford Chance, South East Asia. Boost for family firm The Brisbane Family Law Centre at Albion has hired Shannon Daykin to help meet the increasing demand for matters to be resolved through the ADR, collaborative method. Daykin joins the firm from Emerson Family Law and has previously worked with McCullough Robertson Lawyers and Praeger Batt Solicitors in Brisbane.
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Fixed-fee firm takes prize ImplementIng a fixed-fee pricing model changes more than how a firm charges for it services, according to the head of a Western australian firm. Upon receiving an award last week for its adoption of a fixed-pricing model across all its practices, the managing director of perthbased firm Bowen Buchbinder Vilensky (BBV) noted how fixed-fee pricing can completely change a firm’s culture. “It changes the whole culture of a law firm,” said the firm’s head, David Vilensky. “Client focus and collaboration internally have increased at the same rate as stress levels and anxiety about timesheets have declined. Our only regret about fixed-fee pricing is that we didn’t do it a lot sooner.” International association law australasia awarded BBV its annual pursuit of excellence award for 2011 in recognition of its adoption of fixed-fee pricing earlier this month. the recipient of the award is chosen by the 18 independent firms from australia and new Zealand which make up law australasia. “BBV has gained considerable respect from its peers by its adoption of fixed-fee pricing across all practice areas,” said law australasia chairman David Hughes. “While a lot of law firms talk about fixed-fixed pricing, BBV has actually done it. We commend them for being trailblazers in the profession and taking the lead in this important area.”
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Magistrate’s career saved Brian Maloney, the nSW magistrate whose career was under threat because he suffers a mental illness, was saved from dismissal. on 12 october, new South Wales Parliament voted against his dismissal – a decision which has raised questions about how such matters should be handled. Maloney was forced to plead his case before Parliament after the Judicial Commission of nSW recommended he be removed from the bench because of several instances of erratic behavior. Maloney attributed his actions to undiagnosed bipolar disorder and argued that he was now receiving treatment. Maloney is only the third judicial officer to undergo such Parliamentary scrutiny, and all three, including magistrate Jennifer Betts earlier this year, have kept their jobs. The decision has sparked debate about the way in which such matters are handled, with Greens MP David Shoebridge saying, “it shows the need, i think, for a far less cumbersome process in
deciding these matters in the future”. labor MP adam Searle disagreed, saying, “if it doesn’t fall to us, who else really can judge the judges?”
Special court helps mental health reSearCh releaSeD on 14 october to coincide with Mental health Week has revealed the positive impact a Queensland court has had on mental health. a study by The University of Queensland’s School of law has revealed how Brisbane’s Special Circumstances Court (SCC) has helped homeless people and people with mental health problems get their lives back on track. established in 2006, the SCC aims to rehabilitate people who have committed low-level criminal offences, are homeless or at risk of homelessness, or are suffering from impaired decision-making capacity. For a case to go before the SCC, the criminal charge faced by a defendant must have arisen in circumstances connected to the person’s homelessness or impaired capacity. The research was co-funded by the australasian institute of Judicial administration and conducted by Dr Tamara Walsh
and students from the UQ’s TC Beirne law School. “Many had lost faith in the justice system until they came to the Special Circumstances Court,” said Dr Walsh, the author of the report A Special Court for Special Cases. “For them, the court was a place they felt safe and where they felt they belonged.” over six months, researchers observed 185 defendants, 93 of whom appeared multiple times before the court. The vast majority (88 per cent) were homeless and the most common charges they faced were public space offences such as public nuisance,
contravention of a police direction and begging. almost one third of the defendants were young adults aged between 17 and 25 years of age. Mental illness was confirmed as a problem in 53 per cent of cases and raised in a further 24 per cent of cases. Many of the defendants interviewed as part of the research said they felt they had been misunderstood and unfairly treated by judicial officers in the past. in contrast, they said they felt safe and supported in the SCC, where magistrates work closely with defendants to find practical solutions to the difficulties they face. Discussing the report’s recommendations, Walsh said she is confident the SCC model can be replicated beyond the criminal courts. The Queensland SCC is based on a Victorian court which was established in 2002 – the first of its kind in australia.
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With a rogue MP indicating he’ll vote down the Prime Minister’s proposed Migration Act amendments, the Government now has very little room to move. Claire Chaffey reports
ast week’s decision by a West Australian MP to vote against proposed changes to the Migration Act leaves the Government with no choice but to consider onshore processing, according to a refugee law expert. Dr Angus Francis of the Queensland University of Technology told Lawyers Weekly that Nationals MP Tony Crook’s decision to vote down the Government’s proposed amendments means they will be left with very few options. “Unless they can get Opposition support – which which seems unlikely – the Malaysia deal, for now, is not an option,” he said. “Based on the High Court’s decision in M70, and also the Solicitor-General’s advice to the Government in September that Nauru, Papua New Guinea and Manus Island are also not on the table, that then leaves onshore processing as the only option.” In Federal Parliament last Thursday (13 October), the Government dodged a vote on amendments to the Migration Act. Without Crook’s support, Julia Gillard was looking at being the first Prime Minister in 80 years to lose a vote on legislation in the House of Representatives. According to Francis, the Gillard Government should have allowed the High Court’s decision to guide their policy decisions, instead of leading them to attempt to bypass it. “When the High Court declared the Malaysia deal invalid, (the Government) should have taken the
opportunity to go back to onshore processing,” he said. “(The criteria in the Migration Act) are objective criteria. They are not simply things that the Government can ignore. That means they have very few options now other than to turn to onshore processing. There are not many countries in this region, if any – aside from Australia and New Zealand – which have a proper respect for and adherence to the Refugee Convention.” Crook cited humanitarian grounds when revealing he would not support Gillard’s amendments to the Act, even though he supports the Opposition’s proposal to allow offshore processing in countries party to the Refugee Convention. However, Francis said this is also not a realistic option. “I don’t think the Opposition fully appreciates the High Court’s decision,” he said. “They have their heads in the sand. Nauru and Manus Island, according to the SolicitorGeneral’s advice in September, did not satisfy the criteria in s198A of the Migration Act, and do not look like satisfying that criteria any time soon. “Even if the Opposition were to win power, they would have to amend the Act, so I don’t think either party should be crowing about the current situation.” Earlier last week, the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) slammed the Government’s attempts to pass the legislation, labeling the decision “breathtakingly hypocritical”, especially
“What they need to do is sit down and think afresh on the whole issue” Dr AngUS FrAncIS, QUeenSLAnD UnIverSIty oF technoLogy
following Gillard’s and Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s recent attempts to return a 14-yearold Australian boy – detained in Bali after being arrested for possession of drugs – to his parents. “The (Bill) totally ignores the obligation the Federal Government has as guardian of unaccompanied children arriving by boat to ensure their security and wellbeing. Under these laws, asylum seekers – including vulnerable and traumatised children – will be thrown into planes, strapped to their seats and packed off with little more dignity than cattle,” said ALA national president Greg Barns. “There they will be dumped and potentially subjected to arbitrary punishment such as caning and denied access to health care … Australia is guilty of double standards here.”
Migration bill sinks
Investigator begs phone-hacking victims to drop suit A privAte investigator at the centre of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal has written to the alleged victims imploring them to stop “persecuting” him by suing him, reports The Guardian. Glenn Mulcaire and his lawyers claim the victims have nothing to gain from suing him. Mulcaire’s law firm, payne Hicks Beach, has argued that alleged victims could take comfort in the fact that Mulcaire has “gone to prison for his actions … and continues to pay a heavy price”. Silk loses asbestos case ricHArd Keen Qc of Blackstone chambers and his instructing Brodies partner christine O’neill have lost a case for insurance giant AXA General insurance, reports The Lawyer. the Supreme court ruled that the Scottish Government was correct in its decision to give backdated compensation to asbestos victims who suffered the related condition, pleural plaques. the Supreme court called together seven justices to hear the appeal, which attracted several interveners. Women in custody after breaching community orders A repOrt by the UK’s chief inspectors of prisons, probation and crown prosecution Service released last week says too many women are in prison for breaching community orders, which do not carry a prison sentence, reports The Guardian. According to the report, which states that there are 4,243 females in prison in england and Wales, women-only community centres provide a credible alternative to custody and are beginning to win the backing of magistrates and judges. Firms announce merger via virtual conference FAeGre & Benson and Baker & daniels will merge under the Faegre Baker daniels name early next year, reports The AM Law Daily. the two US firms confirmed in August that they had entered merger discussions to create a combined entity with about 770 lawyers and total gross 2010 revenues in excess of $400 million. the union was announced via a virtual press conference during which Faegre chair Andrew Humphrey and Baker ceO thomas Froehle Jr read prepared statements touting the merger’s benefits.
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Lawyers not sqeamish about “blood pledge” After years of debate and political instability surrounding climate change, Australia’s controversial carbon scheme finally got the go ahead this month, creating plenty of work for lawyers as they help businesses comply. Briana Everett reports
lthough Opposition Leader Tony Abbott made a theatrical “pledge in blood” to repeal the Gillard Government’s carbon legislation last week, climate change lawyers and their clients will now be quickly preparing for the reality of a July 2012 deadline. Following years of robust political debate, the Gillard Government’s version of a carbon pricing scheme was finally passed through the lower house of Parliament on 12 October and is set to pass through the Senate in November. As a result, Australian businesses now have no choice but to get themselves prepared for the
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commencement of the scheme in just eight months. “There has been this underlying sentiment which is, ‘I’ll believe it when I see it’, because so many businesses prepared on previous occasions for different incarnations, like the carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS), put time and money into it, recruited people and that sort of thing, only to see those things fall over at the last minute,” said Norton Rose global head of climate change and carbon finance, Anthony Hobley. “I think many people couldn’t believe it was going to happen this time so a lot of people have
put off trying to understand (the scheme) and prepare for it. Now, although many businesses prepared for the previous versions, there are some key differences … They have no choice (but to prepare).”
An “Abbott proof” scheme Abbott’s dramatic pledge to repeal the legislation should he become Prime Minister would be problematic. If elected, Abbott will more than likely need a double-dissolution to effectively wipe away the Gillard Government’s scheme – an event which most say is not probable.
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“This package will make Australia very attractive as a market for them to invest in renewable energy projects and clean technology” ANTHONY HOBLEY, PARTNER, NORTON ROSE
“It’s a necessary and significant step but it’s a very, very small step. I think the target is weak, the price will be low. It will help reduce our emissions by some amount but it’s not going to give us a clean energy future” FERGUS GREEN, LAWYER, ALLENS ARTHUR ROBINSON
For Allens Arthur Robinson lawyer Fergus Green, the time, money and effort it would actually take to repeal the legislation makes it an unlikely event and one not worth worrying about at this stage. “I don’t think it’s a really big issue because there are so many ‘ifs’ along the way. It creates a bit of a shadow of uncertainty over the whole thing but I think only a small one,” said Green. Recognising that a number of clients will understandably be concerned about the possibility of its repeal and whether the legislation is “Abbott proof”, Hobley said aside from being a particularly difficult task, repealing the legislation would also have significant practical implications. “To water it down … they would have to amend the legislation which means they would have to get the Senate to vote to do that. And, of course, the Senate is controlled for the next five-plus years by the Greens. One would not expect them to vote to repeal it, which means they’re into double-dissolution territory,” he said. “They’ve either got to find other ways to (provide funding) or they’ve got to withdraw the tax benefits, the rise in the tax-free threshold, some of the pension benefits, all the help for the low-income households … They’ll have to take away the $15 billion in support of renewable energy and clean technology. I think, critically, that would plunge businesses back into the realm of uncertainty.”
The preparation begins With relatively little time before the scheme’s commencement, climate change lawyers must now help their clients understand the new legislation and how it will impact upon their businesses. According to Hobley, clients will need to appreciate how their existing contracts will be affected, how liability will flow through the contractual supply chain and what they should be doing now to upgrade their contracts. In some cases, preparing clients and advising them with respect to their liability under the scheme will be relatively straight forward, but as Green noted, some of the legislation’s provisions are particularly complex. “We will be helping clients understand who will be liable for which emissions and from which facilities. In some cases that will be simple, but in other cases there are complicating factors, for example, with joint ventures or in the case of natural gas,” explained Green. “There are issues around transferring liability among corporate
groups and some issues about identifying who will be liable, the extent to which there are options to transfer that liability, and how best to structure that.” Before July next year, Green said his team will also be helping clients in relation to their existing contracts, including considerations around the extent to which carbon costs can be passed through to their customers. “There will be a lot of examining contracts and, where necessary, drafting or renegotiating contracts, drafting specific carbon pass-through clauses that are tailored to the Clean Energy Act and to their specific circumstances,” he said. Green added that clients will need advice in relation to industry assistance under the scheme. “There are a number of industry assistance packages … Some companies will need advice in structuring their applications for that assistance and / or advice as to whether they’re eligible and what the quantum is likely to be,” he said. “That is unlikely to happen immediately, but further down the track.”
Hard work for little gain? While the carbon scheme will create more work for climate change lawyers as they prepare their clients for the 1 July 2012 start date, Green said the Gillard Government’s carbon scheme is not going to give Australia a “clean energy future” on its own. “It’s a necessary and significant step but it’s a very, very small step. I think the target is weak, the price will be low,” he said. “It will help reduce our emissions by some amount but it’s not going to give us a clean energy future.” But for Hobley, Australia’s carbon legislation, which has been “broadly welcomed overseas”, is a win for the country’s renewable energy sector and will give emerging hubs like Singapore, Beijing and Tokyo a “real run for their money” in terms of the green economy. “There is a lot of interest from financial institutions in the renewable and clean energy market in Australia,” he said. “This package will make Australia very attractive as a market for them to invest in renewable energy projects and clean technology.” LW
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when disaster strikes The aviation sector is no stranger to bad news, whether it be catastrophic accidents, high-profile corporate collapse or the emergence of serious safety concerns. Claire Chaffey speaks to three aviation lawyers there to clean up the mess
en years ago, a major Australian airline, Ansett, collapsed in spectacular fashion. It was a corporate disaster which irrevocably altered the Australian air services market and, briefly, reduced what was a Qantas-Ansett duopoly to a Qantas monopoly. Today, things are looking much bleaker for Qantas. The company’s CEO, Alan Joyce, has admitted the aviation giant is underperforming, and he is thus taking restorative measures which are proving to be highly unpopular with the unions and threaten its reputation both here and abroad. While no-one is expecting an Ansett-style end for Qantas any time soon, many agree that its golden era has perhaps come to an end. “The Australian market has changed dramatically,” says HWL Ebsworth partner Richard Davis. “There is far more competition. Internationally, of course, a large number of international airlines are now flying to Australia from a number of markets with increasing frequency and capacity.”
Fierce competition If there is one change within the aviation sector which appears to be permanent, it’s the huge increase in competition which has developed since Ansett’s demise and which has brought with it a significant increase in pressure on airlines to deliver in terms of safety, value and commercial success. “The Middle East and Asian-based airlines have brought competition to the market, and with growing liberalisation through increased capacity under Australia’s bilaterals (Air Services Agreements), including a number of ‘Open Skies’ agreements, there is much greater access for airlines from other countries to the Australian
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market,” says Davis. In Australia, the domestic market has seen the birth of Virgin, Jetstar and, most recently, Tiger Airways. While the big winner out of all this has undoubtedly been the consumer, the pressure on costs has claimed some high-profile victims – and that is where lawyers like Davis come in. In July this year, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) grounded Tiger Airways, demanding that it address numerous safety concerns, and Davis was on hand to assist. “We successfully got Tiger back in the air,” he says. “That was a huge case. We were working 24/7 for some months until we got them back in the air. Once you have got the tiger by tail, so to speak, you can’t let go.” Davis says the biggest challenge was convincing CASA that Tiger had attended to all of its safety concerns (including that it no longer posed “a serious and imminent risk to air safety”) and dealing with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in terms of Tiger’s communications with customers during its period of suspension. Eventually, though, Davis and his team made a successful case and the airline is now back up and running. “Tiger is now flying again and it is very much here to stay. It is fully supported by its shareholders in Singapore,” he says.
crash course Despite rigorous checks and balances which strive to ensure that safety is an airline’s top concern, accidents do happen. When they do, Carter Newell partners Glenn
Biggs and Paul Hopkins find themselves with their hands full. Often working throughout the Pacific in places like Indonesia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea, Biggs and Hopkins say they must deal with numerous issues, including damage to property, injury claims and recovery costs, to name a few. Working in such different jurisdictions, however, provides its own set of challenges. “It is really important, when you work in these jurisdictions, that you respect the culture,” says Hopkins. “We have been doing claims out of PNG for 20 years. We know there are certain nuances and certain ways to deal with the local people. Clients operating in the area respect that as well … You really have to proceed with caution. There are a lot of factors that have to be taken into account before you move to resolve things.” Hopkins also says that doing a good job once disaster strikes is about much more than simply knowing the law. “It is just about getting in and making sure everything is done carefully, properly and appropriately,” he says. “You have to deal with families who are devastated and make sure you treat them with respect and care. All of that is very important.”
stuck in transit Disasters aside, when it comes to protecting consumers, some of the biggest changes facing the aviation sector are those outlined in the Federal Government’s National Aviation Policy White Paper which was released in 2009.
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“You have to deal with families who are devastated and make sure you treat them with respect and care” PauL hoPkins, PaRtneR, caRteR neWeLL
“Provided there is competition, people are always going to be looking for new opportunities” RichaRd davis, PaRtneR, hWL ebsWoRth
While proposed legislative changes contained not performing strongly in the commercial sense, within the paper would mean an increase in there is still plenty to keep aviation lawyers insurance limits (in particular for passengers on occupied. domestic carriage) from $500,00 to $725,000, “Aviation is a broad industry sector in which with some regimes to undergo potential there remains much activity in spite of the fundamental change, no action has yet been global downturn,” says Hopkins. “Ranging taken – something which has not particularly from the smaller end with recreational come as a surprise to Biggs. aviation, flight schools, tour operators and “The White Paper was very ambitious and short charter flights, to the other end of very exhaustive,” he says. “But even when we the spectrum in jet aircraft and commercial were reading the permutations of it, we felt that airlines, there remains a very competitive it would still be some time before we saw some industry and much demand for travel.” A D _ L WU T S O C T 2 1 _ 1 1 . p d f Pa ge 1 4 / 1 0 / 1 1 , 3 : 4 1 PM real change.” Davis agrees. He believes the outlook for the In the mean time, despite the fact the sector is sector is positive – especially given the prevailing
“the White Paper was very ambitious and very exhaustive, but … we felt that it would still be some time before we saw some real change” GLenn biGGs, PaRtneR, caRteR neWeLL
difficult conditions which continue to challenge carriers like Qantas. “There will be lots of activity, because there is so much competition in the market – on both the domestic and international markets,” he says. “Provided there is competition, people are always going to be looking for new opportunities. Airlines will be looking for lawyers that not only understand the legal and technical competition side of the industry, but also understand how airlines work as businesses, how they’re managed, and how they interface with their service providers and each other. “So I think there is lots of work ahead of us.” lw
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wise counsel As a woman practising in one of the most emotionally charged areas of law, Caroline Counsel has demonstrated empathy alongside professionalism and logic. She tells Stephanie Quine how she broke through the glass ceiling and made her own luck.
aroline Counsel had never given much thought to the connection between her family name and what she does for a living. Despite tolerating jokes from judges about her name, having to “laugh convincingly” every time as if she had never heard that one before, it was only when she was at the International Bar Association in Vancouver last year that she thought about it seriously. “A couple of women from Africa stopped me and looked at my surname and one said, ‘Do you realise that you are genetically pre-disposed to do this work?” recounts Counsel. Remarkably, the family name of Counsel comes from ancient tribal islands and is thought to have been a nickname for those who were wise and often gave advice to others. Quite fitting, jokes Counsel, describing boisterous gatherings of the Counsel family and major tiffs between her four siblings, arising from the fact that Counsels are “naturally always right”. But perhaps these family tiffs helped Counsel develop the conciliatory skills essential for being a successful family lawyer. Conceding that she tends to be the peacemaker, Counsel says her family complains that she is sometimes an absentee in heated discussions. But Counsel is far from a fence sitter and does not suffer fools. “Most people can tell in a heartbeat what I’m thinking. I don’t have a poker face. I’ll let people know, in no uncertain terms, if I’ve got a problem,” she says. A force to be reckoned with, Counsel became the president of the Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) on 1 January this year and has used the position to speak up on issues affecting the profession. In August, Counsel campaigned against mandatory sentencing plans for juveniles, slamming the Baillieu Government’s proposed legislation as an attempt to buy votes and a failure to consider why crimes are committed in the first place. A fiery commentator and advocate, this month Counsel went to London where she met
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with the Ministry of Justice and the Law Society of England and Wales to discuss justice impact statements and how to make governments more responsible and transparent when making laws. “I was very impressed by their whole concept,” says Counsel. “In England, whoever or whatever department wants to criminalise certain behaviour or change the criminal justice system must bear the burden of the financial knock-on effect.” Another issue of which Counsel has been a strong advocate is the advancement and retention of women in law. In September, the LIV hosted the conference Relaunch Your Career, aimed at assisting lawyers – especially women lawyers – to reenergise their career by considering alternatives. “Slowly, the large firms are coming to grips with barriers for women but there are some who simply won’t seize the opportunity to think differently,” says Counsel. “Flexible or part-time partnerships are the only things that will keep women engaged in the upper echelons of law.” Perhaps part of her motivation to further the standing of women in the profession stems from her own encounter with the glass ceiling. For years Counsel worked as a non-equity partner at a mid-tier commercial firm in Melbourne. Long days, everyday – and sometimes on weekends – ensured exceptional performance figures. Counsel says she “worked her socks off”, yet a partnership position was never offered to her. When the firm merged, however, she was shown the door. “The male lawyer at the merger firm saw my figures and how I was out-performing most of the commercial partners with only a part-time secretary. Basically, he panicked and said I was too big a threat,” explains Counsel. The job interview that followed ended abruptly when Counsel was told she would only be paid 30 per cent of her base salary and that she “shouldn’t have any problems” given the performance-based structure. “I suddenly looked at these guys and thought, ‘No, no, no, no, no. I’ve done
ring-around-the-rosy with you blokes before. You’ve snaffled all the profits that I produce and you promise things like partnership and you never deliver.’ And I just said, ‘No. If I’m going to do this for you, why wouldn’t I do this for myself?’” she recalls. And with that, in 1999 Counsel’s family law boutique practice was born and later became known as Caroline Counsel Family Lawyers. While Counsel acknowledges the loneliness and hard work involved in setting up a practice, she believes it is worth it, having been able to influence more of her own outcomes. “I look at women in the profession and I think, ‘Why aren’t more of you setting up your own practices?’” she says. But Counsel admits that the LIV presidency, which takes up three quarters of her day, has negatively affected her practice this year and that staff have been lost due to her physical absence. However, one thing she has invested much of her time into throughout the year is collaborative law – an alternative dispute resolution model which emerged from the United States in the 1980s and has since spread around the world. In Victoria an adapted model has been functioning for six years and in March this year, national guidelines for collaborative practice were released. Counsel’s firm now uses the collaborative method to assist clients to resolve matters on their own terms and she says the benefits for families are invaluable. “With litigation, all you leave the clients with are the weapons of war. In collaborative [law], it’s all transparent. You sit at the table and you talk. The lawyers, instead of making cheap jibes at each other, actually role model best behaviour and leave clients with the skills of communication, problem solving and respect so they transition from failed lovers to better parents,” she says, adding that collaborativelywon cases manage to “stick” because participants shape the deal they want. “Eighty per cent of all our new clients now self-select into the collaborative process …
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legalleaders Lawyers are no longer the gatekeepers of knowledge,” she says. Seeing the world from the client’s perspective in the way that collaborative law requires, Counsel has become a powerful advocate for clients whilst working for the betterment of families as a whole. Noting how relationships between lovers, parents, siblings and children are complex and can often sour, Counsel – who has had suicidal clients and those who have murdered their children – says that not being able to see past a client’s case makes lawyers lose the perspective and impartiality they are engaged to retain. With over a third of marriages ending in divorce today, Counsel says society needs more “cradle-to-grave training” about relationship psychology. “As a community we have these odd values,” she says. “It’s all about the wedding dress rather than life ever-after as a couple – and how you sustain that, and do you sustain it beyond the point whereby it’s empty and devoid?” A pillar of strength and reason for many relationships and for the profession itself, Counsel hasn’t always been so resilient. Seven years ago she began meditating to combat stress, which was manifesting itself in eczema and insomnia. Within two weeks her symptoms disappeared and Counsel has remained so dedicated to the practice that she had her meditation teacher speak to lawyers as part of the LIV’s Leave No Lawyer Behind strategy this year. The LIV now runs free psychological counselling for lawyers, as well as mindfulness courses, to help manage stress and build resilience. Also helping to maintain Counsel’s mental wellbeing is a “shack” on the river in Mansfield, two hours north-east of Melbourne. She and her husband can normally be found there on most weekends, relaxing with four neighbouring families. “We collect the chooks’ eggs. I love to forage and there’s all sorts of wild apples and plums. I spend most of the weekend cooking,” says Counsel. Meeting her husband at age 36 and with a demanding career to juggle, Counsel’s chance to have children passed her by. But being one of five children, and with plenty of nieces and nephews around, she’s not overly concerned. “I think we’ve probably done enough damage to the planet. Us Counsels have, more than enough, replaced ourselves,” she says. But perhaps the legal profession could do with a few more Counsels – those with the ability to see the world from another perspective, consider other possibilities and offer wise advice. lw
“I don’t I have a poker face. I’ll let people know, in no uncertain terms, if I’ve got a problem” CarolIne Counsel, presIdent, law InstItute of VICtorIa
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The design of a law firm office needs to impress clients and staff. Justin Whealing looks at how four law firms tried to balance productivity with style
t heart, humans are a shallow race. Despite what many people might say to the contrary, people form opinions based on looks that can be tough to shake, despite the level of substance to be found underneath. That is why law firms spend lots of time and money to develop a reception area that tries to capture what they are all about. “First impressions are very important,” says Nick Nichola, the managing partner of Middletons, whose firm moved from west Perth to St Georges Terrace in August. “Clients and staff expect a certain level of comfort.” Location is obviously very important, with an office on St Georges Terrace or Collins Street and meeting rooms with sweeping views of Sydney Harbour giving a firm a sense that it’s operating at the centre of where the action is, possessing the money, power and clout of a major player. Colour also establishes an instant impression. Dark colours convey a sense of conservatism and
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establishment connections, while light colours allude to a contemporary and fresh approach. “Clients tell us that office design is a very important part of a firm’s reputation,” says Craig Wallace, the Melbourne-based chief operating officer of Allens Arthur Robinson. Allens is preparing to move, after 19 years, from its present location at Melbourne’s 530 Collins Street to 101 Collins Street early next year. Wallace says that in the reception areas of all of the firm’s offices, an expansive display of artwork is part of the Allens look. “Our clients want to go into an Allens office, wherever it is, and see there is a similar look and feel about the offices,” he says. “As we move and fit-out each new location, we are very mindful of that and hence, the current focus of the Melbourne client floor design team of incorporating the art gallery concept with the Melbourne client floor.”
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We are dealing with one of Australia’s top law firms, so it should have that presence and power” Simon SWAney, director, BAteS SmArt ArchitectS
That attempt to bring a “wow” factor to the reception area of a law firm is replicated in the office design of all the top-tier Australian law firms. Clayton Utz moved into one of Sydney’s most eye catching and innovatively designed buildings on 1 Bligh Street in June. On walking into the reception area, a visitor is immediately hit with a stunning panorama of Sydney Harbour that can be viewed on an extensive outside terrace. “That first impression is a powerful one,” says Simon Swaney, a director with Bates Smart Architects, the design company employed by Clayton Utz to assist with its move. “We wanted people to arrive and say, ‘whoa, this is pretty special’,”. Swaney says that upon entering the reception area of a law firm, a visitor should be able to get a feel for the prestige and standing of the firm. “A strong impression is required,” he says. “We are dealing with one of Australia’s top law firms, so it should have that presence and power.” While expansive views help to create a strong first impression, the features at the front office area of a law firm should also convey its personality. Swaney says the large amount of open space and natural light, light brown Italian wood features and terrace area were all designed to leave an indelible impression of Clayton Utz in the mind of anyone who drops by. “I would hope they would identify an organisation that is thoughtful and highly professional and contemplative of what it is doing,” he says. “It should also convey a degree of sophistication and elegance, something that values the people that work within it and values its clients.”
In today’s design environment, white is the new black for law firms. There is a prevailing trend away from a design that uses the traditional law firm template of dark colours and rows of weighty bookshelves. At 1 Bligh Street, Clayton Utz looked to incorporate light colours to complement the natural light that streams through the floor to ceiling glass panels. “It was all part of (keeping with) the light, airy, quality of the building,” says Julie Levis, the partner in charge of the firm’s Sydney office. “It reflects the way we do business generally. It is open and forward-looking, and it is pleasing but also very functional. There is nothing that is purely decorative. It works very well.” Law firms are also very much more aware of the impact of how an office environment can shape the mood, health and well-being of staff. In preparing for its relocation in Perth, much of the feedback Middletons received from staff was that they wanted a new office with light colours and lots of natural light. Nichola believes light colours make the work environment for lawyers less intimidating and more friendly. “I think that is why a lot of firms have moved away from the old, mahogany, dark wood grain and very dark coloured carpet – you could get the impression sometimes it is a bit claustrophobic and closing in on you,” says Nichola, when reminiscing about the typical law firm office he remembers from the early stages in his career in the 1980s and 90s. “With most modern workplaces, you now see much lighter, brighter colours, to try to provide a more joyful type of environment in which you are working, rather than one (that conveys a) very austere, sombre, dark, moody place. “You can imagine if you are struggling with stress-related matters, if you come in to a (place) like that, you think, ‘Oh my God, I have entered the gates of hell’,”. Johnson Winter & Slattery likes dark colours. The fast-expanding national firm used dark timber furnishings to fit-out its new reception area when it moved locations in Sydney from Australia Square to 20 Bond Street in June. This is a look that was replicated when it shifted locations in Perth shortly after, and will also be used over the next 18 months as the firm seeks new offices in
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clayton utz used italian wood furnishings
There was zero appetite for an open plan” Julie levis, parTner in charge, clayTon uTz, sydney
Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide. “In terms of the overall look and use of dark timber, they wanted a sense of elegance and style, a sense of solidity and permanence,” says Mark Talbot, a senior associate from Hassell Studio, who was the project leader on JWS’s Sydney relocation. “We wanted to convey that the firm is well established, that they are not going anywhere, and we wanted to provide a high-end hospitality feel to those client areas and meeting areas.” JWS managing partner Peter Slattery says the firm had a committee of nine senior partners that decided on the look of the reception area. He says that although the firm’s work areas use light-coloured work stations and lots of natural light, the firm deliberately chose dark colours in its public areas because he wanted clients to feel they would be dealt with “discreetly” when they walked through the door. “We see ourselves as handling the complex, high-value, difficult matters, and we wanted to convey to clients that when they come here, they are not on show,” says Slattery. “They are not coming into an art gallery. They are coming into professional offices where they will be well looked after in a discreet fashion. That is the kind of ambience we were looking for.”
Step into my office Terrace with a view
In the last few years there has been a trend in professional office design to incorporate open planned offices and even “hot desks”, where staff have no fixed work station. While that might work for a company like the Macquarie Group, law firms have largely stuck to a fitout based on individual offices for lawyers at the senior associate level and above. “There was zero appetite for an open plan,” says Julie
Horses for courses What is it with law firms and horses? Atanaskovic Hartnell has a bust of a horse prominently displayed in its Sydney digs, while the new Sydney office of Clayton Utz also has a sculpture of a horse. “We chose it because we just loved it,” says Julie Levis. “The interior designers joke that if you rub its nose it brings good luck.”
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You could get the impression sometimes it is a bit claustrophobic and closing in on you” Nick Nichola, maNagiNg partNer, middletoNs, oN the effects of a traditioNal law firm
Levis when talking about the feedback from lawyers at Clayton Utz during design discussions. “They liked the idea of having their own office, and we had a high degree of acoustic privacy at our previous offices and they asked for the same degree of acoustic privacy here.” The majority of lawyers at JWS also have individual offices. Peter Slattery says that an open plan office design is unsuited to the practice of law. “We talked at length about open plan offices and at our last offices we experimented with a small area that was open plan, and what we heard from those exposed to open plan was that it was fine on occasions, but was harder to concentrate,” he says. “Our work requires deep concentration and the ability to occasionally shut the door and lock out surrounding distractions,” he says. “I know there can be lots of philosophical debates around open plan, but for us, there is no compelling business reason to move that way.” While closing the door to an office can aid concentration, it does not enhance collaboration. Law firms are cognizant of this, and in the modern office space there are several “break out” areas that are wirelessly enabled to encourage groups of lawyers to work together. Allens CFO Craig Wallace says that large and small communal areas are becoming a more important part of the modern law firm office. “101 Collins Street will be designed so it has a buttress on each side of the building, and on the southern side, it looks out over the Botanic Gardens,” he says. “The southern buttress on each floor is the community area, and is interconnected by stairs, so that is where people can get together, whether it be an informal meeting, social lunches or a departmental meeting.”
middletons ditched dark colours for a brighter hue
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Finding support The Foundationâ€™s objective is to decrease distress, disability and the causes of depression and anxiety in the legal profession www.tjmf.org.au
Wallace says that while junior lawyers will be sharing offices when Allens moves into its new digs early next year, 101 Collins Street will also feature smaller individual offices and a greater range of meeting rooms to facilitate group collaboration. “Our people wanted a design that enabled them to operate with more flexibility than they have been able to in our current fit-out,” he says. “We will have areas on each floor where they can operate when a deal is on and people need to be pulled together quickly, with the flexibility to use informal meeting areas and more formal meeting rooms of different sizes.”
mood lighting: The JWS Sydney reception area
establishing green credentials
“They are coming into professional offices where they will be well looked after in a discreet fashion” PeTer SlaTTery, managing ParTner, JohnSon WinTer & SlaTTery, on Why hiS firm WenT WiTh a dark coloured Theme
dark wood and open panels are a feature of JWS’s Sydney office (top), with artwork featured in meeting rooms (below)
A law firm’s office is its public face. With many firms now having extensive CSR programs and publicly committing to reducing their carbon footprint, offices need to be energy efficient from a credibility and public relations perspective. The new home of Clayton Utz at 1 Bligh Street has been awarded a six-star Green Star accreditation, the highest rating possible, and a five star NABERS Energy rating. In addition to the solar panels and floor to ceiling glass design, the Ingenhoven Architekten of Germany and Architectus of Australia-designed building saves an Olympic size swimming pool of water every two weeks through its filtration system. “I think the green elements of the building are important for corporate responsibility,” says Julie Levis. “CSR has always been important to a certain extent – but it is the green element that is a relatively new thing that has been a big change over the last five to 10 years.” An environmentally friendly office can also benefit a firm’s bottom line. By not being so reliant on air conditioning and having more natural light, the workplace environment is healthier and so are the staff, with fewer sick days and associated productivity gains. Clients are also increasingly taking note of how green a law firm is. “The energy efficiency of the building is obviously very important,” says Peter Slattery of his firm’s new Sydney premises on Bond Street. Prior to moving in, The ING Office Fund and Mirvac spent $60 million refurbishing the former location of the Macquarie Group, and the building now has a five star NABERS Energy rating. “Our clients do expect us to operate an efficient business from a cost perspective,” says Slattery. “Having concern for energy efficiency, which we do have, is a topic that comes up for discussion within our management team.” lw
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Choosing a firm Whether you’re a graduate or senior lawyer, when choosing law firms, there are a few fundamental things to consider, writes Gail Greener Go large or go small Generalist / smaller firms allow direct client contact and give you the potential to build your own practice, thereby becoming an attractive commodity as a potential partner. smaller firms also offer a realistic work / life balance, hands-on experience and a close-knit team environment. Career progression is potentially faster as it can be easier to demonstrate your potential to those in power. at large or top-tier firms, colleagues usually have a higher level of experience due to the large and complex work on offer, higher salaries, access to large support networks, structured training and mentoring programmes, clear career paths and a number of staff benefits. Future career goals if partnership is the ultimate goal and you are thinking of working overseas at some point, consider joining an international firm or one with a strong reputation. alternatively, if
you see yourself as general counsel of a large corporation, then consider a good private practice or in-house role. Type of work if you aspire to be a specialist, most top-tier firms have teams that focus on a particular part of a practice area, thereby concentrating your experience in that space. there are also firms with a reputation for particular practice areas and specialist firms where you can become a true expert in your field of choice. Culture some firms may offer exactly the same type of work but have completely different cultures. it is easier to get to know the culture of a smaller firm as a whole, whereas the larger firms tend to have many teams, creating sub-cultures and making it more difficult to fully grasp the firm’s overall culture.
48 % 20 %
Of more than 17,000 survey respondents said they would like to work four 10-hour days a week with a three-day weekend
Of respondents would like “dress-down days”
Source: CareerBuilder survey, 28 September 2011
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Understanding the firm’s business look into the partners’ backgrounds, the firm’s history, core practice areas and client base, and find out as much as you can about its vision and future plans. Being informed gives you the ability to contribute and be a part of the firm’s strategy. remember, knowledge is power. *Gail Greener is a senior consultant at Dolman
Liza Davenport, international consultant, Naiman Clarke
With unparalleled eating and shopping, a large ex-pat community and a generous 16 per cent tax rate, Hong Kong is hard to beat. But is relocating to Hong Kong realistic for Australian private practice lawyers?
It depends on the lawyer. Some law firms will not consider you unless you have at least two years’ experience. Additionally, for roles that require HK qualification, you cannot be admitted in Hong Kong as an overseas lawyer without a minimum two years’ PQE. Similarly, it depends on your specialisation. In general, banking and finance, financial services and corporate practice groups are doing well and firms are hoping this trend will continue in 2012.
But many firms are still hoping to recruit lawyers with Mandarin or Cantonese language skills, HK qualification and experience in China. Firms will also look for a nexus between you and Hong Kong to ensure you’re a long-term investment. An easy way to establish a nexus is to demonstrate that you have a support network in Hong Kong. For those without HK connections, learn about the culture or take a course in Mandarin. This won’t land you a role but it will demonstrate that you are serious. Allow yourself plenty of time. Realise you may have to take extra steps to secure your ideal role. But, considering the upswing this past year, this may be the best time to make your next move to Hong Kong.
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Offering annotations to the National Privacy Principles as well as expert commentary, Privacy, Confidentiality and Data Security is a comprehensive new guide to this expanding area of law.
R E A D T H E L AT E S T FOLKLAW ONLINE
BUSTED LAW STUDENT CAN STILL PRACTICE BUT LOSES WHEELS
There was only one carrot at that finish line, and they all knew it
Goat racer wins race to take top job THE QUEENSLAND Law Society has elected a new council, including a new president who boasts a rather unusual hobby. Brisbane-based lawyer John de Groot has been elected to the top job and will take up the role in January next year, balancing the weighty role with his avid passion for goat racing. Yes, goat racing. A respected lawyer, author and teacher, de Groot spent much of his childhood in the tiny town of Barcaldine in outback Queensland, and was once the jockey of what was considered “the fastest goat in the west”.
“My goat, ‘Thunder’, was a fantastically fast goat,” said de Groot in an interview with Lawyers Weekly last year. “The other advantage I had was that the finish line was in direct line with our house, so he always took off in a straight line heading for home, which is what goats do.” With such legendary status as a goat racer, de Groot last year injected $2000 into the annual Barcaldine goat races (known as the John de Groot Cup) in an attempt to revive the sport by making it the richest goat race in the country.
Such is de Groot’s passion for the sport, he also published a book titled Memoirs of a Goat Racer & More, which is an account of his life in the bush and all the adventures that came with it. Folklaw ’s favourite story gracing the book’s pages is the tale of ill-fated Piggy, the little black piglet inherited by the de Groot family when they moved into their new Barcaldine home. “When we arrived, we heard squealing coming from half a tank buried in the garden and there was a little black pig looking up at us saying, ‘Feed me!’” said de Groot. “Eventually, he started escaping from the tank because he got so big. He ultimately disgraced himself by turning up in the lounge room at one of my mother’s afternoon tea parties, so after that the butcher took him away. Unfortunately, he returned to us as selected cuts.” While Folklaw frowns upon the apparent heartlessness of the ladies attending that particular high tea, it only hopes de Groot’s newfound responsibilities don’t stop him from pursuing what is a rather awesome past-time.
Lawyers do dirty work Hard-working lawyers are producing more than just billable hours
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A NEW study has revealed that lawyers are particularly dirty and need to clean up their act – literally. As reported by The Telegraph, UK office supplier Viking tested swabs sent in by employees from hundreds of offices across the UK to discover that lawyers, along with accountants and IT workers, are the most unhygienic of all professions. And it seems that some of the filthiest lawyers have been going green – and not in a good way. According to the study, desks, phones and two-thirds of computer keyboards were found to be riddled with germs, with some even growing mould underneath. Yikes! Viking said the germ-riddled desks of lawyers are the result of too many messy lunches eaten at desks – a trend Viking felt was “staggering” but probably all too familiar to those in the legal profession. Chartered environmental health practitioner Dr Lisa Ackerley said: “This research has shown that there are some very unhygienic desks right now in the UK, which is very worrying as those who work in open-plan offices tend to start coming down with illnesses this time of year.” While it’s well known some lawyers can’t be trusted, Folklaw is going to think twice before shaking a lawyer’s hand.
CROWN PROSECUTORS in Townsville might well be seen driving around a hotted-up Subaru after a law student forfeited her rights to the car after she was found guilty of fraud. The Townsville Bulletin reported that the student and her partner attempted to register a red Subaru WRX that featured repairs from a black Subaru WRX. However, it was noticed there were anomalies in the couple’s Written Off Vehicle Inspection form, with the prosecution proving that the compliance plate, chassis number and body identification plate had been pulled off the red vehicle and welded into the black vehicle. It was the contention of the prosecutor that the black vehicle was not likely to be legally road registered. Apparently, such alterations are called “rebirthing” in the car trade, and it is illegal. “A person who commits fraud should not be afforded the opportunity to practice law,” said the prosecutor. Luckily for the 28-year-old student, who has deferred her degree, the magistrate saw her potential, possibly as a tax lawyer who can help clients legally minimise their tax payments, and decided to impose a $1500 fine and not record a conviction. “If you appear again in court for any matter you can say goodbye to any future in the law,” said the magistrate. Despite showing leniency on the student, the magistrate, obviously not much of a car man, denied a request for the return of the vehicles’ tyres, engine, turbo charger, gear box and mag wheels, which will remain in possession of the Crown. Folklaw cannot confirm reports that the Crown Prosecutor was later seen doing burnouts around Townsville in celebration.
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INSIDE , A H A ND CR A F TED CA BIN INF USED W ITH T H E L A T E S T I N T O U C H S C R E E N T E C H N O L O G Y. O U T S I DE , P ION E E R I N G S U P E R-F OR M E D A L U M I N I U M B ODY WOR K T R A N S P OR T S T H E N E W G T T O N E W L E V E L S OF AT H L E T IC S C U L P T U R E . U N D E R T H E S K I N A 6 . 0 L T W I N -T U R B O C H A R G E D W 1 2 E N G I N E P R O D U C E S 4 2 3 K W O F U N A D U LT E R A T E D P O W E R .
T H E N E W C O N T I N E N T A L G T. A U T O M O T I V E A R T.
Lance Dixon Bentley
32 Belair Road Hawthorn, 5062 South Australia 08 8272 8155
570 Wickham Street Fortitude Valley, 4006 Queensland 07 3257 7222 Overseas model shown.
101 Stirling Highway Nedlands, 6009 Western Australia 08 9273 3131
565 Doncaster Road Doncaster, 3108 Victoria 03 9848 9000
52-58 William Street Sydney, 2000 New South Wales 02 8338 3988
Penny Parker In-House Sydney
taylorroot.com.au Australia Property
National mid-tier firm is currently recruiting for a property lawyer to join the group. Awareness of corporate real estate and property development is required for this role. Excellent mix of leasing and transactional work is on offer. Supportive environment and enjoyable culture. Ref: 644222. 1-2 years
This top-tier firm is now recruiting for its broad IP group. Candidates with either commercial or litigation experience from within the field gained at a well regarded practice are urged to apply. This role has arisen due to the growth of the practice. Domestic and international work. Ref: 644675. 2-4 years
This leading blue-chip financial services provider currently requires an experienced lawyer to work on a range of financial services product development, distribution and advisory legal matters. Real career opportunities on offerin a collaborative team environment. Ref: 644385. 4-8 years
This top-tier is looking for an employment lawyer to join its high profile team. Candidates must have experience gained from a leading law firm as well as some exposure to industrial relations. Work with leading clients and practitioners in this field. Ref: 644539. 2-5 years
This leading global household name corporation is seeking to recruit an experienced commercial and IT transactional lawyer for a 12 month maternity leave contract. Team player attitude essential. There is the possibility of longer-term prospects. An excellent role. Ref: 644671. 3-6 years
Multiple opportunities exist for talented corporate M&A lawyers. Lawyers with previous public M&A experience will be highly regarded but it is not essential. Exceptional packages on offer and relocation to the West Coast. Our clients are interviewing now. Apply immediately. Ref: 644677. 2-8 years
Superb national mid-tier seeks a self-starting employment lawyer for a lead senior associate role. Broad employment practice incorporating WR, IR and OH&S. Seeking those who are comfortable running matters end-to-end and mentoring juniors. Fantastic remuneration on offer. Ref: 644598. 5-7 years
This leading blue-chip organisation is seeking a corporate/commercial lawyer to join its in-house legal team. Reporting to the General Counsel, this will be a broad commercial role with property and trade practices experience being advantageous. Apply now. Ref: 644674. 7+ years
From class actions to arbitration this superb all star team acts for headline clients and boasts some of the best work in the country. Salaries are market leading and the firmâ€™s structure makes rapid career development a real possibility. Relocation from the East Coast paid. Apply now. Ref: 644678. 2-7 years
Oil & Gas Legal Manager
This leading commercial practice in the Middle East has an excellent new role for an NQ-3 year IP lawyer. You must have a strong academic background, training and experience gained with a well recognised firm. Apply now for more information about this role. An excellent opportunity. Ref: 25073. NQ-3 years
This Magic Circle firm in Moscow is looking for a common law qualified corporate associate, to come on board. A truly leading M&A and PE practice will be looking for that experience in the candidate. Russian skills not essential, great package inc. housing at 13% tax. Ref: 781930. 2-6+ years
International upstream oil & gas company seeks a legal manager for its team in Jakarta. Must be Indonesian qualified with oil & gas contract experience. An excellent position for a pro-active lawyer with experience of handling a small team, ideally. USD salary is on offer. Ref: 139701. 7+ years
We are working with one of the worldâ€™s premier multinational projects companies in the expansion of their Middle East operations. They specifically require a very high quality project finance lawyer who has experience in handling power projects. Great quality work. Ref: MA23843. 4+ years
Top-tier US practice with global strengths in finance and private equity seeks a lawyer with a solid grounding in leveraged buy outs. The candidate must have strong training and be a good business developer. No Chinese language skills are required for this role. Ref: 168400. 1-3 years
Renowned financial institution seeks to recruit a banking lawyer with experience in securities services (custody and clearing arrangements) and/or trade agreements (exchange traded futures, letters of credit) to support its busy transaction banking team. Excellent salary on offer. Ref: 141901. 10+ years
Commercial/Oil & Gas
This renowned international E&P company, based in the US, is now looking for a commercial lawyer with energy experience to be based in Muscat, where they have a small team focusing on operational matters. Top-quality energy work on offer. Contact us now. Ref: 25163. 6+ years
Tremendous opportunity for a mid-level corporate and/ or funds lawyer to work with the best colleagues and clients at a brand-name firm offshore. Sunshine, tax free salary and a commute that takes less time than drinking your first rum on the beach when you get home. Ref: 862980. 3+ years
This is a fantastic opportunity to gain hands-on experience with one of the leading energy firms in London. You will be working as part of a small team with an enviable client base. Oil & gas run through the veins of this highly ranked practice. Excellent salary and benefits. Ref: 782440. 3+ years
For International roles, call Karlie Connellan or Joanne Bews on +61 (0)2 9236 9000 or email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org For Australian Private Practice roles, call Matt Harris or email email@example.com For Australian In-House roles, call Brian Rollo or email firstname.lastname@example.org For Melbourne roles, call Tim Fogarty on +61 (0)3 8610 8400 or email email@example.com Please note our advertisements use PQE purely as a guide. However we are happy to consider applications from all candidates who are able to demonstrate the skills necessary to fulfil the role.
THE SR GROUP . BREWER MORRIS . CARTER MURRAY . FRAZER JONES . PARKER WELLS . SR SEARCH . TAYLOR ROOT LONDON . DUBAI . HONG KONG . SINGAPORE . SYDNEY . MELBOURNE
Published on Oct 20, 2011
Australia's leading publication for the legal profession. This issue: What you can judge from a law firm office: we look at how four law fir...