Newly appointed Assistant Crown Solicitor Mark McGuinness is the new head of the property law practice group in the New South Wales Crown Solicitors Office (CSO).
NSW Crown Solicitor Ian Knight said the senior property law specialist’s appointment reflects the CSO’s reputation for conducting technically challenging, interesting and important work in government property matters in a workplace which prides itself on a very good work-life balance.
“While it is difficult for public sector law agencies to compete with the large private law firms for senior people on the basis of remuneration, McGuinness’ appointment underlines the fact that it can be done,” Knight said.
“Job satisfaction, built on knowing that the work you do makes a real difference, is a strong motivation at a time when many senior private sector practitioners are questioning the demanding work practices that appear to be standard fare for that part of the profession,” he said.
The major reasons for moving from a traditional, large private law firm for McGuinness were the quality, variety and significance of the work he will be involved in, as well as the CSO’s strongly collegiate approach to handling matters and the Office’s positive work environment.
“For a start, government work is often unusual and very interesting. Undertaking advice work is of particular interest to me, coupled with the fact that because there is no separate litigation area, each practice area handles its own litigation,” McGuinness said.
“When you are responsible for the entire process on a particular matter — from initial drafting of advice, right through to conducting any litigation it gives rise to — your skills as a lawyer are challenged and sharpened,” he said.
Knight believes that McGuinness’ appointment comes at a time when work for the CSO is booming.
“As is obvious from the increasing level of media coverage, the size, scope and impact on the community of government-related property matters is growing apace,” Knight said.
“The matters we are involved in range across the full spectrum of property law — from compulsory acquisition of land, through the commercial transactions of buying, selling and leasing, to the highly sensitive and important role of ensuring the probity of highly complex (and often highly controversial) public/private partnership arrangements,” he said.
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