Goodbye job applications, hello dream career
Seize control of your career and design the future you deserve with LW career

Construction lawyers should prepare for busy, interesting and dynamic work

Those practising in construction law should prepare for a dynamic and stimulating near-future, with a variety of challenges and opportunities on the horizon.

user iconShandel McAuliffe 04 April 2022 Big Law
Construction lawyers should prepare for busy, interesting and dynamic work
expand image

Matt Coleman and Joshua Saunders spoke recently on The Lawyers Weekly Show about their predictions for legal professionals in the construction industry, as Australia plans for the future while managing ongoing challenges from COVID-19.

Health system

Mr Coleman observed that Australia would be taking measures so its health system is prepared for tomorrow’s needs. He highlighted: “An attempt to really ready the country for future pandemics and other health-related challenges … things like onshore vaccine manufacturing capability has been announced as an area where the government has recognised that we need sovereign capability …”


And Mr Saunders stated: “Certainly the transport and health sectors are going to be very, very busy.”

Renewable energy

Looking at where growth might be seen in the construction industry, Mr Saunders noted that the energy sector is likely to experience some great opportunities.

Mr Saunders stated: “I think what we’re seeing now with some stories in the news about the major coal-fired power stations being shut down early, I think that the gap there is that renewables, as everyone knows, if the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t blow, what happens?”

The solution, according to Mr Saunders, “is to ensure grid stability, you have to store the energy somehow. So, I think that we’re already seeing this, that battery storage, pumped hydro, and the move towards hydrogen production is going to take off.”

Competition in the market

Looking at other factors affecting construction going forward, competition is likely to cause disruption to the monopoly of three major firms.

Mr Coleman stated: “We’ve got three big players in Australia, and it’s been that way for some time, and governments have been looking to do something about that and really encourage participation by overseas contractors.”

Change seems to be a common theme in construction. Mr Saunders observed: “It is a time of constant change. The way the world has changed in the last two years, and perhaps five to 10 years, is just incredible. We are facing all sorts of challenges, local, regional, global …”

Hybrid working

Like many professions, the legal sector has had to embrace hybrid working due to COVID-19. Mr Saunders and Mr Coleman commented on the pros and cons of this new way of working.

Mr Saunders observed: “In terms of the way that we practise what we do and looking forward, I think that the work-from-home situation is just, at least a couple of days a week, I think that is inevitably going to continue for some period of time.”

He added: “I think people have become used to working from home, and the simple reality is that, sort of, we have all learned how to do a hundred per cent of our role not in the office, let’s say. That is certain to continue.”

Mr Saunders went on to note that the current working style is lacking a people element that’s essential for the legal profession.

He said: “I personally would hope that perhaps small face-to-face meetings will start up again, but I can’t say that I see that is going to necessarily happen in the short term.”

Mr Coleman also raised the need for in-person work.

He stated: “Getting that balance right between working from home and in the office is going to be something that we’ll need to work through over the next period of time, and certainly, the landscape has shifted.”

Mr Coleman added: “For those junior lawyers, in particular, so much of that really valuable learning takes place face to face in working with your colleagues. So, while having the balance and enjoying the benefits that have come as a result of COVID [hybrid working], it’s really important to be present and to be there learning from others, and also to create that culture in the organisation.”

The transcript of this podcast episode was slightly edited for publishing purposes. To listen to the full conversation with Matt Coleman and Joshua Saunders, click below:

You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!