Which firm are you with?
Herbert Smith Freehills.
When did you join that firm?
I’ve been here since undertaking articles in 1999, back when we were Freehill Hollingdale & Page.
When were you made a partner of that firm?
Mid 2008 — so I’m currently in my fifth year.
Which firm were you at most recently prior to this?
The same firm, but with a shorter name!
What practice group are you with?
I’m in the corporate M&A team. I act on a wide variety of public and private transactions for corporations and financial investors, with a particular focus on the infrastructure and utilities sectors.
What has been the most significant change to your practice area during your career?
The changing nature of the parties to the transactions we work on. There is a much greater breadth now — including various types of financial investors, sovereign entities, state-owned enterprises, and offshore buyers more generally. Their level of sophistication, in terms of their experience and understanding of the Australian M&A market and its processes, is already high, and is getting higher.
What has been a major career highlight for you?
Shortly after I became a partner I led the team acting for the successful consortium on the privatisation of Cairns and Mackay Airports. It was a complex, difficult transaction, carried out during the depths of the GFC. What I found most rewarding was the commitment and expertise that our broad team — operating across several states — displayed in order to achieve a successful outcome. Of course, it always helps when the client wins the bid.
What do you like about being a lawyer?
I enjoy working closely with clients to understand their objectives and to help them develop and implement their strategies. I’m lucky to have worked repeatedly with a number of clients over several years, and it has been great to have contributed to their ongoing success.
What do you find challenging?
At the moment, it’s probably trying to ensure that I make best use of our newly-formed global firm and find the right specialists around the world to assist on multi-jurisdictional matters. It’s a learning experience, but it seems to be going well so far.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?
At the moment it’s mainly spending time with our young family. And, when that gets too much, retreating to the wine cellar.