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Partner Profile: Leonard McCarthy

Partner Profile: Leonard McCarthy

We ask a law firm partner a series of rapid-fire questions about their career. This time: Henry Davis York's Leonard McCarthy.

Which firm are you with?

Henry Davis York.

When did you join that firm?


November 2001.

When were you made a partner of that firm?

July 2010.

Which firm were you at most recently prior to this?

Gray & Perkins (since merged with Clarke Kann).

What practice group are you with?

Banking, restructuring & insolvency.   

What has been the most significant change to your practice area during your career?

The continuing emergence of a rescue culture in insolvency in Australia, which is admittedly still somewhat embryonic. However, there is a growing sophistication and realisation that the best approach is to try and preserve enterprise value and sell the business as a going concern rather than having to on appointment, shut down the business, dismiss the employees and sell the assets. The great pity is that the regulatory lag from policy makers here means that insolvency lawyers and accountants have not been given the tools to instil this culture more speedily.

What has been a major career highlight for you?

Acting for the receivers and managers of ABC Learning Centres. The receivers traded, restructured and then marketed and sold the business over a period of near two years. That involved a constant and substantial amount of legal issues, including negotiating supply terms with trade creditors, ensuring leases remained on foot and associated with that, several applications to the Court to maintain the moratorium, and finally, dealing with numerous cross-border issues and sales given the substantial operations the group ran overseas.

What do you like about being a lawyer?

The searching for solutions with clients and being able to collaborate and joust with my peers in the profession. Though, I must confess there are some days where I wish I was a motor mechanic like my brother.

What do you find challenging?

Dealing with unreasonable, uncommercial opponents who unnecessarily prolong matters on peripheral or procedural issues. They do a disservice to their clients and the profession.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Being with my family and friends.

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