2009 IN REVIEW Across the board: Robert Milliner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques

By Lawyers Weekly|03 March 2012

The year has thrown up some unique challenges and opportunities for law firms and lawyers, as will the year to come. Lawyers Weekly speaks with industry leaders across the legal spectrum about…

The year has thrown up some unique challenges and opportunities for law firms and lawyers, as will the year to come. Lawyers Weekly speaks with industry leaders across the legal spectrum about how the events of 2009 have affected firms and what's in store for 2010.

Top tier view: Robert Milliner, chief executive partner of Mallesons Stephen Jaques

OFFICES: SYDNEY, MELBOURNE, PERTH, BRISBANE, CANBERRA, HONG KONG, BEIJING, SHANGHAI, LONDON, PORT MORESBY (ASSOCIATED OFFICE)

What has been the key issue affecting top-tier firms in 2009?

The flow-on effects of the economic downturn clearly dominated the landscape this year. Work volumes were affected across most practice areas and with less work on offer the marketplace was even more competitive, with client expectations heightened around price and value.

This made the last 12 months one of the most challenging in business that any of us have experienced. Flexibility and adaptability were key.

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What do you think will be a key challenge/opportunity for top-tier firms in 2010?

There are some positive economic indicators emerging but, as evidenced by the ongoing rollercoaster performance of equity markets, the overall business environment remains patchy and we believe any sustained global recovery is still some time away.

Notwithstanding this environment, we are seeing a good pipeline of transactions and matters and there are opportunities in key growth areas for firms with appropriate depth of capability.

For example in M&A, outbound and inbound direct foreign investment continues to increase, particularly in the resources sector, which plays to our experience in both Australia and Asia.

Similarly, re-regulation of financial markets is in the spotlight and Mallesons has deep expertise in regulatory issues, both locally and regionally.

Our focus in 2010 will be to help shape new legislation through regular liaison with governments and regulators, as well as advising clients on the implications of regulatory change.

ACROSS THE BOARD: See how our panel of experts viewed 2009:

>> Mid-tier view: Andrew Willder, Lander & Rogers

>> Boutique view: John Kain, Kain Corporate + Commercial

>> In-house view: Peter Turner, Australian Corporate Lawyers Association

2009 IN REVIEW Across the board: Robert Milliner, Mallesons Stephen Jaques
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