find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Qantas GCs grounded

Qantas GCs grounded

Allens partner Andrew Finch will replace Brett Johnson as the general counsel of Qantas, with the airline gagging both men from talking to the media.

Allens partner Andrew Finch (pictured) will replace Brett Johnson as the general counsel of Qantas, with the airline gagging both men from talking to the media.

On Monday (23 July), Qantas CEO Alan Joyce announced that Brett Johnson would be stepping down from his 17-year tenure as general counsel.

“Brett has had a major impact on the success of Qantas and his sound advice to the board and me has been invaluable over many years,” said Joyce in a statement.

Joyce also announced that Finch, a partner at Allens since 2002 who counts Qantas as a client, would step into Johnson’s shoes on 1 November, with Johnson staying at the airline until the end of October.

Lawyers Weekly approached Qantas to speak with Johnson, but that request was declined.

Lawyers Weekly also approached Allens to speak to Finch, but that request was also declined at the request of Qantas, who have barred him from media interviews.

Finch is officially at Allens until the end of October, but it is not known if he will remain an active member of the partnership for the duration of that period.

A Sydney-based corporate heavy-hitter, Finch is no stranger to the corridors of Qantas HQ.

He acted for Qantas with regard to the proposed $10 billion merger with British Airways in late 2008, which was abandoned.

He also acted for Hutchison Telecommunications on its 2009 merger with Vodafone and also counts Brambles Industries and Leighton Holdings as clients.

Firms’ friend
Qantas uses a number of law firms, with the airline coming under the microscope of legal bodies and regulators regularly over the last few years due to its involvement in a price-fixing cartel and its stoush with its pilots, ground staff and engineers, which came to a head in October last year when the entire fleet was grounded.

Freehills acted for Qantas in its dispute with its workers and union groups, with Melbourne-based employee relations partner Graeme Smith leading his firm’s team.

In November 2007, Qantas was fined $US61 million by the US Justice Department after it pleaded guilty to price fixing in the air freight industry. It received a $20 million penalty from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in 2008 for breaching price-fixing rules, and in November 2010 the European Commission fined the airline carrier $12.1 million.

Johnson Winter & Slattery has acted for Qantas with regard to investigations by competition regulators.

In January 2011 Qantas settled an American class action for $US26.5 million. That settlement was negotiated by Qantas' US legal advisers, Todd Miller and Kimberly Shaw, from Washington DC firm Baker & Miller.
 

Allen & Overy and Minter Ellison have also acted for Qantas on corporate matters.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Qantas GCs grounded
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
APPOINTMENTS
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
opinion
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
Help
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...