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
Freehills takes a bite of the Big Apple

Freehills takes a bite of the Big Apple

SOME OF New York’s finest lawyers are taking a fervent interest in Australian legal expertise in resources, and the private ownership and operation of infrastructure, according to Freehills’…

SOME OF New York’s finest lawyers are taking a fervent interest in Australian legal expertise in resources, and the private ownership and operation of infrastructure, according to Freehills’ leading corporate partner.

Mark Rigotti embarked on a weeklong visit to the US city recently in an effort to open channels with local practitioners and share observations of developing trends.

Travelling alongside senior M&A partner Leon Pasternak, Rigotti’s week in the Big Apple was an M&A-inspired visit to build relationships the firm hopes will add to its M&A practice.

“It was not to go and scout to set up an office. It wasn’t to recruit people,” he said. “It was to go and visit three stakeholders for this firm: US law firms; some of our clients, particularly in the private equity area; and our alumni.”

The visit included meetings with what Rigotti described as “charmed circle firms” and “global giants”, in order to open communication and work referral channels.

He also spent time with both Australian and American clients to strengthen relationships, develop a better understanding of their businesses, “and ultimately to form a pipeline of good work from them, particularly the private equity houses,” he said.

Although similarities in developing trends in the US and Australian markets abound, Rigotti believes one key difference is our active resources M&A industry, particularly concerning consolidation in that mid-cap sector.

“We’ve done quite a bit of work, with Peabody buying Excel Coal, Tullow Oil buying Hardman Resources, those sorts of transactions. They’re not seeing that in the States. They are not seeing the same level of M&A activity in resources,” he said.

A lot of that activity is stemming from the advanced state of Australian assets and our relative geographic proximity to China, Rigotti said.

“China is the biggest market in the world at the moment. It’s cheaper to ship coal, gold, nickel and alumina from here to China than it is all the way across from the United States.

“So in Australia, if you’re a global player, it is cheaper to buy an Australian asset than it is to develop a mine in West Africa or the United States or Canada,” he said. “The geography works in our favour … [and] they are well developed, well run assets.”

Another area of interest is Australia’s expertise in privately owned and operated infrastructure, Rigotti said. “That is something they’ve struggled with, because the public sector owns it over there, and it’s chronically under-funded.”

According to Rigotti, Australian infrastructure specialists, and clients of Freehills, Macquarie Bank, Hastings and Babcock & Brown are making a big impact in New York.

“People are very aware of them, and very aware of them being able to buy, fund and run infrastructure better than the local councils and any of the local players in the US,” he said. “None of the private equity or the US operators have really got that figured out yet.”

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

Freehills takes a bite of the Big Apple
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 & ...