YOUNG CORPORATE lawyer Justin Dzau will be interviewing directors and chief executive officers of major Asian companies and investment banks next month, to better understand corporate governance.
Part of Dibbs Abbott Stillman’s banking, investments and securities division, and a member of the firm’s international (asia) desk, Dzau will be conducting the research as part of his master of laws at the University of Melbourne.
“I’ll be spending time in Singapore and China, talking to large listed companies … catching up with their directors, with their chiefs, and with the lawyers of their legal counsels,” Dzau said.
Over the six week trip, Dzau also intends to interview investment bankers to see where corporate governance is heading in Asia, the lightning pace of the region’s transactions offering the perfect focus for his study.
“Business in Singapore and China moves much faster than here,” Dzau said. “Transactions happen fast, and the transactions that happen are big.”
And according to Dzau, the bonus for Dibbs is that his research complements its current international work perfectly.
“It just locks in,” he said. “What it is covering is corporate law and governance in the Asia-Pacific region. So the research will cover Australia, and [broaden] out to Asia, Singapore and China. It’s going to be researching the latest corporate law and governance changes or movements.”
Despite the additional workload that a Masters represents, Dzau is showing no signs of slowing down.
“I’m a fairly young lawyer, so I’m passionate about running hard with my work,” he said, explaining that he still manages to put in a 60 hour week, even though he plans to squeeze his three-year Masters into two.
Although he enjoys the challenge, the other motivation “is that corporate law and governance is changing so fast ... the whole process moves so quickly that you just have to get in and do it”.
Having grown up in Melbourne, Dzau completed a bachelor of law with honours and bachelor of commerce, majoring in corporate finance, before leaving for Singapore in 2004 to work for Freshfields Drew & Napier.
Working for one of the largest magic circle firms in union with Singapore’s largest corporate law firm saw Dzau involved with plenty of cross-border work in mergers and takeovers. But it was a chance meeting with Dibbs partner Colin Hiles in China that opened up the prospect of practising law in Australia while finishing his Masters.