Top senior associate towers above the rest

By Malavika Santhebennur|13 August 2014

King & Wood Mallesons senior associate Daniel Natale is a giant at the firm.

Daniel (pictured right) had to step up and take charge of one of the firm’s biggest transactions in recent years, for which he was commended both internally and externally.

The significant achievement saw him beat five other finalists to clinch the Senior Associate Award at the Lawyers Weekly Law Awards, proudly sponsored by Michael Page Legal, on Friday night (8 August).

“It is exciting,” Daniel told Lawyers Weekly on winning the award.

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“It’s great for senior associates generally to get some recognition for the crucial roles they play on matters.”

Daniel was unable to attend the Awards ceremony because he is currently on secondment in London, where KWM joined hands with European firm SJ Berwin last year. KWM partner Susan Hilliard (pictured below) accepted the award on his behalf.

For Daniel and his colleagues, his greatest achievement while working for KWM was acting for the joint DEXUS Property Group/Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s $3.9 billion acquisition of the Commonwealth Property Office Fund (CPA).

Daniel’s role in the bid included formulating advice on structuring the transaction and initial derivative stake; joint venture documentation (including joint-bidder agreements) for the consortium; coordinating due diligence of the CPA portfolio, and arranging the implementation of the transaction.

“The matter was really interesting and it was the most significant matter I have led to date with a number of novel elements,” he said.

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“I had a great sense of achievement when our clients were successful.”

Daniel also instructed large teams of junior lawyers (about seven M&A junior lawyers and two junior senior associates) and coordinated specialist groups throughout the firm, including property and stamp duty.

Clients showered him with praise following the transaction.

“I can’t believe he’s not a partner,” one client said.

“I’ve never seen a guy work so hard. He can go across other disciplines, he knows our business well – and that’s key to service delivery: understanding the drivers. You can’t advise in a vacuum.”

Daniel said he loves working as a corporate lawyer in private practice and can see himself doing this for some years to come.

Looking at the legal profession, Daniel feels practitioners need to understand their clients’ commercial drivers, as clients start considering legal excellence as a given and expect more from law firms.

For this, lawyers need to ask clients what they want to achieve and understand their business.

Daniel commended the other “impressive” nominees in the category and said they were “just as, if not more, deserving … I didn’t really expect to win”.

Other finalists included Rohan Doyle from Herbert Smith FreehillsAndrew Maynes from KWM, Chris Mitchell from Norton Rose FulbrightClaire Schneider from Norton Rose Fulbright and Liana Westcott from Sparke Helmore Lawyers.

Top senior associate towers above the rest
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