AUSTRALIAN LAW firms are sprucing up their marketing pitches, with the release of the annual Chambers Global guide to the world’s leading lawyers for 2008.
While partners dominate the listings, some outstanding senior associates have also been recognised in the 2008 rankings. Lawyers Weekly learned that these lawyers are definitely more than just names on a list.
Clayton Utz lawyer Karolina Popic has been named Banking & Finance: Securitisation (Associate to Watch) in the 2008 Chambers rankings. “I’m honoured to be recognised by my peers out there and by clients for a lot of the hard work that I’ve done over the years in the securitisation area,” she said.
The desk calendar has yet to flip over to February, but Popic has already outdone this achievement in 2008. “I’ve been made a partner, so I’m just focusing on developing my relationships with existing clients that I have, going out there and doing some more good deals in securitisation.”
To get noticed in the securitisation market, it pays to work with big clients who are regular issuers in the market, according to Popic. “I do a lot of work for Macquarie Securitisation’s PUMA [residential mortgage backed securitisation program], Bank of Queensland and AMP. They’re all quite regular issuers in the market so we are continuously doing deals,” Popic said. “And I think that in itself … brings you to the attention of not only your clients but the other parties you are dealing with on the other side of the transactions.”
Popic, 31, was named a senior associate in 2003 and promoted to partner in 2008. Popic believes her strong work ethic has bought her to the attention of the industry. “I think there are certainly a lot of deals that I’ve done over 2006 and 2007 which have bought me to the attention of other people in the industry, and other lawyers out there,” she said.
Minter Ellison can also afford to be proud of its results in this year’s Chambers Global Guide, with four senior associates achieving top billing: Leanne Bowie (environment and project approvals), Paul Kallenbach (technology, media and telecommunications), Iain Stanford (international trade group) and Dr Jonathan Fulcher (Native Title).
Paul Kallenbach, 37, is a senior associate in the firm’s Melbourne office, specialising in technology, IP, internet, electronic payment and e-commerce issues.
It would have been difficult to avoid the spotlight in a year where the technology practice handled cases involving internet juggernaut MySpace as it expanded into mobile phone platform delivery and a number of “large” outsourcing deals for BHP Billiton. “It’s a fast moving area; an interesting area to keep on top of,” the IP lawyer said.
Kallenbach credits his personal success to an overriding passion for the technology area, as well as his commitment to building his own public profile. “It’s sort of carving out, and making that area your own perhaps gives one an edge in building a profile, being known as a ‘thought leader’ in that area to your client, and being seen as a lead person in actually doing the work,” he said.
Working a little client magic is also handy, according to Kallenbach. “[There’s an air of] black magic [around] how one gets into these international guides. I think what happens is they hear your name, or there are names suggested to them by other people that they’re interviewing,” Kallenbach said. “And then they do their own independent research, and that involves calling clients of the firms. So then it very much depends on having a strong relationship with those clients.”
Both lawyers reported strong interest in the Global Chambers results within their firm. “It’s taken seriously, because the people who use these guides are presumable in-house council and people looking for lawyers would take them to be independently-researched guides, and therefore [the guides] carry some weight,” Kallenbach said.
Next week Lawyers Weekly will publish a full rundown of the aggregate results for the top 10 Australian firms.