Shaun Temby – Focusing on competition and consumer law, innovation, and mentorship
With his in-depth understanding of competition and consumer law, Shaun Temby is not only a leading litigator, but also draws on his expertise to educate his clients and wider market. In between advising on often complex high-profile matters for clients, Shaun produces Maddocks’ annual Australian Competition and Consumer Commission Year in Review publication, and writes regular articles and updates on significant cases and legal developments. He is also the host of the popular legal podcast series Watchdog.
What inspired you to follow a career in the legal profession?
I have always been attracted to the law for its use of language, logic and argument. Like many lawyers I know, I had the propensity to debate and argue matters at school - and a tendency to talk too much in class. What better use for these attributes and interests, then than the legal profession? I soon realised of course there was so much more to being a lawyer, and over the years I’ve developed a real love for what I do using reasoning, legal argument, strategy and the legal system to help my clients solve their problems.
My practice is focused on consumer and competition law, which I find intellectually challenging and endlessly fascinating. I’ve been fortunate to have worked both for and against the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission and, consequently, some of the litigation with which I’ve been involved has been at the cutting edge of the law. This means that aspects of my practice are still evolving, particularly, notions of good faith, unconscionable conduct and what constitutes fair and reasonable conduct in a commercial setting. It’s these sorts of developments that I find really interesting.
What's your approach to client service that separates you from the rest?
Providing exceptional client service is very much the driver of my practice, as it is across Maddocks. While I use my technical skills and legal experience to provide the best advice, my approach is very pragmatic when it comes to resolving what are often complex litigious issues – and this means helping clients to carefully assess and balance any risk against their business objectives and desired commercial outcomes. It makes for very close working relationships, built on trust and mutual respect.
How do you innovate and stay ahead of industry trends?
New and emerging technologies are having a fundamental impact on the legal sector, creating challenges and disruption but also significant opportunities for those lawyers who are willing to invest in change.
It’s an ongoing area of interest for me personally and in my role at Maddocks with innovation and legal technology a big focus. I spent several years as leader of the firm’s Innovation Strategy. I’m still very active when it comes to the firm’s innovation pilots and projects, which often brings new trends and technologies onto my radar. It is also a chance for me to bring fresh ideas to the firm, based on changes and trends that I observe in the legal profession and other industries.
My main focus over the past few years has been developing litigation tools and support services and related technology that will streamline and improve our service to clients. Maddocks has introduced a number of new approaches to litigation, including the use of modern legal project management practices, litigation work flows with precedents, knowledge and tips for best practice embedded in the work-flow design and the cutting-edge use of data analytics for e-Discovery. We’ve also worked with third-party providers to explore new legal tech offerings, such as the ‘Josef’ chatbot software, which we trialed to automate alternative resolution processes.
What is the toughest challenge you've faced in your role? How did you overcome it?
Without question, one of the most challenging periods of my career so far concerned a very large and complex dispute that we ran (and won) last year involving Mercedes-Benz Australia- Pacific. The sheer size, complexity and high-profile nature of this matter coupled with the very short timeframe that we had available to prepare the matter for trial needed to be carefully managed. This was a $650 million dispute that will set an important precedent in business-to- business transactions, as well as having a far-reaching impact on car manufacturers worldwide.
As the team leader for the matter, I focused on maintaining a consistent balance between the needs and priorities of our client and working to the challenging Court-ordered timetable – as well as ensuring our large cross-border legal team stayed engaged and motivated throughout the trial preparation and the trial itself. It required a disciplined approach to project management, a keen focus on the client and their various stakeholders and the support of a fantastic team of people.
What are some of your goals for the next 5 years?
Beyond continuing to grow my practice, my attention will be very much on what is next in competition and consumer law and what that means for our clients’ businesses who will be impacted. I’m also keen to see how we can use emerging technologies at Maddocks to drive efficiencies, accuracy and improvements in ease of doing business.
What is your advice for any younger lawyers who look to follow in your footsteps?
For younger lawyers, I would say a combination of hard work, dedication to your clients’ needs and a commitment to continual improvement and developing your experience and professional growth are key to having a satisfying career. There will be times in your career when an opportunity presents itself. The key to success is being alert enough to recognise the opportunity, brave enough to back yourself and engaged enough to make the most of it.