May 31, 2024
Doyle's Guide

Editorial Commentary – Construction, South Australia, 2012

This section provides additional information in relation to firm and individuals capabilities as well as any general market trends and influences relating to the legal services aspect of the South Australian construction market.  It is compiled on the back of feedback from both solicitors practising within these areas and client referees.

Litigation and tax powerhouse Cosoff Cudmore Knox was regularly noted for work on contentious construction matters by peers.  In particular Partner Katrina Cosoff’s

The integration of construction market veteran and respected mediator, Ian Nosworthy into Cowell Clarke as a Consultant has strengthed the firm’s reputation in the area with some peers noting that the firm generally looked to be increasing its committment to the property, construction and development space.

Crawford Legal’s reputation as the “standouts” in front-end construction matters within the South Australian market continues.  Founding Partner Victor Daminato is viewed as “a good guy who knows his stuff and is a pleasure to deal with” with Daminato’s work on behalf of and relationship with Hansen Yunken envied by peers.  Litigation partner, Chris Branson, who founded the firm alongside Daminato, passed away in March 2012.

Having been formed in September 2011 via the merger of FR Law and Black Cleland, FBR Law was seen as still finding its feet in the South Australian construction market however peers noted that, in a more bouyant market the firm looks weel positioned to service mid-market construction players.

Specialist construction firm Fenwick Elliott Grace regarded principally for its capabilities on contentious matters perhaps needed no further boost in market standing however the operational commencement of the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 2009 (SA)in December 2011 looks has seen the firm “everywhere”.  Founding Partner Robert Fenwick Elliot was described as “far and away the best construction litigator” in the South Australian market with one peer noting “clients love him”.   Tom Grace, who previously has sat within our South Australian construction rankings drops out this year due to the fact he is on a period of extended leave.

Finlaysons presence in the construction space lacks the punch the firm possesses in other areas.  Anthony Floreani, who previously led the firm’s construction team, left the firm in early 2012 to move to a General Manager role within the construction industry.  As it currently stands the firm’s construction capabilities are marshalled by respected energy and resources Partner, George McKenzie.

Although the firm isn’t seen as focusing on the construction space, Joanne Staugas’ presence at Johnson Winter & Slattery ensures it is well regarded within the South Australian market.

Lynch Meyer’s capabilities and depth on contentious construction matters was noted with veteran David Meyer, the firm’s Chairman of Partners Michael Hutton and former Pinsent Mason’s lawyer Michael Battye all praised.

Having gained former Fisher Jeffries Partner Manik Meah in late 2011 Minter Ellison’s front end construction capabilities gained attention.

Thomsons Lawyers broad construction practice gained mention on the back of Tony Saint’s front end work on behalf of clients such as Adelaide Airport and Geoff Brennan’s work on contentious matters.  Of Brennan one peer noted, “he’s more of a generalist litigator but he knows what he’s doing in this area”.

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