Firm Overview & Capabilities
Allens Linklaters’ Sydney planning and environment team’s broad capabilities and roles on most of the state’s major infrastructure projects placed it regularly within peers sights. Jim Parker’s expertise in environmental compliance work within the energy and resources sector was noted as were the skills of the “simply excellent” Paul Lalich on planning appeal work and contaminated land.
Ashurst’s Sydney team were consistently singled out for their work on the environment aspects of energy and resources projects and transactions. Mark Brennan “has been around and gets a lot of accolades but he probably deserves them” begrudgingly noted one peer. While Brennan’s fellow Partners Michael Astilll and Tony Hill were noted for the capabilities within the environment space.
Baker & McKenzie’s planning practice having recently lost the services of the widely respect Andrew Beatty feel in positioning however the firm’s environment and climate change practice remains strong. In particular Martijn Wilder was viewed as “extremely capable and intelligent”.
Mary-Lynne Taylor at Bartier Perry and her work on behalf of local government authorities was noted with one peer noting her robust litigation style by saying “she’s as tough as an old boot and always fights hard”.
Dovetailing nicely into market leading construction and property practices Clayton Utz’s role as advisors to the various arms of the New South Wales government saw the firm consistently mentioned. Brendan Bateman sat as a regular favourite and young Partner Nick Thomas was seen as “very reasonable to deal with”.
Corrs Chambers Westgarth’s Christine Covington “experience and knowledge” on planning matters was regarded whiel one practitioner noted that new Partner Louise Camenzuli is “beginning to make a name for herself in environment”.
Gadens Lawyers’ developer focused planning practice is a “very well run machine”. Acting on behalf of clients including Winten Property and Leda Holdings Partner Anthony Whealy was noted as a “smart cookie with a high profile” and seen as a “good operator” on planning appeals.
Henry Davis York’s three partner planning and environment team is on the rise with young Partners Liz Wild and Harshane Kahagalle attracting praise. Wild in particular was noted as “across contaminated land issues as well as anyone.”
Herbert Smith Freehills’ Peter Briggs was viewed as the market’s outstanding environment lawyer and “just a bloody good lawyer” by one peer.. Briggs was noted as “particularly effective on contaminated land” issues.
HWL Ebsworth’s work with both state and local government clients were highlighted. Kirston Gerathy was “extremely capable”, Jane Hewitt was ‘fantastic to deal with” and a “cool head” while John Cole’s “understanding of planning and local government” were all singled out.
The departure of former practice head David O’Donnell from the King & Wood Mallesons Sydney planning and environment team saw the firm less commonly featured however it has equally allowed new Partner Michael Causer’s profile to expand rapidly. Debra Townsend was commonly seen as an individual who “fights extremely hard for the interests of her client”. One peer noted that when Townsend was on the other side of disputes the contest was always heavily fought, noting “…here we go again”.
Maddocks Lawyers attraction of Patrick Ibbotson to it’s planning and environment team and the continue progression of Partner Prue Burns has lifted the firm’s profile dramatically. Sitting on some 59 government panels in NSW alone the firm’s ability to dominate this market segment was widely acknowledge. Partner and the firm’s Sydney office Managing Partner, Stan Kondilios “has a style that can sometimes put people offside but it’s very effective” noted one peer.
Marsdens‘ representation of local governments within the Western Sydney region was begrudgingly noted by peers. In particular Adam Seton was seen as “a good bloke who’s very reasonable”.
Norton Rose’s traditional strength of mixing government clientele with developer clients looks to have waned somewhat with the firm increasingly seen to be focusing on developer side clientele. Felicity Rourke was “a pleasure to deal with”, the skills of Peter Rigg on planning appeal work and Jacinta Studdert on environment and heritage matters were highlighted.
Pikes & Vererkers continue to hold its position as the historical advisor to the state’s local government clients and senior partner Gary Green’s work on behalf of developers was also noted.
Shaw Reynolds Bowen Gerathy’s Chris Shaw was seen as “a good guy who knows his stuff’ and the firm’s capabilities on planning matters was regularly noted.
Sparke Helmore’s Chris Drury may have seen his visibility dip in recent times but he is still held in the highest regard by peers, particularly for his ability to “fight hard but fair”. The firm acts for local government clients such as Waverley Council, Parramatta City Council and Liverpool City Council.
Wilshire Webb Staunton Beattie’s position as “good value” is complemented by the firm’s “great team with knowledge across the board”.