February 28, 2024
Doyle's Guide

Editorial Commentary – Planning & Environment, Adelaide, 2015

Although the majority of Adelaide’s lawyers have experienced some challenging times in the past 12 months it’s been a comparatively positive environment for Adelaide’s planning & environment lawyers.  A changing leglislative and regulatory framework combined with an upward swing in the state’s property market has seen flows of planning work in particular improve.

The state’s two leading planning and environment practices, Botten Levinson and Norman Waterhouse, previously enjoyed strong position at the top of the market.  The arrival of a number of new firms in the market and lateral moves to firms aspiring firms looking to bolster their planning and environment presence has done little to alter this.  Indeed it’s arguable that the abovementioned market movements have only weakened any potential rivals and that the gap between the market leaders and others has widened.

The absence of any real volume of resources work has also resulted in a number of firms and practitioners who previously enjoyed higher positioning within our rankings fall away somewhat as their “environment” rather than planning focus has left them in a difficult position for the time being.  Compound this with Botten Levinson’s near stranglehold on the developer originated planning work and some practices may face challenging times in the short-term.

There are also questions as to how Wallmans will position itself in the next few years.  Historically the firm has enjoyed a reputation as one of the stronger players in the government/local government space however with the firm missing out on a number of recent key local government panel appointments change must surely be on the horizon.  If the reduced opportunity for local government work is compensated by a larger volume of private sector work then Botten Levinson may well find itself with a genuine competitor.

At the local bar all eyes are focused on newcomer David Billington.  Formerly of Norman Waterhouse, Billington has already made a significant impact.

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