A particularly active market and a relatively small pool of Senior Counsel with a proven track record in construction matters has seen a notable increase in the use of the state’s stronger commercial silks. In this regard Shane Doyle QC, when budget permits, is the unquestioned first choice while others such as Brian O’Donnell QC and Pat O’Shea QC were also favoured.
John Bond QC and Robert Holt QC continue to sit within our Preeminent ranking. Their contrasting styles (Bond being described as “gregarious” and a ”head-kicker” while Holt was viewed as “meticulous” and “considered”) saw firms not overly aligned to one or the other and typically adopting more of a “horse for courses” approach.
Tom Sullivan QC is perhaps the most favoured construction silk in Queensland at present. His service levels, diligence and ability to effectively work without a Junior Counsel on some matters all impressed the state’s solicitors with one noting “there’s no ego, just hard-work”. Peter Dunning QC in another silk whose star is on the rise.
Within the ranks of Junior Counsel Mark Ambrose and Gareth Beacham continue to stand clear with both noted for their effectiveness and affordability on mid-market Security of Payment matters.
The presence and activity of Sydney based Junior Counsel particularly on energy and resources related work was also noted. Most active here was Nuala Shaw (who now also sits as part of Alfred Lutwyche Chambers) and was described as “a good alternative to the styles of the other Juniors we have up here”.
The “diligent” and “hard-working” Peter Franco is a significant mover in our rankings while Greg Thomson’s work on QCAT and QBSA matters was noted.
Queensland’s construction solicitors were relatively accepting of the comparatively lofty daily rates charged by Queensland silks with most seeing rates of between $8,500 to $10,000 per day as within an acceptable range. Of concern though were additional fees and variations often charged which pushed such daily rates well above these levels.
Quality Junior Counsel can generally be found for between $4,000 to $6,000 with the middle to lower part of this range being viewed as reasonable by solicitors.