This listing details leading New South Wales based Senior Counsel and Junior Counsel practising within the area of planning and environment. It is compiled on the back of feedback from solicitors practising within these areas.
Adrian Galasso SC – Seven Wentworth Chambers
Sandra Duggan SC – Martin Place Chambers
Neil Williams SC – Sixth Floor Selborne Wentworth Chambers
Noel Hutley SC – Fifth Floor St James Hall
Christopher McEwen SC – Martin Place Chambers
John Ayling SC – Martin Place Chambers
Richard Lancaster SC – Eleven Wentworth Chambers
Mark Leeming SC – Eighth Floor Selborne Chambers
Craig Leggat SC – Martin Place Chambers
Ian Lloyd QC – Trust Chambers Chambers
Duncan Miller SC – Seven Wentworth Chambers
John Robson SC – 12th Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers
Timothy Robertson SC – Frederick Jordan Chambers
Bret Walker SC – Fifth Floor St James Hall
Michael Staunton – Martin Place Chambers
Ian Hemmings – Martin Place Chambers
John Maston – Nigel Bowen Chambers
Clifford Ireland – Thirteenth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers
Heather Irish – Martin Place Chambers
Andrew Pickles – Martin Place Chambers
Fenja Berglund – Martin Place Chambers
Steven Berveling – Martin Place Chambers
Philip Clay – Martin Place Chambers
Nicholas Eastman – Martin Place Chambers
Matthew Fraser – Martin Place Chambers
Gail Furness – 11th Floor St James’ Hall
Michael Henry – Sevetnh Floor Selborne Chambers
Thomas Howard – Frederick Jordan Chambers
Anna Mitchelmore – Sixth Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers
Scott Nash – Martin Place Chambers
Angela Pearman – Martin Place Chambers
Mark Seymour – Martin Place Chambers
Ashley Stafford – 12th Floor Selborne/Wentworth Chambers
Michael Wright – University Chambers
Editorial Overview & Commentary
Adrian Galasso SC stood out as the “pick of the planning silks” and attracted praise for both his knowledge of the area and his “ability to turn on the fire when appropriate”. John Ayling SC is “clear, concise and communicates well to clients” and the widely respected Chris McEwen SC was noted as being effective across a broad spectrum of matters and “when you give him a brief you know that he’s read it and is completely across it”.
On environment matters at a Senior Counsel level number of firms look to be increasingly moving away from picking a specialist planning and environment silk and instead looking to utilise some of the leading commercial Senior Counsel. In this regard Bret Walker SC was viewed as the practitioner who most effectively worked within the environment area.
Amongst Junior Counsel although still relatively new at the bar Mike Staunton “has a unique understanding of the commercial and property aspects of matters” and this approach combined with the fact that “he’s exceedingly good value” saw Staunton just pip the experienced Ian Hemmings as our Market Leader. Hemmings himself was seen as “immeasurably polished” while his Martin Place Chambers colleague Heather Irish was praised for her “attention to detail”. Nigel Bowen Chambers’ John Maston’s work on compulsory aquisition and contamination matters was regularly noted and Tom Howard’s strong reputation in environmental prosecution matters is also now viewed as extending to planning matters with on practitioner praising Howard’s “great legal mind”.
On the pricing front the NSW planning and environment bar continues to display good value when compared to the skills on offer and the pricing levels in other states. Senior Counsel struggled to exceed daily rates of $7,500 with most practitioners feeling a rate of closer to $6,000 per day as reasonable while quality Junior Counsel were able to be retained for between $3,000 to $3,500 per day. Such is the competition at the junior end of the bar that daily rates of $2,000 are not unheard of.
Despite this low daily rate we did receive comment that on occasion care needed to be taken with the costs associated with briefing certain individuals due to a somewhat liberal application of time recording.