April 22, 2024
Doyle's Guide

Queensland Planning & Environment Market – Editorial Overview, 2013

Firm Overviews (Alphabetical Order)

Allens Linklaters’ small yet effective planning and environment practice is well regarded by peers.  Rosanne Meurling’s retail property focused planning practice was well regarded and Partner Bill McCredie work on environment matters with resources clients drew praise.

Ashurst‘s Ian Briggs’ work on the environment aspects of larger resource projects was well regarded as was Special Counsel Peter Rowell’s ability to straddle both environment and planning matters.

Property and planning focused firm Connor O’Meara punches significantly above its weight and manages to successfully act on behalf of both private sector clients and government bodies.  Partner Michael Connor was widely acknowledged as one of the state’s most experienced and knowledgeable planning lawyers.

Corrs Chambers Westgarth strong reputation in the area and first class government practice has been enhanced by the firm’s recent addition of Partner Michael Leong (from Norton Rose) making the firm’s three partner Queensland planning and environment practice one of Queensland’s largest.  Leong was seem by one peer as “a wonderful lawyer who will add a lot to that team” while senior partner Henry Prokuda continues to be well regarded.

Herbert Smith Freehills strong local presence in both the property and resources saw the firm recognised across both planning and environment matters.

Despite personnel departures from within the firm’s Brisbane property and resources teams Herbert Geer’s Queensland planning and environment practice has managed to remain a strong market participant.  Senior partner Ian Wright is ably supported by Ben Caldwell and Samantha Johnson and enjoy strong support from local government bodies.

Hopgood Ganim’s historically developer focused planning practice is viewed to have dropped in market prominence due to a quiet property market.   The firm’s strong corporate, energy and resources practice has though allowed each of the firm’s three planning and environment partners to direct their attention towards the environmental issues presented by these clients.

HWL Ebsworth act on behalf of both developers and local government and the firm gained particular praise for its work on behalf of the latter.  Partner Peter Bittner was praised for his responsiveness and professionalism.

Local government specialist firm King & Company was universally regarded as a cost-effective and efficient service provider.  David Kevin was viewed as “an authority” in the area and young Partner Michael Quirk gained the highest praise for his professionalism and knowledge of the workings of local government.

King & Wood Mallesons’ Matthew Austin was noted for his work on environment matters and the firm’s reputation and work for energy and resources clients will only be enhanced by the recent and complimentary hire of native title expert Scott Singleton (from Minter Ellison).

McCullough Robertson’s 12 lawyer planning and environment team continues to increase its market positioning.  Partners Stuart Macnaughton and Troy Webb earned the respect of numerous peers and enjoy a broad practice of government and private sector clients that include Devine, Australand and the Department of Transport and Main Roads.

The Minter Ellison Queensland planning and environment practice was viewed as strong but not possessing its historical punch.  Senior Partner Russell Bowie continues to be one the market’s most respected planning practitioners however the 2010 departure of Partner Leanne Bowie (to set up her own firm – the two are husband and wife) combined with a general reduction in the overall levels within the firm’s core strength of contentious planning work affected market sentiment.

Norton Rose’s s historically dominant planning and environment practice has dropped significantly in presence due to personnel departures.   Senior partner Ian Walker left the firm after being elected as a member of Queensland Parliament (and subsequently appointed as the Assistant Minister for Planning Reform), well regarded young Partner Michael Leong recently left the firm to join rivals Corrs Chambers Westgarth and practice stalwart Michael Walton stepped down from Partnership and now acts as a Consultant.  This leaves the firm’s Brisbane planning team under the stewardship of young environment and climate change specialist Rebecca Hoare and planning Partner Gerard Timbs (who recently joined the firm from McInnes Wilson).  As Timbs only joined Norton Rose in October 2012 it’s still too soon to determine whether the firm will rebound up our rankings.

Thomsons Lawyers work for some of South East Queensland’s largest and fastest growing councils as well as a healthy mix of developer clients gained praise.  Partner Michael Marshall “combines technical ability and a commercial approach”  by one local government client.

 Significant Moves

  • Michael Leong to Corrs Chambers Westgarth (from Norton Rose)
  • Gerard Timbs to Norton Rose (from McInnes Wilson)
  • Andrew Young to Gadens Lawyers (from Corrs Chambers Westgarth)

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