Australian Law Awards winner spills on success

It’s been a huge 12 months for Paul Catchlove, a former chief operations officer of the Go Australia Group who was balancing his work with full-time study at the Queensland University of Technology up until December 2017, when he graduated with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours/First Class).

The winner of the Rising Star of the Year award and the Lawyers Weekly Excellence Award at the recent Australian Law Awards, Mr Catchlove only graduated from the College of Law in April of this year but his early career success is a testament to his hard work and dedication to the legal profession.

The Rising Star of the Year Award recognises outstanding performance by an individual who has recently commenced their legal career, while the Lawyers Weekly Excellence Award does not accept nominations, instead being awarded to the highest-scoring lawyer across the individual categories of the Australian Law Awards.

Previous Australian Law Awards:

Talking to Lawyers Weekly, Mr Catchlove said he is overwhelmed by his success across both award categories, noting “no one ever wins an award like this on their own.”

Reflecting on the last year, the 2018 Rising Star said it is “encouraging of the work that I have done to date, but even more so of the amazing people I have around me who have enabled me to do what I do.”

Acknowledging the high calibre of nominees on the night, Mr Catchlove said “to have been part of a group of such talented finalists (who are representative of an exceptionally talented profession) and have been chosen from among them is exceptionally humbling.”

Since commencing in Gadens’ corporate advisory group, Mr Catchlove has worked on a number of complex corporate transactions, including the restructure of a multimillion-dollar charitable foundation. He also works agreements between government and infrastructure providers, provides client advice on IPOs and capital raisings, and makes appearances in the Federal Court and Queensland’s Supreme Court.

Understating his talents, the lawyer says he has been “fortunate to receive such positive feedback from the clients for whom I have worked”.

“Ultimately the practice of the law is a business and so performing well for your clients is incredibly important,” he said.

As well as his corporate knack, Mr Catchlove uses his legal skills for Gadens’ pro bono work and in his position as a sessional academic at the Queensland University of Technology, where he is a tutor across corporate law and ethics.

He also founded the first Australian chapter of Legal Hackers, a global movement for lawyers and policymakers to combine with technologists, designers and academics to explore and develop creative solutions to issues at the intersection of law and technology.

Mr Catchlove sees the onset of technology in the legal industry as “much needed” for the improvement of efficiency and productivity and a continuing trend for the next twelve months. He also considers growth “in the application of legal design principles and legal project management” as a way to add significant value for clients.

Confessing to being “a little nerdy”, Mr Catchlove sees law “as a vocation, a calling.” He offers up that he tries to learn as much as he can about as many things as he can, and is “always reading or attending seminars to grow and develop.”

“I want to add value for the firm that I work for and the clients for whom I serve. As much as I can, I want my clients to see me as their trusted advisor,” he continued.

This development also comes in the form of mentoring, with Mr Catchlove telling Lawyers Weekly he has “three key mentors.”

“Two of which are law firm partners and one is a leader in business.”

Mr Catchlove explained that these mentors are people who each provide him with “invaluable”, “honest” and “much needed feedback and advice.”

With their guidance, and a continued yearning to learn, Mr Catchlove hopes to “continue down the same path” he is now on. He hopes to be able to provide “the highest levels of legal advice, advocacy and assistance” to his clients.

To other young lawyers, he has the following advice: “Work hard and apply yourself to your craft, develop your soft skills, grow your networks and find yourself a good mentor or even a few.”


Transatlantic M&A Team of the Year: Niederer Kraft Frey

Finalists: Allen & Overy; Cravath, Swaine & Moore; Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer; Morgan Lewis & Bockius; Noerr (highly commended); Shearman & Sterling; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom; Sullivan & Cromwell.

Niederer Kraft Frey received the M&A team of the year prize for large deals, in recognition of its role in Johnson & Johnson’s acquisition of European biotech company Actelion.

The challenges of the deal were twofold: it can take years for new drugs to be developed, and trials are not always successful (therefore potential buyers rarely attach much value to early stage drug pipelines), while acquisitive big pharma firms tend not to be very good at advancing drug discovery and early stage clinical trials at the companies they end up buying. Niederer therefore advised Actelion on a novel transaction structure that would bridge the valuation gap while maintaining its drug discovery and clinical pipeline potential. In short, let the sale go ahead at the value Johnson & Johnson placed on Actelion’s marketed products and then spin off the drug development business into a newly listed company (ensuring Actelion’s shareholders could participate in any upside to successful clinical trials that would otherwise have been lost in the merger).

“Big pharma deals are usually difficult to lawyer, and this one especially so. The firm devised really clever and elegant workarounds that have the potential to be adapted to future pharma transactions,” a judge said.


Aurecon excels at 2018 CESA Aon Engineering Excellence Awards

Global engineering and infrastructure advisory company Aurecon walked away with two coveted accolades at this year’s Consulting Engineers South Africa (CESA) Aon Engineering Excellence Awards.

The Sol Plaatje University Library and Student Resources Centre was the winner in the category ‘Projects with a value between R50 million and R250 million’, and Aurecon civil engineer, Shamiso Kumbirai, won the Young Engineer of the Year Award.

“2018 marks the fourth year in a row that Aurecon has won or received a commendation in the Young Engineer of the Year Award category, which is a testament to the talent our company attracts and their ability to excel within the engineering sector,” says Ferdi Nell, Aurecon Managing Director, Africa.

The prestigious awards function was held on 15 August at Vodaworld, Midrand, and aims to celebrate “innovation, quality, outstanding workmanship and professionalism in engineering”. The prominent event is one of the highlights in the consulting engineering industry, with companies showcasing their most complex and innovative projects.

About the Sol Plaatje University Library and Student Resources Centre

Situated in Kimberley, the traditional diamond capital of Africa, the building’s spectacular three-dimensional concrete envelope mimics the faceted surface of a diamond. The entire envelope of the Sol Plaatje University Library and Student Resources Building is supported by slender eccentric steel columns to create the impression of a floating, hollowed-out diamond.

The striking, origami-like roof is both attention-grabbing and yet perfectly blended with the surrounding buildings. This bold and original project pushes the boundaries of architectural and engineering design, requiring high expectations of the concrete to perform not only as a structural element but also as an aesthetic material.

In addition, it was awarded an Innovation in Concrete Fulton Award for ‘Buildings Greater than 3-storeys’, as well as a Commendation in the ‘Architectural Concrete’ category at this prestigious biennial event, which recognises excellence and innovation in the use of concrete.

“I would like to thank our client, the Sol Plaatje University, for giving the architect the brief of designing something that has never been seen in South Africa. It is a testament to what can be achieved when design-led thinkers and visionaries are combined in a single project team,” said Nicholas Bester, Aurecon Structural Engineer.

About Shamiso Kumbirai, winner of the CESA Young Engineer of the Year Award

Kumbirai is a 29-year-old civil engineer at Aurecon’s Tshwane Office. She specialises in water engineering and has worked on projects in South Africa, Uganda, Swaziland and Rwanda involving hydropower schemes, pipelines and irrigation works.

She holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Cape Town and has recently completed her Master’s degree in Civil Engineering.

She was selected to represent the voice of the Southern African youth at the World Economic Forum in Davos in 2018, and she is a member of the first class of the Obama Foundation Leaders: Africa – a programme for young leaders from across Africa.

As part of her prize from CESA, Kumbirai will be attending the FIDIC (International Federation of Consulting Engineers) International Infrastructure Conference in Berlin in September. This year’s conference theme is Mobility and Smart Infrastructure, and thought leaders from across the globe will examine how these changes and the increased digital interconnectivity will impact the future of our infrastructure, offices and homes.

“I’m deeply honoured to receive this award. Standing on stage, witnessing a dream actualised was nothing short of an incredible moment. To say this recognition belongs to me alone would be unjust. Thank you to my family, mentors and colleagues who help me grow, innovate and continually force me to think in new, creative ways,” says Kumbirai.

“Aurecon’s track record at the CESA awards demonstrates our commitment to fostering achievement for both our clients and for our people. Congratulations to all the winners at this year’s event.”


Finalists announced for the China Law & Practice Awards

Herbert Smith Freehills, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom are among the firms nominated for International Law Firm of the Year at the China Law & Practice Awards.

Vying for the showcase category for indigenous Chinese players are firms that include King & Wood Mallesons, Fangda Partners, JunHe, and Han Kun Law Offices.

China Law & Practice is set to host the awards in association with sister publications The Asian Lawyer, The American Lawyer and Legal Week on Sept. 13 at The St. Regis hotel in Beijing.

The awards recognize top matters inside and outside China, and best-performing law firms and standout partners. The September ceremony will also honour initiatives in pro bono work, technology innovation and an in-house team of the year.

Shortlisted deals feature some of the largest and most high-profile transactions in China. Video streaming site iQiyi’s $2.25 billion Nasdaq listing and iPhone manufacturer Foxconn’s A-share listing are among deals competing for equity securities deal of the year. Alibaba’s acquisitions of Sun Art Retail and meal delivery app are both nominated for the M&A category.

Fangda, JunHe, Han Kun and Tian Yuan are competing for Capital Markets Firm of the Year as well as M&A Firm of the Year in the domestic categories, while Davis Polk & Wardwell and Skadden are vying in both categories for global firms.

Last year’s big winners included JunHe and Clifford Chance, which took home China and International Firm of the Year, respectively; King & Wood Mallesons was named Most Innovative Firm.


BPCL selects AspenTech Software for Operational Excellence award

Client Profile: Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), a Fortune 500 energy company is headquartered in Mumbai. It is a public sector undertaking and last year, the Government of India conferred BPCL with Maharatna status. The company operates through two segments: Downstream petroleum (refining and marketing of petroleum products), and Exploration and Production of Hydrocarbons (E&P). The company’s refineries are located at: Mumbai (Maharashtra), Kochi (Kerala), Numaligarh (Assam), and Bina (Madhya Pradesh). Its marketing infrastructure includes network of installations, depots, retail outlets, aviation service stations, and LPG distributors.

The Challenges: The oil and gas sector faces an increasingly complex environment, companies need to be innovative in adopting new business models and partnerships. Leading players, such as BPCL, need to have a resilient strategy to protect against price dips and adopt digital transformation in an astute manner to improve operational performance.

Considering all these factors, BPCL began scouting for a one-stop solution provider that could help drive business sustainability and increase profitability by maximizing asset performance across BPCL Group Refineries. Earlier on, BPCL had also deployed AspenTech solutions in pursuit of energy management and asset optimization at their Mumbai refinery. Following a successful deployment, BPCL proceeded to standardize on AspenTech software solutions.

AspenTech’s Solutions For BPCL: The solutions include Aspen HYSYS Petroleum Refining; Aspen Exchanger Design & Rating; Aspen Economic Evaluation; Aspen Energy Analyzer; Aspen DMC3; Aspen InfoPlus.21; aspenONE Process Explorer; Aspen PIMS-AO; Aspen Supply Chain Planner; Aspen Tank and Operations Manager; and Aspen Operations Reconciliation and Accounting.

With aspenONE software, organizations can run to the limits of performance and achieve optimal financial return over the entire asset lifecycle without compromising safety, reliability or regulatory compliance. In partnering with AspenTech, BPCL can capitalize on digital transformation to reduce costs, maximize growth and achieve sustainable operations via operational excellence. With this deployment, BPCL is well positioned to support energy needs and emissions standards in India.

What BPCL Stands To Gain: Centralized control and a single point of contact and accountability will help the company to achieve operational excellence and gain competitive advantage. AspenTech’s integrated solutions across design and operations will help BPCL maximize profitability, increase return on capital, and improve complex manufacturing and operating scenarios.


Northern Ireland: Pinsent Masons crowned Law Firm of the Year

ONE of Northern Ireland’s largest law firms has been named Law Firm of the Year 2018 at the prestigious awards ceremony hosted by The Lawyer magazine.

Servicing major Northern Irish institutions such as Queen’s University, Allstate, and Belfast Harbour Commissioners, Pinsent Masons employs more than 85 people in Belfast, with that number rising to around 110 when combined with their rapidly expanding new office in Dublin.

This year’s judges – a panel of in-house general counsel, The Lawyer Hot 100 alumni and managing partners of major international firms – recognised the firm’s achievements over the past year, from continuing to be a market leader across its five key sectors, to expanding its revenue streams outside of traditional legal services through a range of innovative ‘New Law’ products.

The judges also commended the firm’s desire to lead on gender diversity, with the firm one of the first in the sector to publish its gender pay gap data.

Pinsent Masons has also succeeded in raising the percentage of women in its partnership from 17 per cent to 25 per cent in five years, and four of its nine board members are female.

Head of Pinsent Masons Belfast office and real estate partner Andrea McIlroy-Rose said: “In Northern Ireland we have enjoyed working on high profile local projects including the purchase of Belfast International Airport, the £200m Gas to the West expansion, and major new Grade A office facilities for inward investors such as Allstate and Concentrix.

“The strength of our firm offering, and investment in technology, means we can provide our clients with outstanding service and efficiencies that are unparalleled in a regional market such as Northern Ireland.”

On a global level the firm has acted on several significant deals globally in the past year, including advising Shell UK on its $3.8bn sale of North Sea assets to Chrysaor; Laing O’Rourke on AU$955m Sydney Metro Central Station; ING and Commonwealth Bank of Australia on a pilot AI program for MiFID II; and advising Redefine International on the disposal of its German retail portfolio of 66 properties for €205m.

Pinsent Masons recently reported its 2017/18 financial results, achieving a 10 per cent increase in fees billed. The firm’s total global turnover for the year stood at £449.8 million, representing turnover growth of more than 40 per cent and profit growth of 60 per cent over the past five years.