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HFW continues to grow its Australia presence with two new partners

Global, sector-focussed law firm HFW continues its growth in Australia with the partner promotion of energy and renewable specialist Jo Garland and the partner hire of regulatory and product liability specialist Dr Michael Maxwell from Clayton Utz. They are both based in HFW’s Perth office.

Gavin Vallely, Managing Partner Australia, HFW: “We are delighted to announce Jo’s promotion and welcome Michael to HFW. Jo’s vast experience in the power generation sector and in particular her recent work on Australia’s first co-located wind and solar farm, and a ground breaking “new energy” peer-to-peer energy trading project provides clients with the innovative support which we believe is characteristic of HFW’s service offering.

Michael’s expertise in regulatory issues, international risk and multifaceted litigation is an ideal fit for our business, in particular our international trading and logistics clients who are exposed to increasingly complex and onerous compliance requirements. Jo also has in-depth regulatory expertise across a number of HFW’s key sectors will significantly strengthen our regulatory offering.”

Michael has more than 20 years’ experience acting in high stakes complex litigation, complemented by a scientific research background in pharmacology and toxicology. He has been advising across a range of industries, particularly in challenging product liability and highly technical commercial matters of strategic significance.

Matthew Blycha, Office Head Perth, HFW: “This is another important step in the continued development of our Perth practice. HFW has been in Perth for almost a decade and the areas that Jo and Michael are able to service are indicative of how our business and the legal market generally has evolved during this time; with the future energy transition and regulatory compliance being an issue that is a priority for all clients.”

Jo Garland, Partner, HFW: “I am very pleased to have been promoted to partner at what is a very pivotal time for the energy industry. I look forward to steering clients through the future energy transition; with the development of new technologies, renewable or hybrid power systems and de-carbonisation across industry.”

Dr Michael Maxwell, Partner, HFW: “I am excited to be joining a dynamic and fast-growing global firm with a strong international network. HFW offers exceptional opportunities for me to consolidate my practice and actively pursue key elements in its growth strategy.”

Jo’s promotion and Michael’s arrival continues HFW’s growth of its regulatory capability in Australia. In early 2019, HFW launched an Australian workplace relations practice with the hire of a specialist eight-lawyer team in Sydney and Melbourne, led by partners Mark Sant and Brendan Milne.

Infrastructure new PHOTO

National Infrastructure Awards winners announced

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) has announced the winners of the 2019 National Infrastructure Awards.

Convened annually, the Awards recognise excellence in public administration and business, across major projects.

The Awards were overseen by an independent judging panel, comprising:

  • Ms Leilani Frew, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Project and Financing Agency (Chair)
  • Ms Kim Curtain, Interim Deputy Secretary, Trade, Tourism, Investment and Precincts, NSW Treasury
  • Dr Steven Kennedy PSM, Secretary, Federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development
  • Mr Jason Loos, Director, Department of Treasury and Finance, Victoria
  • Mr Neil Scales, Director-General, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads

The winners and finalists for each category in the 2019 Awards are as follows:

Project of the Year: Westconnex

Winner/s: NSW Treasury and Transport for NSW (Roads and Maritime Services) and their advisors Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Goldman Sachs, Newgate Australia, Turner & Townsend, and PwC. Sydney Transport Partners (Transurban, AustralianSuper, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, and Tawreed Investments) and their advisors; Advisian, Aquasia, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, UBS, and WSP.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra) and their advisors; Arup, Clayton Utz, EY, HASSEL Studio, RPS Group, Sparke Helmore, Turner & Townsend, and WSP. Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL) and their advisors; AECOM, Architectus, CAF, Herbert Smith Freehills, R-Co, and SMEC.
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Arcadis, Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.
  • Wentworth to Broken Hill Pipeline – GHD, Jacobs, John Holland, MPC Kinetic, TRILITY, and WaterNSW

Advisory Excellence Award: Sydney Metro Martin Place integrated development

Winner/s: Advisors to Transport for NSW; Ashurst, CBRE, KPMG. Advisors to Macquarie Group; Herbert Smith Freehills, Macquarie Capital, MinterEllison, PwC, and Arup.

Finalists:

  • Infrastructure Victoria’s Advice on Automated and Zero Emissions Vehicles Infrastructure – Infrastructure Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Northwest OTS – Turner and Townsend
  • WestConnex Transaction – Advisors to the NSW Government; Allens, Ashurst, BIS Oxford Economics, Clayton Utz, GHD, Newgate Australia, PwC, and Turner & Townsend. Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Advisian, Clifford Chance, EY, E3 Advisory, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, KPMG, and WSP

Financial Excellence Award: Westconnex transaction

Winner/s: Financial Advisors to the NSW Government; Goldman Sachs, and NSW Treasury. Financial Advisors to Sydney Transport Partners; Aquasia, Macquarie Capital, Morgan Stanley, and UBS.

Finalists:

  • Agribo, Centre for Agribioscience Refinancing – Plenary Group
  • for Darling Harbour Live Refinancing – Capella Capital
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Macquarie Capital

Government Partnership Excellence Award: The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project

Winner/s: The Alliance (comprising of Aurecon, CPB Contractors, Lendlease, Metro Trains Melbourne, WSP), Level Crossing Removal Project, and Major Transport Infrastructure Program.

Finalists:

  • Canberra Light Rail – ACT Government (Transport Canberra), and Canberra Metro Consortium (Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, CPB Contractors, John Holland, Mitsubishi Corporation, MUFG, Pacific Partnerships and UGL)
  • Metro Tunnel Project: Rail Projects Victoria and PwC Indigenous Consulting Partnership – PwC’s Indigenous Consulting and Rail Projects Victoria
  • Sydney Metro Martin Place Integrated Station Development – Macquarie Group, Sydney Metro, Transport for NSW

Contractor Excellence Award: Wentworth to Broken Hill pipeline

Winner/s: John Holland and MPC Kinetic

Finalists:

  • Bruce Highway Boundary Road Interchange – BMD Constructions
  • Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project – CPB Contractors and Lendlease
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Fulton Hogan

Operator and Service Provider Excellence Award: TasWater for the Regional Towns Water Supply Program – Stages 2 and 3

Winner/s: KBR, TasWater, and TRILITY

Finalists:

  • Queensland Schools Project – Plenary Schools Consortium (Plenary Group, DeltaFM and Watpac) and Queensland Department of Education
  • Incident Management Response – Transurban and Ventia

Innovation Excellence Award: uninterruptible power supply for Melbourne’s railway signalling network

Winner/s: AECOM, AEG, Metro Trains Melbourne, Public Transport Victoria, and Thycon

Finalists:

  • Dynamic Speed Management Trial – Transurban and VicRoads
  • Kwinana Waste to Energy – Acciona, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Keppel-Seghers, Macquarie Capital, Phoenix Energy Australia, and Veolia
  • M80 Ring Road Upgrade: Sunshine Avenue to Calder Freeway – Cowri and Fulton Hogan

In addition, John Holland’s Simon Lehman won the Future Infrastructure Leader of the Year Award. Infrastructure Partnerships Australia said that Mr Lehmans’ profile stood out to the judging panel amongst all the other entries because of his extraordinary commitment to the infrastructure sector.

The judges found that Mr Lehman has proven to be a major asset and path-breaking engineer for the John Holland rail team. His on-the-job mentoring of younger team members and his exceptional work at the forefront of infrastructure delivery was exemplary.

Moreover, Major Road Project Victoria’s Alexis Davidson won the Award for Women’s Achievement in Infrastructure.

Ms Davidson has had a long and successful career in infrastructure over the last two decades. The judging panel said they were particularly impressed by her strong leadership and mentorship of other female engineers in the sector.

The judges praised Ms Davidson for consistently delivering outstanding business cases for Major Road Project Victoria and developing an impressive reputation for her innovative thinking and professionalism as a female engineer at the forefront of infrastructure delivery.

AMP PHOTO

AMP shareholders urged to clean out board after misconduct scandals

Shareholders have been urged to clean out the AMP board at this week’s general meeting, both to deter future misconduct and kickstart the process of renewal at the embattled wealth manager.

Three AMP directors are up for re-election at Thursday’s meeting and need the endorsement of investors angry at the wealth manager’s performance and the string of scandals exposed in the royal commission.

AMP’s new chairman, David Murray, on Monday urged investors to keep a cool head, saying the company needed a period of stability following the revelations of the royal commission.

“Serious investors have to consider whether anger is in itself a good enough frame of mind to make decisions,” Murray told the ABC. “I’m not defending anybody on the AMP board but they have to decide whether they want anger to prevail, or they’re confident that I can make the appropriate changes over time.”

The Australian Shareholders’ Association said a period of instability was regrettable but necessary.

ASA representative Ian Graves confirmed his organisation would use its sway to try to boot out three of AMP’s existing board members, including one who was only appointed last year. The three directors are Holly Kramer, Vanessa Wallace and Andrew Harmos.

“It could be destabilising,” Graves told Guardian Australia. “But as far as our view is concerned … the board renewal should start as quickly as possible because a) it gives a message to shareholders and b) it gives a message to staff, that their jobs are at risk if they ever repeat [this conduct].”

AMP has already begun a partial shake-up since the royal commission revelations and has slashed directors’ fees by 25%.

Its former chairwoman Catherine Brenner resigned, as did its general counsel, Brian Salter, and the chief executive, Craig Meller.

Brenner and Salter left AMP after evidence in the royal commission showing the company had repeatedly interfered with a supposedly independent investigation of its practise of charging clients without providing any service.

The royal commission heard AMP had interfered in a report prepared by the law firm Clayton Utz to minimise the involvement of senior executives. That report was later presented to the corporate regulator, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.

The company sought to lay blame for the interference at Salter’s feet last week, saying in a statement that the board and Brenner “were unaware of and disappointed about the number of drafts and the extent of the group general counsel’s interaction with Clayton Utz”.

The royal commission has previously heard evidence that suggested Brenner was involved in viewing and suggesting amendments to the Clayton Utz report.

The royal commission heard last month that Clayton Utz partner Nicholas Mavrakis emailed Brenner a copy of the draft report on the fee-for-no-service scandal, before the pair had a phone call.

A later email from Salter to Mavrakis also suggested Brenner’s involvement.

“I spoke to Catherine earlier today,” Salter wrote on 4 October. “She said that she relayed a number of comments to you over the phone last week and confirmed that she has no more.

“Can you please let us have the next draft with the amendments marked up today?”

Legalteq PHOTO

The Asian law firms investing in legal technology

In a highly competitive and low-growth market, firms are increasingly turning to technology and innovation to stay ahead of competition while boosting efficiency and profitability. Asia-based firms are no exception. Those in Australia and Singapore, where growth has been harder to achieve, are leading the charge.

Over the past few years, ‘legal hackathon’ and ‘design thinking’ have become the most frequently used buzzwords among the managing partners of Australian firms. In response to demands for greater value from sophisticated clients, Australian firms are the most advanced group in the Asia-Pacific 100 when it comes to innovation and technology.

KWM, for example, uses a variety of AI products and software either to improve efficiency, for work such as due diligence and discovery, or to help build up contracts. It has also developed its own web-based programs and apps to navigate clients through regulatory and compliance requirements, and to assist with graduate recruitment. Its ‘Being a Clerk’ app aims to help new recruits make the most of their KWM experience.

To generate growth in a highly competitive and increasingly sophisticated market, Clayton Utz recently formalised its innovation strategy, appointing a director of innovation and an innovation team made up of 81 professionals. They employ a science-based approach to grow the firm’s business and address clients’ needs.

Meanwhile, Gilbert + Tobin has been training its lawyers to code software with US smart contract firm Taylor Gerring and invested in start-up online legal services provider LegalVision. In addition, its internal legal transformation team launched the Smart Counsel app to provide free legal resources and answers to in-house lawyers. The firm hosts ‘legal hackathons’ with major clients such as Westpac to develop and prototype innovative solutions to a range of common legal requests and operational issues.

Australia’s mid-tier firms, which probably face the strongest squeeze in the market, are also embracing change. Hall & Wilcox is a leader among its peers. Recently, it deepened its commitment to innovation by appointing legal IT professional Peter Campbell as director for client solutions. The move is set to drive forward a ‘Smarter Law’ strategy, with initiatives such as the development of client-facing technology, improved project management methodology, business process improvement and developing the firm’s knowledge management strategy. Teaming up with technology firm Neota Logic, Hall & Wilcox has also launched a web application that makes it faster and easier for workers’ compensation insurance providers to pursue recoveries.

Elsewhere, South-East Asian network Zico Law and Indian firm Cyril are pioneers in adopting AI and technologies to improve the efficiency and delivery of legal services. Malaysia-based Zico Law’s affiliated listed entity, ZICO Holdings, has launched a subsidiary, ShakeUp Online, to provide professional services over the internet and transform the way in which services are delivered and consumed. ShakeUp is collaborating with the UK’s legal document automation system provider, Epoq Legal, through a Licence and Support Agreement. Initially, ShakeUp aims to provide affordable online legal services to small and medium-sized enterprises in the ASEAN region, offering access to high-quality legal documents that are easy to understand and simple to use. The platform also plans to partner with large companies to help improve the quality and cost-efficiency of their in-house support services.

Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas (CAM) has become the first firm in India to improve efficiency, accuracy and the delivery speed of certain legal services using AI. In January 2017, it signed an agreement with Canada-based Kira Systems, a machine-learning software provider. In May, CAM appointed legal operations manager Komal Gupta as its first head of innovation and AI. Previously vice-president of Integreon Managed Solutions, she will develop and drive the firm’s innovation strategy.

CLAYTON UTZ

Advisory Excellence Award for Darling Harbour Live precinct project

The circa $1 billion Darling Harbour Live precinct project, on which Clayton Utz is the primary legal adviser, has won the Advisory Excellence Award at the 2014 National Infrastructure Awards convened by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA).

With construction expected to be completed in 2016, the Darling Harbour Live precinct project will provide Sydney with world-class facilities for a diverse range of convention, exhibition and entertainment events. Clayton Utz was appointed in August 2011 as primary legal advisers to Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SFHA) and then to Infrastructure NSW (INSW), on the project.

The award judging panel acknowledged the major and complementary outcomes the projects advisers had secured for the State and for the people of NSW, through smart structuring and the use of interactive and competitive bidding. Other advisers on the project are KPMG (Financial Adviser to the State), Evans & Peck (Transaction Adviser to the State), Capella Capital (Financial Adviser to Darling Harbour Live) and Herbert Smith Freehills (Legal Adviser to Darling Harbour Live).

This is the latest accolade for the Darling Harbour Live precinct project, which was also named Asia-Pacific PPP Deal of the Year at the 2013 Project Finance International (PFI) Awards.

IPA’s National Infrastructure Awards celebrate and acknowledge the innovation and excellence of Australia’s public and private sectors in the delivery of infrastructure.

Bendigo Hospital Project, on which Clayton Utz is legal adviser to the Department of Health (Victoria), was also a finalist for the Advisory Excellence Award.