Debt Market Deal of the Year

Winner: Debt acquisition facility to fund Saracen Mineral Holdings's 'Super Pit' acquisition

Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills, Wright Legal

Accountant: PwC

Avisors: RBC Capital Markets, Goldman Sachs Australia, Noah's Rule

  • USD$340 million (A$514 million) - one of the highest profile transactions in Australia in 2019, debt facility an essential part of the funding needed by the company for the acquisition.
  • Challenges associated with competitive bid process.  Achieved a fully credit approved facility from first contact from the client for the transaction on 15 October 2019 to signed bank mandate and commitment documents and bid submission on 14 November 2019, the share sale agreement (with the only condition precedent being a Ministerial consent) signed on 16 November and achieving closing of the acquisition with full form documentation signed on 26 November 2019 and completion on 29 November 2019.
  • Competitive bid process required the bid to be fully funded and all significant conditions precedent with the banks had to be completed by bid submission (including all due diligence) so that the bid was made with the financing being almost entirely unconditional (with only administrative CPs remaining and a 'certain funds' approach to general CPs). Competitive process with the 3 lenders, negotiating with them separately and obtaining separate credit approvals before bringing the 3 banks together shortly before signing the mandate documentation for the bid. This added to the complexity of achieving the tight timeline. With the purchase price in USD and the facilities drawn in AUD, FX transactions with the 3 lenders were also required to be agreed and managed (and with timing and process also needing to navigate around the Thanksgiving bank holiday in the US the day before closing).

Excellence award: Amcor Finance and Bemis Company exchange offering

Firm: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Accountant: PwC

Excellence award: National Australia Bank notes offering

Firm: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Accountant: PwC

Energy & Resources Deal of the Year

Winner: Mineral Resources sale of lithium assets to Albemarle

Firms: Gilbert + Tobin, MinterEllison

  • Value USD1.3bn/ 2.1 Billion AUD
  • The deal was unusually complex as it involved the simultaneous completion of several notable transactions: the acquisition of a 60% interest in a mine, the sale of a 40% interest in part of a plant, the intragroup sale of a 60% interest in part of the plant, formation of the joint venture, and the negotiation of seven agreements, many of which are life-of-mine arrangements
  • Highly innovative structure and financing; involved a USD600m third-party loan as part of the implementation of a USD1.2bn debt and equity financing; involved parties from different international jurisdictions; many contracts prepared and negotiated in conjunction with the deal: three sale agreements, a joint venture agreement and a shareholders deed, and marketing and services arrangements to support the joint venture

Excellence award: ConocoPhillips sale of Australia-West and East Timorese assets to Santos

Firms: Allens, Clayton Utz, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: Woolworths sale of petrol business to EG Group

Firms: Allen & Overy, Clayton Utz

Accountants: EY, PwC

Excellence award: Kalium Lakes Beyondie Sulphate of Potash Project

Firms: Allen & Overy, Allens, DLA Piper, Herbert Smith Freehills

Equity Market Deal of the Year

Winner: Westpac capital raising

Firms: Allen & Overy, Allens, Herbert Smith Freehills

  • AUD2.7bn capital raising –  the largest Australian equity deal of 2019
  • Comprised a fully underwritten AUD2bn institutional placement to investors in Australia and certain overseas jurisdictions and a non-underwritten share purchase plan to eligible shareholders in Australia and New Zealand. Raised AUD770m
  • While offer was structured as a placement rather than an entitlement offer, the allocation policy under the placement was pegged to “pro rata” considerations. This was intended to allow eligible institutional shareholders that bid for an amount less or equal to their pro rata share of new shares under the placement to be allocated their full bid, while eligible institutional shareholders that bid for more than their pro rata share of new shares were to be allocated at least their pro rata share of new shares, with any excess subject to scaleback

Excellence award: Tyro Payments IPO

Firms: Clayton Utz, Gilbert + Tobin, Herbert Smith Freehills, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Accountant: EY

Excellence award: Sezzle IPO

Firm: Squire Patton Boggs

Accountant: PwC

Insolvency & Restructuring Deal of the Year

Winner: Wollongong Coal and Jindal Steel & Power debt restructuring

Firms: AZB, DLA, Kirkland & Ellis, Madun Gujadhur Chambers, Gilbert + Tobin

  • Deal Value: AUD$913 Million
  • Secured Facilities were raised together in April 2015 in connection with provision of funds for the operation of two coal mines in NSW. The borrower group has struggled to finance operations and the Secured Facilities are currently in default.
  • Firms advised the lender group on the restructuring of the Scheme Companies’ indebtedness under the Secured Facilities by way of concurrent creditors’ schemes of arrangement in NSW Supreme Court. A global team of lawyers prepared documents effecting the restructure, being principally, the scheme booklet and explanatory statement, amended and restated facility agreements, common terms agreement, intercreditor agreement and suite of security documents.

Excellence award: Retail Food Group restructuring

Firm: Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills

Accountant: 333 Capital

Excellence award: Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal restructuring

Firms: Arnold Bloch Leibler, Ashurst, Baker McKenzie

International Deal of the Year

Winner: Amcor US listing and acquisition of Bemis

Firms: Herbert Smith Freehills, Kirkland & Ellis, MinterEllison, Moulis Legal

Banks: Moelis & Company, UBS

  • Deal valued at AUD28.7bn
  • Landmark transaction involving undertaking an Australian top-hat scheme of arrangement to create a new holding company in Jersey, which then established a primary listing on NYSE and a secondary listing on ASX by way of CDIs; acquisition of a US-based company in an all-scrip merger under Missouri law
  • Complexities – As a Jersey company it was not going to be subject to any formal takeovers regulation. To address this, firm put in place constitutional documents that allowed for a US-style shareholder-rights plan, or "poison pill", to be adopted by the board as takeover defence mechanism. Competition and antitrust issues had to be navigated in USA, Brazil and the EU, and several divestments were made during the course of the transaction. Delays in receiving antitrust approvals led firm to use novel approach to the Australian court process to ensure that antitrust clearances did not hold up court’s substantive approval of the scheme. With offices around the globe and time difference challenges, it took over 12 months of work to effect the transaction

Excellence award: Brambles separation of its IFCO business

Firm: Allens

Accountants: EY, PwC

Excellence award: Government of Timor-Leste purchase of stake in Greater Sunrise Project

Firm: PwC

M&A Deal of the Year

Winner: Brookfield acquisition of Healthscope

Firms: Allens, Arnold Bloch Leibler, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Mayne Wetherell

Accountants: Deloitte, EY

Advisor: Grant Samuel

Banks: Merrill Lynch, UBS AG

  • AUD4.4bn deal was one of Australia’s most complex public M&A transactions
  • Involved a scheme of arrangement and simultaneous takeover offer, and was funded by a mixture of equity , third-party debt financing, and proceeds from the AUD2.5bn sale and leaseback of properties
  • Required large, multi-disciplinary teams; a unique structure – scheme of arrangement coupled with a takeover bid with a 50.1% minimum acceptance condition (first time in Australian corporate history that such a structure had been used for this purpose). Deal structure enabled firm to overcome anti-competitive shareholding arrangements. A single integrated transaction booklet was created to explain the complex transaction logically so it could be easily understood by shareholders – an innovative novel approach endorsed by Justice Beach in his judgment. Sought relief from ASIC to allow the booklet to be sent electronically, the first time that this relief had been granted, requiring a number of submissions to ASIC. Relief significantly reduced print and distribution time and costs. Scheme was approved by over 99% of the votes cast and 96% of shareholders voting

Excellence award: KKR acquisition of Arnott's Biscuits

Firms: Allens, Gilbert + Tobin, King & Wood Mallesons, Mayne Wetherell

Accountant: PwC

Excellence award: Tilt Renewables sale of Snowtown 2 windfarm

Firms: Allen & Overy, Gilbert + Tobin, Herbert Smith Freehills

Accountant: KPMG

Excellence award: Commonwealth Bank sale of Colonial First State Global Asset Management to Mitsubishi

Firms: Baker McKenzie, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, Herbert Smith Freehills

Property, Infrastructure and Projects Deal of the Year

Winner: Sydney Metro public private partnership

Firms: Allens, Ashurst, Baker & McKenzie, King & Wood Mallesons

Accountant: EY

  • Project valued at AUD3.7bn
  • Australia’s largest augmentation of a PPP; Australia’s largest public transport project (project Stage 1 and 2 had combined value of AUD20bn); Plenary’s largest ever refinancing; involved more than 35 different institutions for the senior debt; simultaneous sale and purchase of 45% of the equity
  • Additional complexities included: securing refinancing and extension of original PPP contract; financed via raising of debt and equity; achieved financial close while refinancing the existing PPP at the same time. The procurement process for one PPP as an augmentation to the other PPP contract was the first of its kind in the world. Deal required managing interface risks across major contract packages, impacts of project scope changes and market conditions (rising costs), negotiating risk allocations and minimising impact on the existing PPP, which was in delivery at the commencement of the procurement process. Included the refinancing and raising of new debt and equity to finance the PPP. Augmentation was undertaken as a staged process over a number of years using the existing provisions 

Excellence award: Scentre sale of Westfield office tower

Firms: MinterEllison, Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills, K&L Gates, King & Wood Mallesons

Excellence award: Collector Wind Farm project

Firm: King & Wood Mallesons, K&L Gates

Australian Deal of the Year

Winner: Brookfield acquisition of Healthscope

Firms: Allens, Arnold Bloch Leibler, Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Mayne Wetherell

Accountants: Deloitte, EY

Advisor: Grant Samuel

Banks: Merrill Lynch, UBS AG

  • AUD4.4bn deal was one of Australia’s most complex public M&A transactions
  • Involved a scheme of arrangement and simultaneous takeover offer, and was funded by a mixture of equity , third-party debt financing, and proceeds from the AUD2.5bn sale and leaseback of properties
  • Required large, multi-disciplinary teams; a unique structure – scheme of arrangement coupled with a takeover bid with a 50.1% minimum acceptance condition (first time in Australian corporate history that such a structure had been used for this purpose). Deal structure enabled firm to overcome anti-competitive shareholding arrangements. A single integrated transaction booklet was created to explain the complex transaction logically so it could be easily understood by shareholders – an innovative novel approach endorsed by Justice Beach in his judgment. Sought relief from ASIC to allow the booklet to be sent electronically, the first time that this relief had been granted, requiring a number of submissions to ASIC. Relief significantly reduced print and distribution time and costs. Scheme was approved by over 99% of the votes cast and 96% of shareholders voting



The Resolution Institute Australian Arbitrator of the Year

Winner: Donna Ross, Donna Ross Dispute Resolution

  • Assisted lawyers in Europe in international and domestic arbitrations, including arbitrations with state parties and one ICC arbitration spanning four years; In New York, acted as arbitrator in private arbitrations and for statutory schemes and represented parties in domestic ad hoc and AAA arbitrations; served as tribunal secretary in an international arbitration and has been sought out or appointed as arbitrator in domestic and international arbitrations
  • Involved with the Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot for 20 years, including this year as an arbitrator in CIArb and AIAC pre-moots and Hong Kong and Vienna competitions; member or panel member of institutions such as ArbitralWomen, ACICA, AIAC, WIPO, SIArb, ICC, ADC, AFIA; publications include arbitration agreements, med-arb, arbitration in U.S. and Singapore Convention, with comparisons to New York Convention
  • Comments from judges include ‘A recognised international arbitrator, known for her successful outcomes in many international arbitrations and her dedication in teaching and coaching others in this method of dispute resolution’; ‘Leading the way in this field’

Excellence award: Brenda Horrigan, Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: Steven Goldstein



Resolution Institute

Australian Dealmaker of the Year

Winner: Tony Damian, Herbert Smith Freehills

  • Advised on the largest, most complex and most high-profile M&A deals in 2019. Advised on A$8.1b worth of completed Australian M&A transactions, exceeding the aggregate value of completed deals advised on by a number of other whole law firms
  • Led a number of other initiatives in 2019, including: co-chair of HSF’s Global Bank Sector Group, being responsible for HSF’s bank relationships and responding to issues including following the Royal Commission; editing HSF’s Australian IPO Review, Asia Pacific M&A Review and Global Bank Review; and serving as General Editor of Australian Journal of Corporate Law
  • Comments from judges include 'Outstanding'; 'Tony advised on the largest most complex M&A deals in 2019 whilst also co-chairing and leading an M&A conference for mental charity the Black Dog Institute’; ‘An M&A leader who advised on transactions valuing $8.1billion in 2019, highly regarded as a "formidable practitioner" as well as author’

Excellence award: Philippa Stone, Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: David Ryan, DLA Piper

Excellence award: Tom Story, Allens

Excellence award: Rebecca Maslen-Stannage, Herbert Smith Freehills

Australian In-House Lawyer of the Year

Winner: Connie Carnabuci, Australian Broadcasting Corporation

  • Reorganised the in-house legal team and offering, and deftly managed the departure of the CEO and Chair. Supports the Board and Leadership Team and advises on risk and strategy as the ABC progresses its digital transformation agenda which has increased demand for ABC Legal’s service
  • As General Counsel of a publicly funded organisation was obliged to appear before Parliamentary Committees, and public hearings on press freedom following AFP Raids
  • Comments from judges include: ‘Clear focus on delivering change to both the legal team and the ABC’; ‘Impressive leadership of client service, innovation and efficiency in a large bureaucratic organisation which is vital to Australian culture and democracy’; ‘As ABC General Counsel Connie has reorganised the in house legal team and built a culture of innovation’

Excellence award: Marnie Manning, Smile Solutions Group

Excellence award: Sunil Puranikmath, Telstra

Excellence award: Angie Coleman, Springfield City Group

Excellence award: Paul Gregory, WesTrac Pty Ltd

The Resolution Institute Australian Mediator of the Year

Winner: Dr Anne Purcell, Resolution Partners

  • Speaks internationally on dispute management and resolution, training Judges and Magistrates; One of the pioneers of Parenting Co-ordination in Australia, a family law dispute resolution process she and others have brought from North America; Mediated more than 300 disputes in family, workplace, estate, commercial and community jurisdictions
  • Invited inaugural member from the Southern Hemisphere of the Faculty of the International Association of Collaborative Professionals (IACP); Offered the first court-ordered Parenting Co-Ordination (PC) services in Qld. Recently endorsed by the current Australian Law Reform Commission
  • Comments from judges include: ‘Dr Anne Purcell, as the founder of Resolution Partners handles 100's of meditations each year whilst also writing and speaking internationally on alternate ways to work with clients experiencing conflict and disputes’; ‘A pioneer in the field’

Excellence award: Tania E Murdock, Dispute Management Australia

Excellence award: Margaret Halsmith, Halsmith Dispute Resolution

Excellence award: Debra Parker, Watts McCray

Excellence award: Alison James, SHAW Dispute Resolution

Excellence award: Marguerite Picard, MELCA



Resolution Institute

Law Firm Leader of the Year (>200 lawyers)

Winner: Danny Gilbert, Gilbert + Tobin

  • Appointed as an expert panel adviser and member of Australian Government’s Social Impact Investing Taskforce, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and was also appointed to the Business Council of Australia board of directors; Notable highlights under Danny’s leadership in 2019 include advising on several of Australia’s multi-billion dollar acquisitions and capital raisings and other top M&A deals, including Anheuser-Busch InBev on $16 billion sale of Carlton & United Breweries to Asahi Group (largest M&A transaction in 2019)
  • Awarded an Honorary Doctorate from UNSW in 2019 for his services to law, legal education and social justice change; He continues to be a strong advocate for indigenous constitutional recognition, hosted a legal symposium where the Hon. Murray Gleeson AC QC delivered a landmark speech on the subject of Indigenous Constitutional Recognition
  • Comments from judges include: ‘Danny has exhibited exceptional leadership of a highly successful firm through leadership of people, innovation and social change’; ‘recognised as an inspirational leader, with a clear purpose and vision, driving innovation, diversity and support for indigenous communities’; ‘Danny Gilbert has guided Gilbert + Tobin to be a successful top tier law firm whilst also embedding a culture of innovation and maintaining a commitment to positive social change, particularly with indigenous communities’

Excellence award: Paul Jenkins, Ashurst

Excellence award: Andrew Pike, Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: Robert Cutler, Clayton Utz

Excellence award: Tony Macvean, Hall & Wilcox

Law Firm Leader of the Year (≤200 lawyers)

Winner: Paul Hopkins, Carter Newell Lawyers

  • Under Paul’s leadership, firm has grown its revenue fourfold and largely organically; strategy has delivered consistent results with the firm recording a 25% increase in new clients and a 12% increase of new instructions over the last three years; Carter Newell’s Diversity & Inclusion Strategy measures, supports and promotes D&I with a 56%:44% ratio of female to male staff; growth across the firm’s practice has resulted in 25 new lawyers and support staff and 12 organic elevations
  • Is one of a small number of legal firms in Australia to be certified to the highest global security-related accreditation ISO27001; firm’s practice is regularly appointed on some of the insurance industry’s biggest losses including class actions resulting from Royal Commissions and from the construction of the Sydney Light Rail Project
  • Comments from judges include: ‘Carter Newell has seen consistent growth and developed a strong unified team under Paul's leadership’; ‘An impressive list of achievements over a very long period’

Excellence award: Manuel Makas, Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: Michael Harmer, Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Excellence award: Bruce McFarlane, BlueRock Law

Excellence award: John Emmerig, Jones Day

NZ Dealmaker of the Year

Winner: Henry Willis, Webb Henderson

  • Numerous significant transactions including advising: shareholders of NZ Frost Fans on the sale of that business to Pencarrow Private Equity following a competitive sales process; Fonterra on the restructuring of its investment in, and rights and obligations relating to, a significant NZ based joint venture; on the establishment and operations of Halter, a Silicon Valley-backed agri-tech entity pioneering the use of AI technology in dairy farming and farm management
  • Acted pro bono on a number of matters such as advising on the capital raising for Downlights, a social enterprise providing a variety of employment opportunities for young people with Down syndrome; advising various Australian companies on NZ law aspects of their ASX listings and IPOs (>$2 bn in aggregate), including advising Hearts & Minds Investments on a pro bono basis given the charitable nature of that offering
  • Comments from judges include ‘An awe-inspiring individual that clearly the clients love and trust!’

Excellence award: Anna Buchly, Bell Gully

Excellence award: Mark Forman, MinterEllisonRuddWatts

Excellence award: Pip England, Chapman Tripp

Excellence award: David Raudkivi, Russell McVeagh

Excellence award: Silvana Schenone, MinterEllisonRuddWatts

Young In-House Lawyer of the Year (30 or under)

Winner: Annie Pang, Vodafone Hutchison Australia

  • Led contract negotiations with the government to deliver an upgraded emergency warning system for bushfires, helped spearhead Vodafone’s policy consultation with Minister for Communications to develop a novel strategy to improve warning capability in low network coverage areas; led the development of Vodafone’s joint application to the government for the acquisition of 5G spectrum for A$263m
  • Led a large team of stakeholders in facilitating the Office of Australian Information Commissioner's (OAIC's) assessment into Vodafone's handling of personal information retained as part of the Data Retention Scheme under the Privacy Act; is pioneering the development and implementation of a bespoke legal technology solution within the legal team
  • Comments from judges include: ‘Annie handled significant high level work whilst also making a contribution to the community via her volunteer work’; ‘Impressive  breadth and internal and external contributions’; ‘A great 2019, assisting on key projects and transactions for the business, bringing innovation to her role and working in the community’

Excellence award: Jeanette Rose, Alinta Energy

Excellence award: Emma Taylor, AECOM Australia

Excellence award: Jacqueline Sihaphone, Toyota Finance Australia

Young Private Practice Lawyer of the Year (30 or under)

Winner: Myra Beal, Herbert Smith Freehills

  • Led $111m Series B capital raise for Deputy Group (largest series B capital raise to be undertaken in Australia); led a $120m Series E capital raise for Culture Amp (largest venture capital raise of 2019)
  • Developed and organised a three week intensive “blockchain and smart legal contract coding” course co-created with RMIT University in 2019; led the firm to win the Financial Times Innovation In Law Award - Innovation in Managing and Developing Talent for the development of a blockchain coding course with RMIT; started a group within HSF that helps to build and leverage the innovation and technology skills of junior lawyers which over the last two years has grown to more than 220 members in 10 countries and 14 cities in the network;
  • Comments from judges include: ‘Had a very busy year handling high-level private equity work whilst also establishing the reverse mentoring program at HSF and building the firms design thinking and legal tech group’; ‘Has gone above and beyond, involving herself in a range of ground-breaking initiatives for her firm's benefit’

Excellence award: Ari Bendet, Allens

Excellence award: Mai Go, Allens

Excellence award: Alex Other-Gee, MinterEllison

Excellence award: Felicity Karageorge, Johnson Winter & Slattery



Australian Deal Team of the Year

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills M&A Team

  • Across Australasia, outperformed its competitors with respect to completed deals in terms of deal count and deal value ranking: 1st by deal value and deal count in Australasia - completed deals; 1st  by deal value in Australia/NZ - completed deals; 1st  by deal count in Australasia - announced deals
  • Advised on many market-leading transactions and is an active member of the broader M&A landscape, through contributions to publications such as the Australian Public M&A Report 2019, The Asia Pacific M&A Review 2019,  2019 Top 10 Australian M&A Predictions
  • Comments from judges included: 'In a stellar field, this team impresses in terms of deal count, deal value and deal complexity'; 'The pre-eminent team'

Excellence award: Herbert Smith Freehills Equity Capital Markets Team

Excellence award: Allens Private Equity Team

Excellence award: MinterEllison

Excellence award: DLA Piper Public Transactions Team

Clayton Utz Australian In-House Team of the Year

Winner: Lendlease Building Legal Team

  • Assisted the business to successfully secure and deliver some of Australia’s most significant and iconic projects including Darling Harbour & Barangaroo precincts, Sydney Metro Martin Place and Victoria Cross integrated station developments, 60 Martin Place and Circular Quay commercial towers, Melbourne Quarter Towers and Melbourne Park Redevelopment Stage 3.
  • Recognised as leading legal industry experts, having presented at various conferences, including for the Law Society of NSW, Legal Tech Fest and Corporate Legal Operations Consortium; Strong construction industry advocates, championing industry change through active participation in the Australian Contractors Association and Construction Industry Leadership Forum working groups
  • Comments from judges include: ‘The team handles significant high level work from cradle to grave and is a market leader with its approach to diversity’

Excellence award: Springfield City Group Legal Team

Excellence award: AECOM Australia Legal Team

Excellence award: Origin Energy

Excellence award: Carnival Australia Legal Team



Clayton Utz

Banking & Financial Services In-House Team of the Year

Winner: Bank of Queensland Group Legal Team

  • Involved in a number of key transactions and projects including: Managing BOQ’s response to: AUSTRAC’s compliance assessment report; the Hayne Royal Commission’s banking findings; and an application to the High Court for leave to appeal from the Full Court of the NSW Supreme Court brought by BOQ’s class action insurers.
  • Masterminded BOQ’s transformative 2019 capital raising - a $300+ million capital raising by way of institutional private placement and retail share purchase plan successfully executed within 7 days, ensuring BOQ’s “unquestionably strong” status with APRA while also providing additional capital for BOQ’s strategic imperatives. Played significant role in re-positioning BOQ’s regulatory settings, future direction and regulatory relationships.
  • Comments from judges include: ‘A sensational year of significant matters. A tremendously important year in the industry, and this team has clearly outperformed.’; ‘The breadth of work undertaken by the team over the period, together with the novel legal issues, make this team the winner’; ‘A challenging year of work across multiple legal disciplines including issues important for the future of BOQ, all handled effectively. An impressive achievement by a high quality team’

Excellence award: Macquarie Capital Legal Team

Excellence award: AustralianSuper Legal Services team

Excellence award: Commercial Legal team at NAB

Boutique Firm of the Year

Winner: Clarendon Lawyers

  • M&A highlights included: advising World Triathlon Corporation on its acquisition of five events; advising Cynata Therapeutics Limited on its approx $200m public takeover strategic review process; advising Eurofins on its acquisition of Chemical Analysis, a leading pharmaceutical contract analytical testing laboratory, from iX Biopharma
  • ECM highlights included: acting for PointsBet on its $75m IPO and its successful $122.1m placement and PAITREO rights issue; acting for Telix Pharmaceuticals on its $45m placement and SPP; advising Adslot on a $4m placement and a $6.5m, two tranche placement
  • Represented Forbidden Foods in its successful appeal against the rejection of its FOI request for documents concerning NSW’s single desk policy for rice exports, which was strongly opposed by the NSW Rice Marketing Board and SunRice, a high profile case in the industry. Judges' comments include: 'Impressive size and quality of transactions involed in during 2019.'

Excellence award: NDA Law

Excellence award: The Fold Legal

Excellence award: Greenwoods & Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: Keystone Lawyers Major Infrastructure and Construction Group

Corporate Citizen Firm of the Year

Winner: Gilbert + Tobin

  • In FY2019, G+T’s lawyers delivered 21,315 hours of pro bono work, valued at approx.$10.4m - equal to over 62 hours of pro bono support per lawyer; Championed support for significant issues facing the Australian community, including access to National Disability Insurance Scheme, Uluru Statement from the Heart and an Indigenous voice to parliament
  • Was the first national law firm to launch a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) in 2008, which built on a 20-year history of active engagement with Aboriginal communities; One of two law firms certified carbon neutral under the National Carbon Offset Standard
  • Launched the G+T Foundation - partnering with the Cape York Partnership’s Ngak Min Health Service, which provides medical services to Indigenous young people in Cape York - to enable workplace giving with firm matching one dollar for every dollar donated and has raised almost a quarter of a million dollars in less than 12 months. Judges' comments include: 'A true inspiration'

Excellence award: Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: BlueRock Law

Excellence award: Ashurst Pro Bono and Corporate Responsibility Team

Excellence award: Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Employment Law Specialist Firm of the Year

Winner:  Workdynamic Australia

  • Appointed to several local council panels for Legal Services and Code of Conduct matters; Provided advice and representation before Australian Human Rights Commission, state anti-discrimination tribunals, NSW Civil and Administrative Claims Tribunal and Fair Work Commission and resolved numerous litigious matters across Australia
  • Conducted over 100 reportable conduct investigations for Department of Communities and Justice; provided advice on a high profile transfer of business from a state employer to a national system employer and detailed advice on union eligibility rules; successfully settled an extensive claim in the Federal Circuit Court for the Australian Learning Group involving whether an arrangement was an employment or contractor relationship; acted as a Code of Conduct reviewer for multiple local Councils
  • Comments from judges include: ‘A boutique team with an impressive client base’; ‘A strong and growing practice with an impressive client list and a focus on client service’; ‘exemplary team spirit and workload’

Excellence award: Harmers Workplace Lawyers

Excellence award: Australian Business Lawyers & Advisors

Excellence award: HR Law

Marsh Excellence in Employee Health & Wellbeing Award

Winner: Clayton Utz

  • Recruited a psychologist as National Mental Health Manager - a first for an Australian law firm; strong uptake in the firm's employee assistance program (EAP) – at 16.6 percent compared to broader EAP usage in the legal industry of around 5-7 percent; resulted in a 72 percent reduction in the cost of psychological injury claims and claims reduced by 22 percent.
  • Created a group of mental health advocates who lead mental health initiatives in the firm; trained 216 Mental Health First Aiders and Mental Health Champions (approximately 1 in 8 people); recently recognised as a Gold Employer by MHFA Australia as a mentally skilled workplace; introduced an early intervention and prevention model
  • Comments from judges include: ‘The steps taken by Clayton Utz are very tangible and also show innovation of ideas in this area’; ‘An impressive and comprehensive health and well-being program across a large national firm’; ‘Clayton Utz has shown a clear commitment to supporting its staff with practical assistance, however, the exceptional commitment to mental health including through an in-house specialist sets it apart’

Excellence award: BlueRock Law

Excellence award: Carter Newell Lawyers

Excellence award: DLA Piper

Excellence award: PwC Australia




Excellence in Technology & Innovation

Winner: Sprintlaw

  • Developed custom-built innovations i) Legal Resourcing System - consistently achieved high utilisation for firm’s lawyers, with low variance amongst team members, and contributed to the firm’s positive client experience with a high NPS score of 85; ii) 'Sprintyard’ Knowledge Management System - major improvement in firm’s lawyers’ efficiency since implementing the Sprintyard, with some services being performed at a 50% reduction in hours; iii) Workflow Automation System - enabled firm to operate with no administrative or secretarial staff
  • Launched Sprintlaw Counsel — an enterprise legal solution that allows in-house legal teams, law firms and corporate businesses to outsource BAU legal work to the firm; featured in The Australian, AFR, ABC, Lawyers Weekly and Business News Australia
  • Comments from judges include: ‘This business is founded on innovation and technology and is leading the way in implementing new solutions for clients’; ‘Providing an innovative way through technology to deliver effective and efficient legal services and adding significant value to their clients’; ‘Sprintlaw is able to showcase not just a strong technological focus, but also innovation at the core of its business with a unique business model aimed at startups and small business’

Excellence award: Ashurst Digital Ventures

Excellence award: Hall & Wilcox

Excellence award: Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Excellence award: Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: Lander & Rogers

Excellence award: Bird & Bird

Sparke Helmore Insurance In-House Team of the Year

Winner: IAG - Insurance Australia Group

  • Supported IAG’s response to ASIC Corporate Governance Taskforce, SA parliamentary inquiry into motor vehicle insurance and repair industry, WA parliamentary inquiry into the smash repair industry and ACCC Northern Australia inquiry; supported strategic transactions including the complex sale of IAG’s India business, acquisition of  Carbar subscription service;  developed corporate M&A, privacy and outsourcing playbooks; policies and guides to efficiently manage responses to regulatory investigations
  • 67% female representation on the leadership team; set up a skilled volunteering and pro-bono program in collaboration with Minter Ellison to offer pro-bono legal advice to the Bankstown community
  • Comments from judges include: ‘provided high level legal and corporate governance solutions across a range of complex legal issues’; ‘an impressive performance of successfully-implementing legal projects across a wide range of areas and disciplines’

Excellence award: Berkley Insurance Australia

Excellence award: AIG Australia

Excellence award: Steadfast Group



Sparke Helmore

Insurance Specialist Firm of the Year

Winner: Meridian Lawyers

  • 12% increase in revenue with 85% of total revenue derived from the insurance industry; appointed to a number of panels including those of Liberty Specialty Markets (NSW and WA), Allianz Australia (WA), and Victorian Managed Insurance Authority
  • Made a range of submissions to Government on critical policy issues affecting the Insurance Industry through Law Council National Insurance Group which Principal Andrew Sharpe chaired; presented client training sessions on the outcomes of Financial Services Royal Commission to over 1,600 insurance broker members of the Steadfast Group
  • Acted in a number of high profile matters including: acting for the insurers of one of the parties in the Opal Towers defective building litigation in Supreme Court of NSW; acting for the environmental liability insurer in Campbellfield Factory Fire in Melbourne; acting for the insurers of one of the parties involved in State of Tasmania v Basslink Arbitration proceedings relating to damage suffered to a cable running under Bass Strait which connected Tasmania to the National Power Grid

Excellence award: Carter Newell Lawyers

Excellence award: HolmanWebb

Excellence award: Barry.Nilsson. Lawyers

Excellence award: TurksLegal

Law Firm of the Year (> 500 lawyers)

Winner:  Allens

  • Worked on some of the largest and most complex transactions in Australia, including Northwest Rapid Transit consortium's financial close of the A$3.7bn PPP for Sydney Metro (Australia's biggest public transport project); developed an extensive suite of innovative tools and workflow processes
  • Adopted an industry-leading parental leave program that removes distinctions between primary and secondary caregivers; Supported and encouraged conversations about mental illness, including: raising a 'mo-mentous' $147,082 in donations to Movember to support men's health issues; Supported the Red Cross to help communities in the continuing bushfire crisis, including matching employee donations; Contributed more than 27,000 hours of pro bono legal work in FY19; Invested more than 1,400 hours of skilled support in FY19 to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations
  • Judges’ comments include: ‘Allens is a leader not only in the work it does but in the community’; ‘Allens is focused on supporting its people, clients and the community, to help shape the future, introducing innovative approaches to the delivery of legal services, fostering an inclusive and diverse environment and providing exceptional services to its clients whilst creating social value through involvement in charities and pro bono work'

Excellence award: MinterEllison

Excellence award: Herbert Smith Freehills

Excellence award: Corrs Chambers Westgarth

GlobalX Law Firm of the Year (101-500 lawyers)

Winner: Gilbert + Tobin

  • In 2019, advised on large, complex matters including Anheuser-Busch InBev’s $16bn sale of Carlton & United Breweries to Asahi Group (largest M&A transaction in 2019); DuluxGroup on its agreed $3.8 billion takeover by Nippon Paint by scheme of arrangement, the largest trade/strategic takeover in Australian in 2019; BGH Capital led consortium $2.1 billion takeover of Navitas (largest takeover by an Australian PE fund); G+T was highly ranked on corporate transactions: 1st for ECM by number of deals as legal advisor to the manager (ANZ), 1st for ECM by number of deals as legal advisor to the issuer (ANZ); Ranked 2nd for number of M&A announced deals by deal value (ANZ)
  • In 2019, the G+T Foundation and workplace giving program were launched. The primary charity partner is Ngak Min Health Service, which provides medical services to Indigenous youth in Cape York; Among large law firms G+T has the highest percentage of women partners and has publicly committed to achieving a target of 40% women partners by 2023
  • Comments from judges include ‘A standout due to the nature of the work it undertakes and its standing in the market’; ‘during 2019 G+T handled a range of very significant corporate transactions whilst maintaining its commitment to innovation, diversity and pro bono work’

Excellence award: Hall & Wilcox

Excellence award: Gadens

Excellence award: Lander & Rogers

Excellence award: Sparke Helmore Lawyers




Law Firm of the Year (1-100 lawyers)

Winner: Chamberlains Law Firm

  • Chamberlains grew in gross revenue terms by over 40% and in total staff head count by more than 30%; product offering expanded substantially to include Insurance, Injury & Compensation, Family Law and Trade Mark and Patent Attorney work; appointed to the following panels in 2019: Mecon Insurance; Adjudicate Today; ACT Legal Services Panel (for 7 areas of law); Specialist Underwriting Agency (SUA); ACT Trustee and Guardian; NSW Trustee and Guardian
  • Appointed to act on behalf of and advise the largest privately-owned construction company in Australia for multiple NSW matters and disputes; acted on the corporate restructure and A$10m capital raise for a major Australian e-Commerce technology company; acted for a major Australian technology company on a +A$500m supply project; acted on behalf of a shareholder in a multi-week Supreme Court trial on an oppression suit for a corporate group with over A$170m worth of assets
  • Championed inclusiveness and equality - Chamberlains senior leadership team is 60% female 40% male; Provided ongoing complimentary training to leading financial and professional services firms about the impact of various recent legislative changes on multiple sectors of industry; comments from judges include ‘dynamic and innovative’

Excellence award: Carter Newell Lawyers

Excellence award: Griffin Legal

Excellence award: Bird & Bird

Excellence award: Hamilton Locke

Legal Service Provider of the Year

Winner: Thomson Reuters Australia

  • Conducted thorough and meaningful market research such as the 2019 Australia: State of the Legal Market Report., Released the 2019 State of Corporate Law Departments Report on the trends and experiences that the in-house side of the profession were facing; Feedback for  automated solutions includes: “Contract Express [is] robust and easy-to-use.. and has helped our firm process and deliver just north of $200 m worth of construction contracts for our new government client...”; Legal Tracker has also received local recognition for providing in-house legal departments with its high-value matter management and e-billing offering for in-house legal departments
  • 44 of its major customers have award status on the Australian Workplace Equality Index; hosted events such as Queer Screen customer events, and shared event with Maddocks a new chapter on Diversity & Inclusion in a flagship product, The Laws of Australia
  • Comments from judges include  'Good referencing of diversity and innovation’; ‘Breadth of experience and continued adaptability in a changing market'; ‘Strong growth evident’

Excellence award: BigHand Software

Excellence award: GlobalX

Excellence award: Lawpath

NZ Deal Firm of the Year

Winner:  MinterEllisonRuddWatts

  • 13 of 16 partners are ranked by international directories for their expertise and deal making skills; sought after for commentary on issues such as improving NZ’s capital markets, championing excellence in corporate governance and predicting trends in M&A
  • Sample deals: Advised Brookfield Asset Management on the acquisition of its stake in Vodafone NZ; Advised global investment bank, Goldman Sachs, on underwriting Macquarie’s acquisition of car park assets from SkyCity; Advised: pioneering New Zealand-based nutritional milk producer Synlait on the finance arrangements for NZ’s first Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) linked loan with ANZ
  • Advised NZ Cricket on the agreement granting Spark the broadcasting rights to all international and selected domestic cricket games played in NZ; investment administration specialist MMC on its acquisition of Aegis; the shareholders of Davanti, a leading digital tech consulting company on the sale of the company to Dentsu Aegis Network

Excellence award: Buddle Findlay

Excellence award: Russell McVeagh

Excellence award: Corporate and M&A - Webb Henderson

Excellence award: Corporate & Commercial practice, Chapman Tripp

NZ In-House Team of the Year

Winner: Spark New Zealand

  • In 2019, played a leading role in delivering a diverse range of key strategic initiatives: launching Spark Sport and delivering RWC2019 in a NZ market-first within tight timeframes including leading regulatory engagement on ratings regime for live sport delivered over the internet; restructure of Southern Cross group; partnering with Crown Infrastructure Partners (managing Government’s $15bn investment in Ultra-Fast-Broadband infrastructure) to provide connectivity to 700+ rural Marae enabling greater access to public services and economic development opportunities
  • Advised on 18+ investments/divestments; team’s litigation capabilities and reputation for dealing credibly with regulators were again highlighted: Precedent setting strike-out against rival claiming Spark misled NZCC during a clearance application, managed major legal proceedings and mitigated Spark’s risk for several investigations initiated under NZCC’s priority focus on telecommunications; co-leading Spark's widely praised diversity & inclusion programme and sustainability strategy, including reporting against the Global Reporting Initiative Framework in FY19 annual report
  • Comments from judges include ‘The team were involved on a range of complex legal work whilst co-leading the Spark's inclusion and sustainability program’; ‘Providing agile ways of working, delivering customer centric outcomes, supporting diversity and inclusiveness and the strategic initiatives of the business and its regulatory response’; ‘The Spark team has an impressive highlights reel of achievements over the past year, including 5G deployment, funding diversification, and sports media delivery’

Excellence award: Fonterra In-House Legal Team

State/Regional Firm of the Year

Winner: New South Lawyers

  • As one of western Sydney's leading “capabilities-based” law firms, aims to meet the increasingly more diverse and demanding needs of business and private clients, living and operating in the Greater Western Sydney region; has remained current in all areas of technology and embraces leading practice management tools and technologies that allow the firm and its lawyers to operate from the desk or remotely
  • Comments from judges include ‘clearly a firm that has been built on hard work, sweat, blood and tears’; ‘New South Lawyers has a clearly defined market and strategy, with an understanding of issues such as resilience and how they directly impact their clients’

Excellence award: Cooper Grace Ward Lawyers

Excellence award: Ryan & Seton Lawyers

Excellence award: NDA Law

Excellence award: Clarendon Lawyers

Excellence award: HHG Legal Group

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