AUSTRALASIAN LAW AWARDS WINNERS 2021


 

DEAL AWARDS

 

DEBT MARKET DEAL OF THE YEAR

Winner: National Broadband Network medium-term notes issuance

Firms: Allen & Overy, Allens Linklaters, nbn co Legal Team

Accountant: Grant Samuel

Banks: ANZ, Commonwealth Bank, Deutsche Bank, NAB, Westpac

  • Largest domestic debut bond issuance for a corporate issuer:- $1.2bn five-year Australian Medium Term Note (AMTN) issuance and an additional $400m 10-year AMTN issuance
  • Judge's comments include: Amazing work from the nbn co legal team, taking their organisation from strength to strength; Very challenging transaction, particularly with range of stakeholders and timeframe. Impressive deal; A large complex debt transaction which displayed skill and innovation.

EQUITY MARKET DEAL OF THE YEAR

Winner: IOOF combined COVID super-sized placement and accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer

Firms: Allen & Overy, Allens, King & Wood Mallesons

Accountant: EY

Bank: Citigroup

  • Funding via an A$1.04 billion combined COVID super-sized placement and accelerated non-renounceable entitlement offer (‘ANREO’) by IOOF, which was launched to institutional investors on 31 August 2020.
  • Judge's Comments include: A highly complex and sophisticated deal showcasing end-to-end support superbly; A complex deal well executed by a global team, featuring novel and sophisticated structuring; A complex and innovative transaction across many jurisdictions; A fantastic submission for a complex transaction during a difficult year. Great to see the US Securities law advice being done from Australia.

INFRASTRUCTURE & PROJECTS DEAL OF THE YEAR

Winner: Moranbah North-Grosvenor mining complex transaction

Firms: Barbosa Müssnich Aragão Advogados, Clayton Utz, Freshfields, Linklaters, MinterEllison

Accountants: EY, PwC

  • A$2.37 billion equalisation of ownership across the Moranbah North-Grosvenor mining complex
  • Judge's comments include: Extremely complex major transaction overcoming difficulties at every stage for a successful outcome; A very complex transaction in challenging circumstances, very well-executed; A significant project for Anglo American utilising a massive team of over 60 people; A large complex muli-jurisdictional transaction successfully completed; Enormous complexity of the transaction and the ability to complete the transaction and at the same time take the opportunity to automate some of the contract processes; The complexity and innovation shown in this submission was impressive.

INSOLVENCY & RESTRUCTURING DEAL OF THE YEAR

Winner: Bain Capital acquisition of Virgin Australia

Firm: Clayton Utz, Herbert Smith Freehills, Jones Day, K&L Gates

Accountant: Deloitte

Banks: Jefferies

  • A$3.5 billion recapitalization and acquisition out of administration of Virgin Australia by Bain Capital.
  • Notable for its size, media profile, complexity, and plot twists along the way, the transaction was described in the financial press as “arguably the toughest and most complex assignment of 2020”. Required an innovative and unique approach that has created significant judicial precedent for future control transactions.
  • Judge's comments include: A transaction of national importance for Australia: incredibly complex and requiring outstanding innovation; A large, complex set of transactions with a successful outcome; Significantly complicated deal negotiated at a time of crisis in the airline industry

MID-MARKET DEAL OF THE YEAR

Winner: BGH Capital acquisition of Healius Primary Care

Firms: Allens, Herbert Smith Freehills, King Wood Mallesons

Accountants: EY, PwC

Banks: Morgan Stanley, UBS

  • The transaction involved complex separation, restructure and transitional services arrangements to stand up the business from completion and ensure continuity in business operations. In parallel, the transaction included an extensive consultation process with landlords and FIRB prior to completion.
  • Judge's comments include: A complex well-executed transaction with many moving parts.

M&A DEAL OF THE YEAR

Winner: Vodafone Hutchison Australia acquisition of TPG Corporation

Firms: Allens, Herbert Smith Freehills, Norton Rose Fulbright, Prolegis Lawyers

Advisor: Lonergan Edwards & Associates

Accountants: Deloitte, Herbert Smith Freehills, KPMG

Banks: BofA Securities Inc, Deutsche Bank AG, Macquarie Capital

  • One of the largest ever Australian telecommunications deals and the largest Australian public M&A transaction to complete in 2020.
  • Judge's comments include: Outstanding deal with high level complexity bringing transformation to the telecommunications sector; A deal that had everything! A great example of a firm bringing to bear true cross-practice collaboration; A complex, multi-jurisdictional merger successfully completed despited regulatory opposition; Complex transaction with even more complicated regulatory issues that required deep understanding of not just the changing dynamics of the industry but also how far the regulatory process could be challenged successfully

 

IN-HOUSE AWARDS

 

BANKING & FINANCIAL SERVICES IN-HOUSE TEAM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Macquarie Capital Legal Team

  • Provided legal coverage over a large volume of transactions in the Australian market in 2020.
  • Comments from judges include: Extensive work done across a range of areas; Phenomenally well-regarded in the market - a team that others aspire to match!; Oustanding year for a sophisticated legal team; High performance team; In this incredibly disruptive year this group showed it was one of the most innovative and adaptive in-house legal teams.; Scale and complexity of matters engaged in and innovative approaches.; Ticks all of the boxes for this award.; Large portfolio, demonstrated successful completion during difficulties of COVID, with demonstrated shaping of policy

INSURANCE IN-HOUSE TEAM OF THE YEAR

Winner: AIA Australia

  • Lead role in the acquisition of Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s life insurance business in Australia (CommInsure); complex structuring of unique interim joint cooperation arrangement; in-depth insurance law expertise
  • Comments from judges include: Proactive approach and outstanding support for the organisation and its customers.; Whilst addressing the challenges of COVID-19 as an insurer and shifting regulatory landscape, the team has been involved in a significant acquisition, performing to a high standard in a difficult environment, demonstrating resilience and strength and adaptability as a team; Some outstanding and significant initiatives and transactions; Breadth of work and innovative new products/approaches.

YOUNG IN-HOUSE LAWYER OF THE YEAR (30 OR UNDER)

Winner: Esther Lee, NSW Treasury

  • Comments from judges include: An exceptional and highly promising young in-house practitioner, exhibiting diligence, innovation and a desire to make things better.; Esther's work displays innovation and excellence.; Very strong performance; Esther displays accelerated growth, adaptability and astuteness in her role and has up-skilled in a vary short space of time.
  • She has also taken on mentoring in addition to her everyday role.; A great example of a successful move from private practice to government. Esther has brought new initiatives to life and should be congratulated for her ideas, initiatives and enthusiasm.; Significant and broad involvement on matters of significant impact.

AUSTRALIAN IN-HOUSE LAWYER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Annie Haggar, Accenture

  • Helped establish the legal function for Accenture’s new global security business; Successfully led a program of work to integrate the legal approach for the acquired platform and offerings into the existing global managed security services business
  • Comments from judges include: A legal leader, with strong contributions within her company, and a mentor for others. Annie clearly has led her industry and implemented cutting edge initiatives. She also takes a proactive mentoring role in her industry.; A global practice led from Australia in a ground breaking area.; Annie exemplifies an in-house lawyer who is driven by a clear understanding of business strategy, while being innovative, proactive and can do.; This submission stands out for the significance of the initiatives and range of engagement -seriously impressive; The submission demonstrated how the applicant had used legal skills to make a difference for her business client. Great to see legal smarts driving as well as protecting business.

AUSTRALIAN IN-HOUSE TEAM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Sydney Airport Legal Team

  • Played a crucial role in project managing, negotiating and documenting numerous important transactions in 2020; Helped in delivering a successful first ever virtual Annual General Meeting, ensuring good governance and transparency and upholding securityholder rights in line with the guidance issued by ASIC.
  • Comments from judges include: Responding to the severe impact of the pandemic, the team had to overcome significant challenges developing innovative solutions in a stressed environment - demonstrating resilience and performing as a strong, dynamic and highly professional legal team; An excellent submission detailing the important work, innovation and flexibility of the legal team in a period of crisis for the aviation industry.; Extraordinary year for a lean team; Well done in a tough year; Comprehensive program of work by a small team in an unprecedented year; Impressive demonstration of taking quick and practical measures under pressure.

NZ IN-HOUSE TEAM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Airways

  • Played a crucial role in the unprecedented challenges of 2020; Advised on proactive and reactive litigation strategies enabled core programmes of work in a transforming industry; Faciliated complex, innovative and global revenue generating deals; advised on unprecedented divestments.
  • Comments from judges include: Impressive breadth and depth of work as well as looking after the people in the team and the business.; A huge year and great performance; big challenging year well negotiated

 

INDUSTRY AWARDS

 

RESOLUTION INSTITUTE AUSTRALIAN MEDIATOR OF THE YEAR

Winner: Dr. Anne Purcell, Resolution Partners

  • Speaks, writes and trains internationally on alternatives to traditional dispute management and litigation processes; Mediated more than 300 disputes in family, workplace, estate, commercial, mining and community jurisdictions
  • Comments from judges include: A consistently strong candidate with a significant following and sophisticated approach; obviously very dedicated and successful; In a strong field, Dr Purcell has, more than any other, demonstrated excellence in her achievements and performance in 2020.; Top of her field; Very active in terms of not only work performance and activity but also takes a very innovative approach to further developing her skills and knowledge.; A compelling and impressive submission and career.

LEGAL SERVICE PROVIDER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Thomson Reuters Australia

  • Comments from judges include: An invaluable supplier to legal practice across the country, who provided significant innovative support to many during the Covid crisis; impressed by community focus and accessibility; The leader in legal technology and knowledge.; Provided great overall service in a pandemic year when it was most needed;
  • Aquisition of HighQ is a powerful addition to this critical legal services platform - impressive year; Very strong submission; An essential business partner; New product highQ is proving itself to be a leader.; Broad innovative offering that has wide market appeal.; demonstrated thought leadership and commitment to pro bono

 

FIRM AWARDS

 

NZ DEAL FIRM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Bell Gully Corporate

  • Played a key role on the majority of the headline takeover and M&A transactions in the New Zealand market in 2020
  • Comments from judges include: High profile matters and consistency across the board are the hallmarks of Bell Gully's outstanding year.; Despite the pandemic the team managed to work on a number of market leading deals that demonstrated its quality

 

Winner: Chapman Tripp

  • Advised on more M&A transactions than any other New Zealand law firm.
  • Comments from judges include: An outstanding M&A and deal team - depth, expertise and an unwavering commitment to client service.; Very strong deal performance - impressive; Successful large team acting in major NZ transactions

AUSTRALIAN DEALMAKER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Tony Damian, Herbert Smith Freehills

  • Advised on the largest announced Australian public M&A deal of the year for the second year in a row; Advised on 4 out of the 7 announced or completed Australian public M&A transactions exceeding A$1b; Led a number of initiatives in 2020, including: Founder and Co-Chair of conferences, sector groups; culture change programs and General Editor of Australian Journal of Corporate Law.
  • Comments from judges include: An outstanding M&A practitioner who ticks every box - technical knowledge, wide experience, good communicator, proactive and most importantly easy to deal with.; Tony has continued to work on the markets leading deals of the year this year; Amazing performance, in a very strong field; A very impressive work sheet of clients and transactions while Tony has also lead on education, training, culture and across the profession. A clear leader in his practice area and the profession.; Tony was the dominant deal maker of the year

NZ DEALMAKER OF THE YEAR

Winner: Silvana Schenone, MinterEllisonRuddWatts

  • International thought leader and media commentator on opportunities and challenges facing boards and directors, overseas investment, capital markets, climate change; media commentator on M&A, ECM, the NZX and takeovers as well as corporate governance issues, and the author of the most up-to-date textbook on Directors’ Duties
  • Advised NZ Government on their response to COVID-19 issues in the field of directors’ duties and insolvency; Advisor of a number of blue-chip clients
  • Comments from judges include: An outstanding M & A deal sheet for Silvana in a COVID year; Strong submission with some good deals; A true leader; Silvana is the "go to" adviser for blue-chip clients who is able to achieves the best outcomes in a pragmatic way.

CORPORATE CITIZEN FIRM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Clayton Utz

  • Provided 55,000 hours of pro bono legal services including to over 100 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander clients and businesses; Supported First Australians' businesses; donations to the Australian Red Cross Lifeblood's Legal Services Blood Challenge; Maintained carbon neutral status (for the fifth year running)
  • Significant donations to charities including bushfire relief and recovery appeals; COVID-19 additional grant support to community partners for needs arising directly from the crisis
  • Comments from judges include: Sensational contribution; A leader in pro bono, community work, donations indigenous commitment and sustainability, indigenous commitment and environmental sustainability; In what was a challenging year, Clayton Utz demonstrated that they care about what it means to be a good corporate citizen, through their financial, volunteering and in-kind support to a range a community organisations.; Significant and tangible contributions to Corporate Australia.

EXCELLENCE IN EMPLOYEE HEALTH & WELLBEING

Winner: Allens

  • Comments from judges include: Amazing uptick in employee sentiment - wonderfully nuanced and thoughtful programmes; Love the range of initiatives and the EQ evident in the programmes - great signs of change agency;
  • Congratulations to Allens on implementing across 4 principles and 4 key areas - and as a shared priority; An holistic approach that has obviously been well received by staff.; Demonstrated results from holistic commitment to uplift employee experience

 

Winner: Legalite

  • Comments from judges include: Great initiatives and nice approach to fostering a happy culture; The firm demonstrates innovate ways to improve the well being of its employees everyday and has widely supported a number of others external to the firm to also improve their well being;
  • Use of internal creative approach for community betterment; Creative approach thinking outside the box which was successful both internally and externally

EXCELLENCE IN TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION

Winner: Gilbert + Tobin

  • Comments from judges include: G+T remains a market leader in the development and commercialisation of legal tech, matching it with the largest of global firms; a number of very useful technologies (including one patented) and innovation;
  • Outstanding leader in a strong field highly practical solutions; G+T Innovate is a game changer and provided to external clients with great professionalism and care for the client's needs; Impressive delivery of a number of practical initiatives to augment lawyers' capacity or provide repeat advice.

EMPLOYMENT LAW SPECIALIST FIRM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Harmers Workplace Lawyers

  • Led many of Australia’s most high-profile/significant cases in 2020 and complex cross-border labour projects * One of the first to provide articles and webinars on the employment implications of COVID19; complimentary international webinars, contributed to an international handbook on employment law, contributed to a dedicated COVID-19 microsite and prepared regular legal articles; provided significant probono assistance to clients and a major sponsor of the Australian Institute of Employment Rights
  • Comments from judges include: Leading employment lawyers on challenging cases.; Outstanding practice; Breadth and depth of work is impressive

INSURANCE SPECIALIST FIRM OF THE YEAR

Winner: TurksLegal

  • Comments from judges include: TurksLegal have demonstrated an outstanding client focus and talent for innovation in challenging times; Really demonstrated the ability of a team to rise to meet the many challenges of their clients under difficult circumstances.

BOUTIQUE FIRM OF THE YEAR

Winner: Aptum Legal

  • Comments from judges include: Innovative player in the market seeking to build a niche as a true boutique firm.; It was great to see the innovation being demonstrated within the this boutique firm - offering a true alternative to full scale litigation.

 

Winner: The Fold Legal

  • Legal Partner to Fintech Australia (FA) and Insurtech Australia (IA) and chair of IA’s advisory committee; Led FA’s submissions to Treasury on the Payments System Review and ASIC’s Enhanced Regulatory Sandbox; Assisted Xplore Wealth with their submission to Treasury on FDS and renewal notices, resulting in the legislation being changed to simplify the requirements
  • Comments from judges include: A highly regarded specialist firm in an area of increasing importance to the global economy; Specialist firm clearly going above and beyond for their clients.; An exceptional performer in a highly technical area.; Impressive performance in a competitive space, with strong client reviews to support; Impressive reviews and scope of work in fintech space; Prioritised and focused on client service. Cemented its position as FS experts.

 

Winner: Wright Legal - Banking and Finance Lawyers

  • Facilitated over A$1.5 billion in finance transactions spanning mining and resources, property, energy and commercial deals
  • Comments from judges include: Wright Legal have demonstrated that they have a depth of offering unmatched; Good volume in a boutique B&F practice; Impressive deal sheet; Punches well above its weight in an area of practice reknown for its heavyweghts.

YOUNG PRIVATE PRACTICE LAWYER OF THE YEAR (30 OR UNDER)

Winner: Kerrie Duong, Baker McKenzie

  • In 2020, Kerrie worked on a number of landmark transactions, both in Australia and abroad * An active supporter of women's rights, volunteering for the Women's Legal Service NSW, an active member of the Barangaroo Women's Network and BakerWomen- organising gender equality initiatives and helping the elderly community
  • Comments from judges include: A clear winner, demonstrating , legal service provider excellence, and a dedication to the professions culture.; Kerrie handled a range of very significant property transactions whilst still finding time to volunteer for the women's legal service and senior rights service.; Kerrie's commitment across a very wide range of areas, and in particular, the depth of her cross boarder and large scale hotel practice was outstanding. It was also very impressive to read above her social justice work across a number of areas.

LAW FIRM LEADER OF THE YEAR (<200 EMPLOYEES)

Winner: Sam Frey, KCL Law

  • Comments from judges include: Sam's submission evidences a law firm leader with a solid grasp of all of the aspects that require focus to keep an emerging law firm balanced but profitable.; A good range of initiatives

LAW FIRM LEADER OF THE YEAR (>200 EMPLOYEES)

Winner: Andrew Pike, Herbert Smith Freehills

  • Comments from judges include: A comprehensive leadership agenda in 2020 led a large and complex firm through the challenges of Covid, coupled with a strong personal example.; Proactive reaction to supporting the business through COVID disruption, while maintaining a focus on important initiatives for large law firms around culture, diversity and fairness; Support during bush fires; transitioned of 1200 staff to remote working including hosting virtual town hall meetings and created new initiatives: "in your shoes, Agile 60, 10 Actions for change.

 

Winner: Genevieve Collins, Lander & Rogers

  • Comments from judges include: Genevieve took the firm from strength to strength during challenging times, innovating and supporting all the way.; An exceptional leader, driving changes that will help evolve the legal profession.; Impressive achievements in diversity and innovation.; Established a vision and is achieving it.

STATE/REGIONAL FIRM OF THE TEAR

Winner: Keypoint Law

  • Comments from judges include: Keypoint's client feedback and strong culture speak volumes for its leadership and client focus.; keypoint law continued to adapted to the pandemic conditions to provide a refreshed offering to clients; Really interesting growth, and great feedback and diversity stats; An excellent breadth of services and highly rated client service.

LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR (1-100 LAWYERS)

Winner: LegalVision

  • Comments from judges include: Strong growth from a dynamic innovator.; Innovative service offerings and outstanding deals set LegalVision apart.; Exceptional growth and development by a leaders in client satisfaction.; Leading significant disruption in the legal industry; Impressive growth and a meaningful disruptor; Outstanding success and differentiation of product to market in legal services; Unrivalled innovation and great steps in gender equality

LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR (101-500 LAWYERS)

Winner: Gilbert + Tobin

  • In 2020, ranked 1st for ECM by deal value to the manager (ANZ) by Refinitiv and Bloomberg, 1st for ECM for number of deals to the manager (ANZ) by Refinitiv (2nd by Bloomberg), 1st for M&A by value of completed deals (ANZ) by Refinitiv, 2nd for M&A for number for announced deals (ANZ) by Bloomberg; Advised on some of the largest transactional matters in the market; IP team secured significant wins in business-critical litigation cases
  • Comments from judges include: Yet another strong year from one of the most ambitious and innovators in our market; Great deal list - impressive performance for a domestic firm; In every respect, G+T is head and shoulders above other firms of its size; Continues to be the Benchmark in this category.

LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR (>500 LAWYERS)

Winner: Herbert Smith Freehills

  • Ranked 1st by value and deal count in three 2020 M&A league tables (Bloomberg, Mergermarket and Refinitiv); Provided over 35,000 hours of pro bono work, an average of 46.4 hours per FTE lawyer; Launched ‘In Your Shoes’, Agile 60, People Forums, 10 Actions For Change; A Veterans Network; New gender targets –
  • Comments from judges include: A truly exceptional, client-focused firm.; HSF once again led the field in terms of deals, presence in the legal industry and promotion of its people through covid; A broad range of initiatives in the firm across a difficult year; All nominees had impressive deal records, however HSF's submission had good detail on the ways in which it is tangibly reconsidering modern legal practice as well as considered community engagement.

DIVERSITY INITIATIVE OF THE YEAR

Winner: Ashurst

  • Comments from judges include: Tackling a diversity issue that not a lot of law firms have paid a lot of attention to.; Refreshing to see a disability support program using leading role models within the firm and ongoing efforts which has a genuine impact on employees and new recruits in the firm.; an excellent focus on inclusion; Often overlooked, Ashurst has demonstrated a commitment to the value and contribution that people with disabilities can make to the workforce and to the legal profession.
  • The initiative sets an example for others in the profession to follow. A worthy winner; Impressive and proactive initiatives; great area of focus and a real solution; Ashurst's approach to diversity is comprehensive and independent; Multiple initiatives with a significant impact in this space. In particular, the Passport Initiative demonstrates the Firm's commitment by going beyond standard awareness raising activities to deliver meaningful results.; The depth of engagement is substantial.; Ticks all of the boxes for this award.; Great initiatives demonstrating diversity

Stay Up to Date

Be sure to receive all updates about the Australasian Law Awards as they happen by signing up to our mailing list.

 

No spam, and unsubscribe anytime.