We recognise that our clients come to us for the help we can provide. We will stand with you to help you achieve your goals.
We are a 'we' firm, not an 'I' firm.
Our clients get the best we can provide as a team, not just the best any one of us can provide as an individual. That makes a big difference in the quality of our work and in the outcomes we achieve for our clients.
We have the ability and the energy to drive matters to a successful outcome. We are a ‘can do’ firm.
We value our personal and professional relationships with our clients. While legal solutions are obviously important, the most effective way for us to help our clients is to work with them to form clear objectives, and to implement a strategy to achieve those objectives. What our clients need is clear, independent thinking, and sound commercial advice from a legal perspective.
In each of our service areas, we pride ourselves on learning the ins-and-outs of our clients' projects and businesses, whether that be building a rail tunnel, manufacturing mining equipment, the risks and rewards in a property transaction, or the tax implications of a major acquisition. Our work embodies our goals of care, clarity of thought and outstanding legal knowledge.
We consider truthfulness and integrity our hallmark, and we value those qualities in all people with whom, for whom and against whom we work.
It’s not the big who
catch the small,
it’s the quick who
catch the slow.
Before establishing our firm, our founding partners were partners in large commercial law firms. We think like a big firm, but act like a small firm. We have the ability to move quickly.
We have thought deeply about how we do what we do. We have developed a distinctive approach, which leads to successful outcomes.
We gather all relevant information quickly, and at the start of a matter. We think clearly about the issues, and devise a strategy to achieve results. We focus on the outcome, not just on the process.
The best outcomes are achieved through collaboration, teamwork and pro-active effort. A partner is responsible for the conduct of every matter, with hands-on involvement. A partner is the primary point of contact for every client on all of our matters. For most matters, two partners are involved. As a result, our clients have a senior point of contact in the firm at all times, even if one of us is in Court or on leave. We believe in the adage that two heads are better than one.
We conduct regular internal reviews of complex matters so that our clients derive the maximum benefit from collective knowledge. That process leads to good ideas and better outcomes.
We recognise that legal costs can often be a concern. We strive to provide value for money. We believe that our approach achieves that outcome. Repeat work from long-standing clients, who continue to recommend us to others, bears this out.
In addition, we speak and meet regularly with our clients throughout Australia to ensure we stay on top of what is most important to them. Our goal is to be easy to work with, to be responsive to our clients' needs, and to provide pre-eminent services at a cost which our clients believe represents good value.
Our relationship with each of our clients is of fundamental importance to us. We measure our success through our clients' satisfaction with our services.
We punch above our weight.
We have achieved outstanding results in significant transactions and large disputes throughout Australia.
We act for nearly 10% of the companies listed on the InDaily SA Business Index 2018.
Some examples of our success in disputes matters include:
We conducted and won urgent Federal Court proceedings in NSW on behalf of liquidators of a group of companies with tax debts exceeding $100 million. On our advice, the liquidators sued the directors of those companies for the losses which arose from an international banking arrangement where large amounts deposited overseas were brought into Australia disguised as loans, and sham ‘interests payments’ were claimed as tax deductions: BCI Finances Pty Limited (in liq) v Binetter (No 4)  FCA 1351. In addition, as part of that case we obtained urgent orders in the Federal Court freezing $80 million in proceeds from the sale of the Nudie Juice business, and requiring the director of the companies to surrender his passport.
We conducted a formal review of governance processes and management structure for a Commonwealth government corporation which had been the victim of a major fraud.
We ran and won urgent Federal Court proceedings in Victoria against Ford Motor Corporation, resulting in judgment for approximately $20 million in favour of our client, obtained within only three months of the dispute first arising: Arrowcrest Group Pty Limited v Ford Motor Company of Australia Limited  FCA 1450.
We ran and won a major tax case for a large public company against the ATO in the Federal Court of Australia. That case involved disputed tax assessments exceeding $80 million: Commissioner of Taxation v Futuris Corporation Limited  FCAFC 32; Futuris Corporation Limited v Commissioner of Taxation  FCA 935.
We acted for a South Australian charity in pursuing recovery of losses, after it suffered a fraud committed by its finance manager, tracing property of the fraudster and obtaining recovery from the charity’s bank for allowing funds to be transferred without authority. The charity obtained effectively full recovery of its loss.
We ran and won a case for an investor against the proponent of a ‘business arrangement’ which that proponent tried to characterise the business arrangement as something other than a franchise. The proponent’s goal was to avoid the need to comply with the Franchising Code of Conduct. This case has become one of the leading cases in Australia on franchise law: Rafferty & Others v Time 2000 West Pty Limited & Others (No 4)  FCA 725. As part of that case, we also obtained a freezing order (Mareva injunction) against the assets of the proponent, and those judgments of the Court have become some of the leading cases on freezing order injunctions in Australia: Rafferty v Time 2000 West Pty Ltd (No 2)  FCA 1931, Rafferty v Time 2000 West Pty Ltd (No 7)  FCA 405; and in recovering a judgment from those assets: Rafferty v National Australia Bank Limited  FCA 169, Donovan v Sheahan as trustee of the Bankrupt Estate of Donovan  FCA 437.
We successfully resisted an appeal to the South Australian Full Court of the Supreme Court for production of without-prejudice documents concerning a confidential settlement: Yokogawa Australia Pty Limited & Others v Alstom Limited  SASC 377.
We obtained an injunction from the Chief Justice of the High Court of Australia against the Australian Crime Commission in a high profile tax investigation: C v Australian Crime Commission  HCA Trans 135.
We took an issue arising under the Corporations Act to a hearing before the South Australian Full Court, which ultimately led to the Commonwealth Parliament amending the Corporations Act (Corporations Amendment Act (No. 1) 2005): Hanel v O'Neill  SASC 409.
Some examples of our success in commercial transactions include:
We were involved in the purchase of one of the largest and highest profile holdings of agricultural land in South Australia. To achieve the sale, we undertook intensive work over a short period of time and ensured that the various properties, water licences and associated rights and agreements were successfully transferred.
One of our clients sold a major commercial property to a developer looking to undertake a significant shopping centre expansion. We gave tax advice on the existing complex property holding structure, negotiated favourable sale terms and structured the deal to achieve the best result for our client, including saving hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax.
We have prepared, advised on and negotiated the governing documents for a $100 million cooperative arrangement involving the Commonwealth, a range of universities, industry parties and government departments. This involved dealing with the various stakeholders and organising and making the necessary amendments with a view to ensuring the parties’ collective objectives were achieved and the government funding and party contributions were secured.
We effected a multi-million sale of an industry property to a newly established property investment fund. After navigating the complex environmental issues, negotiating hard for our client and dealing with a range of challenges presented by the purchaser, we ultimately closed the transaction.
We acted for one of the parties to a transaction involving the sale of a large high-rise office building in the Adelaide CBD, for more than $50 million. We also advised an overseas-based property investment group on the purchase of high rise CBD property for an amount exceeding $70 million. We provided comprehensive advice and assistance, including attending at settlement and advising the purchaser of their tax and Foreign Investment Review Board obligations.
We advised on and arranged the restructure and part-sale of one of the Australia's largest and most prestigious thoroughbred horse studs.
We represented a large provider of aged care in the purchase of several aged care facilities. We have also prepared construction contracts for the development and refurbishment of award-winning new facilities.