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Aussie Lawyer Directory
Aussie Lawyer Directory is Australia's best legal listings hub. Reviews, advice and most importantly the Best law firms in Oz
Aussie Lawyer Directory is Australia's best legal listings hub. Reviews, advice and most importantly the Best law firms in Oz

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Australian Legal industry and finding the right lawyer for your situation.
Thеrе іѕ lіttlе dоubt that thе Auѕtrаlіаn lеgаl market іѕ іn thе mаturе phase оf the lif e сусlе wіth dесlіnіng dеmаnd,  increased рrісе-bаѕеd соmреtіtіоn аnd pressure on operating margins. In thіѕ еnvіr оnmеnt оr thе “new nоrmаl,” аѕ  ѕоmе rеfеr tо it, cli...
According to the head of a boutique, hiring more staff than the current workload and having a flexible team structure is enough to help small firms tackle big deals. “I believe having high staff levels can give small firms the chance to cater to high-end clients,” said Henry Kalus who is also the founder of Kalus Kenny Intelex. He also said that in order to manage the really big deals when they come along, they have always wanted to have more people than their firm need in the practice. In fact, this may require them to hire even in areas with little extra work for some cases.
Mr. Klaus also said that there are some lawyers who build a practice on the back of staff while thinking that they are building it on their clients and he described this as a big mistake. It is true that a lot of law firms have built their reputation by bringing aboard partners who in turn bring well-paying clients. However, Klaus believes that small firms can change this approach and use their own staff to find the right work that will help them grow their reputation. “I encourage my staff to avoid exceeding their billable budgets and I always stress on the point that lawyers shouldn’t be over-worked,” said Mr. Klaus.
On the other hand, lawyers can easily exceed their billable bills if they are not delegating enough and also if they are not resourced enough. “That’s not the way people should measure success and we don’t want to see our lawyers exceeding budgets because of it,” added Mr. Klaus. In addition, Klaus believes that small firms can attain flexibility to scale up the firm’s capacity by having their lawyers work across a number of teams. He also said that in order to get the flexibility desired, he has employed a team of transactional commercial property and another team of property development. Therefore, just like the large firms, this gives Klaus the chance to put as many people on a transaction and get the work done accordingly.
However, it is important to take note that it is critically important to ensure that not more than four or five lawyers tackles one transaction because the end result may not be appealing. Given the wide legal market, Mr. Klaus believes that boutique firms in Australia can easily compete with much larger players if they keenly implement these strategies. Mr. Klaus and Jonathan Kenny found Kalus Kenny Intelex in 1993 and Sven Burchartz later joined them in 2013 and currently serves as the firm’s managing partner.
Recently, the firm acted on the acquisition of Amcor Paper Mill site and the seventy two million dollar sale of The Well shopping centre based in Camberwell. Mr. Kalus suggested that because of the personal, expert experience offered by smaller firms, large developers are increasingly looking forward towards getting their high quality services.
With the new method that offers couples the chance to divorce without court and separate with dignity, many practitioners have started embracing the process of Collaborative Law. Therefore, this clearly shows that there is a quiet revolution that is sweeping through family law in Australia. It encourages participants to have control of the separation process; hence this makes it the cornerstone of the Collaborative process. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Queensland Collaborative Law and also 25 years of Collaborative Law’s existence although a surprising number of practitioners and their clients are still kept in the dark as to its benefits and how it works.
Unlike the conventional divorce process that requires the parties to give their pledge to the judge for his or her final decision, the Collaborative Law also known as Collaborative Divorce gives the parties the chance to sign a pledge and reach an agreement on their own. Therefore, this entails that all of the parties including lawyers and clients commit to fight for a resolution made out of court. Although divorce ends marriage, responsibilities remain as usual when there are children involved. While all parties are assured of embracing new lives, Collaborative Divorce helps minimise conflict. As a matter of fact, it is all about untying the knot of a relationship and not hacking at the rope.
It is highly advisable that lawyers work together in order to show that co-operation can make the divorce process more productive and also correct the negative light portrayed by some sections of the mainstream media. The Collaborative Law is said to be more advantageous as compared to the traditional process because it gives immediate outcome or the matter can be resolved within a few months whereas the court process may keep the parties waiting for several years in order to get an outcome in case mediation doesn’t work. With the Collaborative process, work is made easier because it is upon the parties and their lawyers to identify a resolution that is mutually acceptable and work towards achieving it.
In addition, without having the time to discuss things with professional advisors apart from their lawyers, parties can find formal mediation requiring them to make major decisions on their own. On the other hand, the matter will be taken back to the Federal Circuit Court if the parties find it hard to reach an agreement on their own.
For her innovative approach to reducing attrition and financial growth, Sue Kench, KWM managing partner, was recognised as Executive of the Year. During this year’s Women in Law Awards, international firms were strongly represented with King & Wood Mallesons winning both the executive award and the dealmaker. As a matter of fact, one judge was heard saying that the initiatives from Ms Kench were seen to be creating a workplace that is more like a “centre of excellence” and less like a “traditional law firm,” where development and learning is highly valued.
On the other hand, Yuen-Yee Cho received the Dealmaker of the Year Award in the M&A, area hence making it another big win for King & Wood Mallesons. According to the judges, Ms Cho was found to be an “original and innovative thinker” and a “first-class dealmaker” with strong team skills. “I love the adrenaline of deals,” said Ms Cho while speaking with Aussie Lawyer Blog. “The kinds of deals we do gives our team a big buzz since they are usually quite unique in a market setting,” added Ms Cho. Given that she ultimately settled on her work on the Velocity Frequent Flyer spin-out/Virgin Australia Airlines, Ms Cho said that it was a difficult choice amongst many picking her own top deal of the year.
Claire Forster from Norton Rose Fulbright was awarded the Special Counsel of the Year title. “With the Indigenous and with homeless communities, it is very impressive to see a busy commercial lawyer also dedicated time to pro bono projects,” commented one judge. Also, Colleen Platford from Gilbert&Tobin was given the Partner of the Year award which is usually presented by e-law International and it is considered one of the most competitive categories. Ms Platford is now the most senior female litigation partner at Gilbert & Tobin since she was one of the first two women partners appointed at the firm in 1995. Currently, Ms Platford is exploring the tax deductibility of child care costs for all women and she has been a pioneer of flexible working arrangements at Gilbert & Tobin.
In addition, Ms Platford has undertook significant amounts of pro bono work and she has also participated fully as the firm’s lead partner on a number of complex and large dispute resolution cases in the past years. One judge also said that in the past year, Ms Platford has been able to achieve excellent outcomes for her clients since her dispute resolution work in the past year has been of high quality standard.
In order to cater for a 40 per cent rise in the domestic violence field demand, Women’s Legal Service Queensland (WLSQ) is planning to expand its legal helpline. All volume data will be monitored to increase efficiency and the staff working on the state-wide helpline will be doubled drawing on private donations and government funding. In order to curb complex family law matters and domestic violence, WLSQ provides free legal help to Queensland women and their children. As a matter of fact, WLSQ found that 95 per cent of calls made to the helpline went unanswered after an evaluation conducted this year. Natalie Davidson, who organizes fundraising at WLSQ, said that currently, through the various programs of the service including their helpline, the WLSQ is only able to help about one in 10 women who seek their help.
In response, with expanded operating hours from 9am to 3pm, Monday to Friday, WLSQ has developed a new helpline that is expected to start t in January 2016. “That’s the way to go in order to determine that most of the women are contacting WLSQ’s service for help,” said Ms Davidson. Women will reach two staff members who have the required skills to make initial assessments when they call the helpline for help. Therefore, clients can seek relevant advice from one of WLSQ’s 140 volunteer family lawyers who have been bestowed the duty to offer legal advice.
With the new helpline, Ms Davidson estimated that they will be able to answer 700 per cent more calls from women affected with domestic violence. The Women’s Legal Service, which is very exciting, said that thousands of women will get the opportunity to receive assistance from the Women’s Legal Service. In addition, the new technology meant for the helpline will provide data on a daily basis around the peak demand times, where people are calling from, the number of missed calls and who has called. Ms Davidson also explained that this is the main reason why the program can really have a better understanding about adjustments and unmet need that can be made.
“We will be funded by community fundraisers and government grants for us to meet the helpline’s cost which is estimated to be $200,000 each year,” said Ms Davidson. This week, through its annual White Ribbon Day fundraiser breakfast, WLSQ raised $85,000 at the Supreme Court. Therefore, Ms Davidson said that this meant they were confident to start the helpline come 2016. The sold-out event was attended by academics and members of parliament, top-tier law firms, barristers and a group of around 450 judges. “We transform the foyer of level three of the Supreme Court into a beautiful events space after literally clearing it out,” said Ms Davidson. In addition, the event will actually kick off after the tickets are put on sale.
Due to what she achieved during her eight years as sex discrimination commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick is now named the 2016 NSW Australian of the Year. Broderick championed for campaigns improving economic security for women, promoting greater female representation in leadership, and curbing gender-based violence and sexual harassment while she was first appointed to the role in September 2007. In order to encourage a greater number of women into decision-making positions, she called for changes to the ASX Corporate Governance Principles, and also led the Review into the Treatment of Women in the Australian Defence Force.
“There is no better job in the world than that because I loved everything about that job,” she said. “I also got the chance to work with individuals who wanted to bring some change in their own boundaries of expertise and influence,” she said. Broderick also said that she has taken more holistic approach when tackling issues related to gender equality. She also shifted the focus from competitive gender politics when it came to pushing towards inclusiveness. She also said that many people think that gender equality only benefits the women and that it is a zero-sum game to men, but her experience has made her to view the issue in a different perspective. As a matter of fact, she believes that it is about both women and men joining hands together towards creating a more stable and equal Australia.
Broderick said she already knew what was in store for her in 2016 after finishing in her role as sex discrimination commissioner in September this year. In addition, she is planning to make some great changes with her new title as NSW Australian of the Year. “In order to create tangible change, I will have to connect with those I need to connect with,” she said. She added that this will make other people feel on board and excited at the same time. There are some people whom she knows can influence change and this program will be working with all the incredible people in NSW and also beyond.
Conclusively, Broderick said that positive results stem from the critical issues becoming humanised, when she was describing the qualities she brings to her work. She also added that what she has realised is that she can take the personal to the heart of power since it is one of the things she can bring. She is planning to create significant change in Australia and that’s what she is going to do. On the other hand, Broderick has received two honorary doctorates of law from the University of Technology and the University of Sydney. She was also the winner of the 100 Women of Influence Awards for 2014.
Now, if the police suspect that a person is planning to commit a summary offence, they have been given powers by the controversial laws to hold them for more than four hours. The reason behind this is because the high court decided to rule in favour of the Northern Territory’s paperless arrest laws. In addition, the police are allowed to detain people without charge for minor offences as stated in the Northern Territory’s controversial paperless arrest laws upheld by the high court.
On the other hand, legal and human rights bodies have widely criticised the law. On behalf of a woman who was held in custody for 12 hours and with assistance from the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC), the law was challenged by North Australian Aboriginal Justice Agency (NAAJA). As stated in its submission, NAAJA said there was a breach of the constitutional separation of powers; hence this made the law disproportionate. NAAJA also told the court that the detention of people based on the law was against any judicial process and this made the scheme punitive. However, on Wednesday, a big number of the high court bench rejected allegations that they offered punitive or penal powers to the NT executive by supporting the laws. Therefore, it concluded that the laws do not detract, undermine or impair from the Northern Territory court’s institutional integrity. It also ordered that the plaintiffs were responsible for the costs.
Justices Virginia Bell and Susan Kiefel, together with the chief justice, Robert French noted that it can be deemed potentially unconstitutional and punitive if a person was detained for longer than the legislation dictates. “Irrespective of whether it grants a punitive or penal power, the law remains valid,” said Justice Patrick Keane.
Justice Stephen Gageler said in a dissenting report that the paperless arrest laws made the courts facilitate penal executive detention because holding a person without charge was punitive; hence it supported key players in the scheme. He wrote that while it is a period when arbitrary executive detention is being played out, the courts are made to stand in the wings. As one of the institutions established for the administration of justice, that role is antithetical to their status. Therefore, in order to act out the next scene, they are often ushered onstage. Jonathon Hunyor, who happens to be NAAJA’s principal lawyer, said earlier that the paperless arrest powers given to the police affected homeless and Indigenous people unfairly; hence it doesn’t prove to be accountable. According to the HRLC, approximately 2,000 people have been negatively affected by the law and the homeless people made 80% of the list.
According to the NSW Attorney-General, technology is unlikely to replace physical court appearances for high-stake areas as much as it has a role to play in addressing court delays. Recently, a pilot Online Court for civil cases in the Local Court General Division was approved by the NSW Attorney-General’s office. This service is relevant in the sense that it removes the need for parties to travel to the court repeatedly since it allows documents to be filed outside court hours. As a matter of fact, the online process can be used appropriately for cases that do not involve fundamental breach of a person’s liberty or safety.
On the other hand, technology has a role to play when it comes to civil justice or where people just want to resolve things in the ordinary course of their business. But the demeanour of the defendant is taken into account by the judge and jury especially in criminal proceedings. As much as technology might have a role to play in the criminal justice system, chances are very rare that it will replace the trial. However, the experience of people in custody can be improved while creating efficiencies when the use of audio-visual link is implemented. Therefore, there is also need to introduce a system that treats defendants who are accused of the most serious crime charges with humanity.
Sometimes, it might cost correctional services and police much time by shuttling people in custody back and forth to court, hence this is unnecessary since it affects the defendant negatively. For example, in Lismore, people in custody often experience a six-hour trip when returning to attend court proceedings from Grafton Correctional Centre. Gabrielle Upton, who happens to be the first female attorney-general appointed by NSW in April, told Aussie Lawyer Blog that over the past year, the NSW courts have been experiencing delays and the hardest hit being the NSW District Criminal Court. Between 2007 and 2014, trial delay in the NSW District Criminal Court increased by 34 per cent according to a report released by the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research. “This report was arrived at based on lots of factors including the increasing complexity of evidence and serious crime being targeted more by police due, in part, to technology,” said Gabrielle Upton. In addition, Ms. Upton endorsed the NSW Law Reform Commission’s recommendation that was made in December 2014. The recommendation suggested that appropriate early guilty pleas be encouraged.
As the court prepares for a trial that will not take place, guilty pleas made late in proceedings waste resources and time. “For the benefit of justice, it is advisable that the jury settles on a guilty plea early since it encourages minds to meet between private or public defenders and crown prosecutors around the case,” said Ms. Upton. She also said that other suggestions from stakeholders for reducing delays include creating broader jurisdiction and having judges sit longer in the local court. According to Ms Upton, addressing the “low utilisation of court assets” is a key part of the solution to delays in court proceedings.
The Australian government has been urged by the Australian Bar Association and The Law Council of Australia to put restrictions on the country’s contribution regarding transitional crime investigations that could lead in harsh executions like death penalty. In addition, they have said that in order to prevent authorities from providing information to foreign countries in cases that could lead to death penalty, the Australian Federal Police Act 1979 needed some reform. The legal professional bodies said that the current practice do not comply with Australia’s “absolute opposition” to capital punishment in a submission to the Joint Standing Committee on Trade, Defence and Foreign Affairs, which was held last month.
The submission stated that the death penalty has not been shown to combat crime; hence it is inhuman and cruel. It also stated that the Australian Federal Police can be relieved of their burden of making such complex death issues and tough decisions in life if the legislative reform would be put in place by the government. In addition, the submission entails that between 2009 and 2014; most of the 1,847 names that AFP provided to foreign police included investigations for drug offences in countries that supported the death penalty. However, AFP denied at least three requests that needed assistance in cases that could lead to serious executions. According to the submission, while the AFP keeps on approving the vast majority, this also shows that they are somehow exercising discretion.
The submission made by ABA and ALC questions whether this is the best approach putting in mind Australia’s position in opposing the death penalty. It also argues that a person cannot be extradited to face the death penalty as it is provided for under the Extradition Act 1988. Also, in the submission, ABA and LCA argue that there is no “solid difference” between helping with an investigation that may lead to that outcome and sending a person to face the death penalty directly. While arguing that Australia is in a good position to be a leading state actor in the Asia-Pacific region, the legal professional bodies’ submission highly promotes government strategies towards convincing other countries to do away with capital punishment.
Between 2009 and 2013, nine countries including Yemen, the US, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, China and Bangladesh carried out executions every year, while Australia ditched the death penalty for good in 1967. As a matter of fact, China alone executed more than 1,000 people in 2014. However, the good news is that some of the countries have started shying away from the bad practice while others are putting strategies on how to abolish the death penalty.
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