- Why did you become a lawyer and why do you keep practising law?
It's a constant search to find the best solution to problems. I started because I was fascinated by the contest in rights, obligations and in some cases the evidence and continue to be so to this day.
- Why do you choose to practise in your area of expertise?
Insolvency and restructuring law is an interesting combination of practical problem solving and genuinely interesting theoretical problems where property, corporations, securities and general commercial law intersect in often novel or interesting ways. Special situations create a situation where basic contractual rights are not the be all and end all, and there is an inherent possibility that there will be not enough to go around to meet all claims. The challenge is in ensuring that you position the matter for success for your client understanding fully what happens when ordinary contractual principles are of minimal assistance.
- What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started practising law?
That there is no perfect way to solve a legal problem and that instead of looking for the most academically correct answer, you need to take a more fluid approach to problem solving.
- If you could change one law what would it be?
If I could change a law, it would be the Personal Properties Securities Act 2009 (Cth). It is a piece of legislation that is a failure in terms of establishing a system of priority by registration, is a failure at a practical level and which creates exceptionally unfair outcomes in insolvency scenarios based on clerical and other errors.
- How have you seen the business of law change over the last decade?
I think we have seen a change in the model of law firms driven by increased consumer sophistication and a hollowing out of non-specialist generalist firms. A decade ago there was less competition, both on price and in the market generally. Over the next decade the law firms that succeed will be the ones that create real value rather than act as service providers seeking to effectively offload risk onto clients. There is a need to think about how we align our commercial success with the client's success and to embrace the possibility that we need to lead and embrace disrupting our own pricing model, rather than having someone else do that to us where we are not able to be in control and well positioned for that disruption. The law firm of the future will hopefully be more agile, smarter and more efficient than the law firm of 10 years ago.
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