Construction, Infrastructure & Project Finance Department

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What the team is known for Highly regarded for its adroit handling of major road, rail and air transportation projects together with an established track record in the resources arena. Outstanding reputation in respect of all aspects of project financings, strong on PPPs and counts major public entities and corporate and banking groups amongst its clients. Handles downstream construction mandates, acting for government corporations as well as contractors, and is active on both contentious and transactional matters.

Strengths Clients laud the team for its commercial sense, one noting: "They're great, I'm very happy with them and very happy with the work we've got out of them, they're always very responsive and they can also be commercial, understanding the commercial impacts of a decision."

Another client emphasises the team's market knowledge: "They're very good, they're across all the issues, they know what the market standards are so they're able to advise on what they're seeing and not seeing in the market."

Work highlights Acted for Sydney Motorway Corporation (SMC) with regards to the WestConnex project. This involved advice regarding Stages 1 and 2 of the project and SMC's interactions with the NSW government's Roads and Maritime Services and with the various construction contractors.

Represented Capella Capital, the financiers to the Cross Yarra Partnership, on the successful close of the Metro Tunnel Package and related packages of the AUD11 billion Melbourne Metro Project.

Notable practitioners

Emma Warren is widely respected in the infrastructure market, particularly for her experience acting on large PPPs. A client describes her as "one of the leading infrastructure lawyers in Australia," going on to say: "Her legal knowledge is very strong, her negotiations skills are excellent and the way she interacts with people in negotiations is very good."

Leighton O'Brien is widely regarded as one of Australia's top construction lawyers. He regularly acts for public entities and construction companies with regards to the construction of major infrastructure projects. One client appreciates the depth of his experience and knowledge, saying that "he's incredibly bright and he's got a huge bank of knowledge on a vast number of projects that he's worked on," and another simply states: "There's no doubt in my mind that the best in our field is Leighton O'Brien."

Michael Ryan focuses on project finance, acting for both borrowers and financiers with regards to power projects, PPPs and other infrastructure projects. One of his clients comments: "Michael Ryan is a top partner in Australia, certainly the smartest I've met in the country."

Nick Rudge represents construction and engineering companies, resources groups and government bodies on a variety of construction matters, both contentious and non-contentious. A client emphasises that "he's good at the detail and making sure all the loose ends are tied up, and he's also good on strategy."

Phillip Cornwell is an eminently experienced practitioner of project finance. He has an established reputation for representing lenders and sponsors on major projects.

Rob Watt is praised for his responsiveness, one client saying: "You send him an email and two minutes later it's done, his responsiveness is fantastic." He has a broad finance practice and is active on project finance matters, representing financiers with regards to energy projects.