Corrs Chambers Westgarth

Competition/Antitrust Department

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What the team is known for Independent practice offering comprehensive advice on merger, regulatory investigation and access issues for high-end clients, making it a popular choice for cross-border referrals. Wide-ranging sector expertise includes informed coverage of energy and resources, transportation and telecommunications issues and burgeoning strength in the digital property sector, and the team is also praised for complementing its core competition offering with an exceptional consumer law capability. Litigation experience and regular engagement by the ACCC is leveraged to advise on areas of competition enforcement coming under increased scrutiny from the regulator, and augmented by an increased capability to handle investigation-related mandates.

Strengths The team is rated highly for providing what one client calls "high-quality and commercial competition law advice, focused on delivering options and results" and another "constructive legal input that takes account of and is responsive to commercial objectives and realities." A third stresses that this capability exists at all levels of the practice: "Regardless of which team member we speak with, we always receive strategic advice that is as commercial as possible."

Interviewees speaking from both legal professional and business perspectives tend to agree on this practice's signature selling points. Where one source notes: "I have found the Corrs team to be great team players, decisive and responsive," another similarly remarks: "They know the industry, they are ready to make the call and they dovetail into the other parts of Corrs really well – the teamwork is fantastic." A third contributor reports: "I was always dealing with one person, but there's clearly a lot of work between teams behind the scenes; they're less siloed than some firms."

Work highlights Advised Wesfarmers on competition issues arising from the AUD350 million divestment of its 260-site Kmart Tyre and Auto Service business to Continental.

Notable practitioners

Practice head Mark McCowan operates across the competition spectrum, enjoying particular regard for his track record of experience handling the competition aspects of major mergers and acquisitions. Clients value him for coupling on-point recommendations with a warm and approachable manner. One notes: "He has taken the time to understand our products and business, is ready to come to the coal face and chat, and is very pragmatic in always giving advice that is appropriate to the matter." Another reports: "He can think about our business broadly and how what we are doing now can impact on the future and, even under pressure, he remains delightful."

Richard Flitcroft focuses closely on investigations and other regulatory mandates in both the competition and consumer spheres. One client describes him as an "exceptional individual," citing "his ability to network, assemble the resources and apply them," a talent which includes "building a team of similarly skilled individuals who like working with him." The source concludes: "I don't know anyone who knows the law in this space as well as Richard does."