Robert Ishak

Robert Ishak is co-founder and chairman of William Roberts Lawyers. He has a bachelor of Commerce (Accounting) with Merit and Master of Laws with Distinction. He is a Notary Public, a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a Governor of AmCham and the Diversity & Inclusion Committee.

Robert is an experienced commercial adviser and litigator. He regularly acts for and advises on:

  • regulatory matters;
  • general insurance with expertise in the law of fraud and indemnity;
  • life insurance;
  • class actions;
  • trade practices;
  • corporations law;
  • contract law; and
  • cyber and privacy law..

Robert adds a different perspective to most lawyers given that he is a litigator which enables him to identify potential issues and ensure that clients avoid legal pitfalls. Highly regarded for his ethical approach and personal integrity, Robert has the gravitas and commercial understanding to question the prevailing wisdom, withstand group pressure and remain objective.

In 2003, Robert was a driving force in the profession by introducing:

  • fixed-fee event based billing, giving clients cost certainty; and
  • complete transparency by giving clients on-line access to their legal files.

Robert was the original author of the chapter Drafting Pleadings in The Practitioner’s Guide to Civil Litigation first edition and chapter editor in the second and third editions. Robert also reviewed and edited Pro Bono Practices: A guide to the pro bono practices of NSW’s largest law firms published by New South Wales Young Lawyers and the National Pro Bono Resource Centre.

A selection of Robert’s experience includes:

  • Acted for Nick Kaldas, the former Deputy Commissioner of Police in the Supreme Court of NSW in relation to a highly controversial report, including its findings, issued publicly by the (then) Acting Ombudsman. An Application for Special Leave to Appeal to the High Court of Australia was made, on the basis that the finding of the NSW Court of Appeal was invalid on the grounds of the doctrine in Kirk v Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales [2010] HCA 1. The matter was listed for hearing before the Full Court of the High Court of Australia. The matter resolved prior to the hearing of special leave.
  • Acted for Natalie O’Brien, an investigative reporter for Fairfax Media in relation to the unauthorised access of her information (call and text records) by Vodafone. This high profile matter has reached the attention of the United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of expression, David Kaye, who criticised Vodafone’s handling of the privacy breach and said the unauthorised access showed “no respect” for source protection and that the incident reflected ongoing concerns in Australia about privacy and protecting journalists’ sources.
  • Acted for a high end hotel chain in Western Australia. This involved providing advice in relation to a ransomware incident.

Passionate about giving back to the community and supporting those in need, Robert sits on the Sydney Starball Committee in aid of the Starlight Children’s Foundation and has participated in the Vinnies CEO Sleepout where Australian leaders in business experience homeless life for one night in winter to raise awareness and funds for Vinnies to support people experiencing homelessness as part of a larger Escape from poverty campaign.