Smaller Firms Hold Their Own In Dispute Resolution

Lawyers Weekly, Tuesday 8 September 2015.
Stefanie Garber.

Major firms dominated the list of finalists in the Australian Law Awards dispute resolution category, but two of the finalists have fewer than 70 lawyers.

Eight finalists were announced for the Dispute Resolution Team of the Year award, which will be presented on 17 September at a ceremony at the Westin in Sydney.

William Roberts Lawyers has less than 40 lawyers but has punched above its weight in dispute settlements.

The firm has acted in a number of high-profile matters recently, including a class action against an insurer on behalf of the insured and an appeal stemming from Superannuation Complaints Tribunal decision.

In addition, lawyers from William Roberts represented a high-ranking New South Wales public servant at the Parliamentary Inquiry into Operation Prospect, resulting in a public apology to their client.

The firm's main focus is dispute resolution, and the team has handled more than 950 disputed matters in the past year alone.

McCabes, which has around 60 lawyers spread across offices in Sydney and Newcastle, has also performed well in this field.

The team took part in the landmark Felicity Cassegrain v Gerard Cassegrain & Co decision in the High Court, which clarified the legal nature of joint tenancy and the scope of the 'fraud' exception to indefeasibility of title.

The firm also acted for multiple clients in proceedings against the Bank of Queensland, alleging deceptive and misleading conduct.

The other finalists with strong dispute resolution credentials were Herbert Smith Freehills, King & Wood Mallesons, Gilbert + Tobin, Maurice Blackburn, Ashurst and Gadens.