Mr Pike said long-term projects such as ESG and workforce transition would provide steady work flows and offset any slowing in other areas.

“Some of the greatest challenges our clients face are now technology-driven, and we are experiencing a strong uptick in demand for lawyers with digital expertise.”

Richard Spurio of Allens said the firm remains “focused on the areas that are top of mind for our clients such as tech, data and cyber, ESG and energy transition”.

“We’re seeing work in these areas flowing through to a number of practices, including disputes and investigations, M&A, projects and banking and finance,” he said.

Kate Marshall of KPMG was nominated “business reorganization work and deal activity, as well as increased cyber-related work”.

Amber Matthews of DLP Piper tips insolvency and employment law as growth areas. Louise Kennerley

Amber Matthews of DLA Piper said the end of the federal government’s pandemic-era insolvency protection “may lead to an uptick in restructurings in particular”.

“As companies grapple with ESG we expect this to also provide opportunities, especially around climate change and governance,” she said. “As far as sectors are concerned, we expect energy and natural resources, as well as technology, to remain strong for our firm.

“The change in government will likely also result in a range of changes across the industrial relations sector, which is likely to keep our employment team busy.”

Bruce Cooper of Clayton Utz was on the same page: “In the immediate aftermath of the election, IR reform will translate into demand for workplace relations and related advice.”

‘Opportunity’

With the federal election out of the way and Labor forming a majority government, Mr Cooper said business had more certainty.

“The question for us, if we take the lead from the rest of the inflation-pressed world, is how much uncertainty that will create and its attendant deal-flow impact,” he said.

“So, in my view, although there are a few horizon smudges that might speak to distress opportunities, it’s a little early to speak of bright-line growth prospects in that area.”

Warren Kalinko, of Keypoint Law, pointed to taxation law.

Keypoint Law CEO Warren Kalinko.

“With a new federal government and the likelihood of a firmer focus on taxpayers by the ATO, we anticipate significant movement in the areas of insolvency and restructuring,” he said.

“The accumulation of liquidation applications over the last two years, combined with 1/ the enormous growth of the country’s undisputed tax debt (from $19.2 billion to $34.1 billion in five years); 2/ increasing interest rates and, 3/ overall inflated cost of living, supports our assessment of insolvency as a potential key growth area in the next financial year.”

Brett Hearnden of Hunt & Hunt also predicted the climate had shifted for insolvency work.

“We are expecting that now the extended lockdowns are over, and the federal election campaign has concluded, the ATO will be more active in their recovery efforts and significant financial distress within the private sector will see a rise in insolvencies and restructurings,” he said .

“We also expect pressures on businesses to see a rise in general commercial litigation.”

Paul Baker of Meridian Lawyers predicted an influx of new types of insurance claims arising from the pandemic.

“These include telemedicine claims of misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis. We are also seeing an increase in regulatory actions against health practitioners and anticipate these will continue,” he said.

David Newman of Maddocks said the firm was “seeing growth of more than 20 per cent in some practices, with all practices up at least 10 per cent”.

David Newman of Maddocks. Darrian Traynor

He said the outlook for the firm’s traditional strongholds of government, technology and property development was “extremely strong”.

“However, pleasingly, this year has seen our litigation and investigations team catapult to record high revenues, from a big demand in work including acting on major class actions, regulatory enforcement and inquiry work,” he said.

Gavin MacLaren of Corrs Chambers Westgarth said that in “an uncertain market backdrop” he still expected the firm’s corporate, banking and competition practices to thrive.

“Despite rising interest rates, M&A activity will remain significant given the amount of ‘dry powder’ in the market. We see ‘take-privates’ continuing to be a focus for private equity,” he said.

Nick Nichola, of K&L Gates, said the firm expected the period emerging from COVID-19 would be “an entrepreneurial one”.

“So, an increase in capital markets and financial services work is expected. We also expect to see a lot of work in the M&A space across a range of sectors as confidence and long-term planning returns to the economy,” he said.

“We also anticipate growth in the demand for advice on responsible business and ESG matters, including with respect to the energy transition, climate change litigation and shareholder activism.”

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