Lander & Rogers this week announced the appointment of new partner Tim McDonald, in response to increasing demand for legal expertise from Australia's growing construction and infrastructure sectors.
Based in Sydney, Mr McDonald will grow the national construction sector offering within the firm's well-established Real Estate & Projects practice, with plans to build a market-leading service that leverages his deep experience across the construction and infrastructure project life cycle. Mr McDonald also has a strong track record in implementing innovative technology solutions to drive efficient and sustainable outcomes for his clients.
Recognised for leading Australia's In-house Team of the Year in 2020 (Lendlease Building), and as former General Counsel of the construction and infrastructure segments of ASX-listed Lendlease, Mr McDonald understands the challenges and opportunities of in-house teams, and believes the size of legal teams has peaked.
"GCs are increasingly required to do more with the same or fewer resources, operating at the same level and speaking the same language as the broader business the legal function is designed to support. This is forcing increased sophistication and some tough choices around the management of work - whether that work is core to the underlying business' strategy, or lower risk but high-volume work that is just a part of a legal function in a complex organisation."
Mr McDonald believes law firms and legal functions more generally should include non-lawyers as equals and build practices with diverse skills to drive a growth mindset, not just an expert mindset. He sees joining Lander & Rogers as a platform to deliver legal services the way clients need them, by applying his own perspective leading in-house legal teams. "The firm's culture is genuinely collaborative, inclusive and customer orientated - all essential criteria for an innovation culture and fundamental for new law," said Mr McDonald.
"Lander & Rogers recognises the importance of innovation. It established Australia's first LawTech Hub and iHub - that's evidence of the firm's genuine external focus, ability to partner with a diverse range of stakeholders and willingness to engage in adaptive problem solving."
Mr McDonald joins the firm at a time when the infrastructure sector is looked to as a driver of Australia's economic recovery.
According to Real Estate & Projects practice lead John Wells, capacity constraints in the market and onerous risk profiles, particularly in the infrastructure sector, are likely to drive an increase in disputes. "We are seeing project risks pushed onto private sector businesses who are looking at ways to mitigate exposure through proactive risk management and project support from tender phase through to project delivery and beyond. The increased demand is flowing through to in-house legal teams, who are already capacity constrained."
Mr Wells says, a growing number of the firm's clients have a development focus and are seeking a one-stop solution for real estate and construction expertise. "Tim enables us to increase our focus and breadth of expertise in this space and we're excited to have him join the team," confirmed Mr Wells.
News of Mr McDonald's appointment follows announcement of Lander & Rogers' annual promotions, including new partner Lloyd Havlik in the Real Estate & Projects practice.