Reflections and projections: Insights from our Linklaters alumni partners

Introducing Airlie - our own GPT

We were recently joined by Linklaters partners (and Allens alumni) Ross Schloeffel and Nicole Meyer. They spent a jam-packed week visiting clients and colleagues in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, and even managed to squeeze in an appearance with Richard Spurio at our firmwide coffee catch-up. We caught up with them to get their views on the alliance, global energy and infrastructure trends, and how they stay connected with alumni.

Linklaters partners Ross Schloeffel and Nicole Meyer

Reflecting on the alliance

Ross and Nicole both started their careers at Allens, and in their roles as Alliance relationship partners they've been pleased to see the continued deepening of the relationship between Allens and Linklaters.

They mentioned that one of the most valuable elements of the alliance is the clear cultural match.

Nicole said one of her favourite things about the alliance is the opportunity it provides for 'people exchanges' around the world. This has allowed individuals to build networks with clients and colleagues across both firms, enhancing mutual understanding and cooperation.

Client conversations

During their visit, Nicole and Ross met with a wide range of clients including Macquarie, CBUS, Australian Super, Brookfield and QIC to talk about global energy and infrastructure trends and insights, and potential local impacts of the energy transition.

Speaking on the local impact, Ross noted that ongoing supply-chain issues are affecting Australia's ability to meet its renewable energy targets at the required pace. However, he also pointed to opportunities presented by increased demand for minerals needed for batteries, such as lithium, an area where Australia’s mining sector could see significant growth with appropriate support from the government.

We also asked Ross and Nicole a few specific questions about their experiences as alumni while based overseas. 

Are there any particular skills or competencies you developed during your time in Australia that have been especially valuable or applicable in your current roles?

Nicole: I found the focus on commerciality from an early stage at Allens to be an incredibly valuable skill—not only in terms of how we approach advice to our clients, but also learning about how the firm operates as a business and being involved in all the various business development and matter management roles that provides context over and above just the legal advice you’re providing.

Ross: I have always found the emphasis on plain English drafting that Allens instils in its junior lawyers to have career-long value. Even to this day I think about Maryjane Crabtree’s plain English sessions when preparing tricky advice.

How do you remain connected with the Australian legal scene and other alumni, despite working overseas?

Nicole: I’ve made a habit of ensuring I’m back in Australia at least once a year (usually for Christmas), and so I always build in some time to catch up with my old Allens colleagues and mentors when I’m back. It’s always fantastic to catch up face to face, but LinkedIn is actually an invaluable resource to stay up to date more regularly.

Ross: I was lucky to have made lifelong friends during my time at Allens and I have always made sure to see them when visiting Australia. More recently, my role as relationship partner to a number of Australian investment funds has given me an opportunity to spend time working in the Allens offices a couple of times each year.

As alumni, what advice would you give to lawyers currently practicing in Australia who might be considering a similar international move?

Nicole: Do it! I think the opportunity to work overseas, and particularly through the Allens Linklaters alliance, is an incredible experience—both personally and professionally.

Ross: Moving to a different country is always a huge undertaking, but to be able to do it in a way that continues the advancement of your career within the alliance is an incredible opportunity. The strong cultural alignment between Linklaters and Allens means that a ‘business as usual’ approach will often work well for Allens lawyers when joining a Linklaters office.

Finally, given Europe often sees legal issues develop 6-12 months ahead of places like Australia, what trends/developments are you seeing that you anticipate might soon take hold here? Conversely, is there anything happening domestically in Australia that you see potentially impacting other jurisdictions in the near future?

Nicole: In Europe, we’re definitely seeing increased regulation around foreign investment, which is obviously familiar to Australians given FIRB has been around for some time. We’re also seeing a huge focus on ESG in terms of corporate governance, fundraising and M&A, which is continuing to create some great opportunities for us.

Ross: As the energy transition continues to gain momentum, we are seeing global competition for skills and resources unlike any seen in the past. This creates both opportunities and risks for Australia—another boom in natural resources (eg lithium) may be offset by increased challenges in decarbonising the electricity grid as renewable power becomes more difficult to develop.

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