This is Allens

Rod Aldus

Rod is a partner in our Banking & Finance team in Perth. He specialises in project and corporate finance as well as derivatives and other structured products. 

My competitive nature led me to study law. My year 10 science teacher once told me he didn't think I could get the marks to get into law. Perhaps he was just using reverse psychology to motivate me. In any case, it worked and it has turned out pretty well for me.

Banking and finance law wasn't something I was overly familiar with when I started practising. My first introduction was a few years at Lehman Brothers in London, when I was helping to unwind derivatives and prime brokerage arrangements. When I moved back to Perth, I knew that I wanted to continue working in the derivatives area and on mining and corporate finance. Allens was the perfect fit. Over the best part of the last decade, I have built my practice around these two workstreams.

Borrowing involves an ongoing relationship between the borrower and the lenders (and their counsels) which doesn't stop when the deal closes. I have worked with some clients for almost ten years and have seen them grow and evolve. I have loved being a part of that journey. Borrowers and lenders want to do the deal, so everyone is pushing towards the same goal. There's a real camaraderie across the deal team. Being able to work in a team, to workshop ideas, problem solve and bounce thoughts around keeps me engaged and gets me excited to come to work every day.

Financing is a critical step in any transaction or the lifecycle of an entity, helping to shape its future. Clients rely on us for a degree of calmness and our market experience. Each financing requires a large number of things to happen, many of which are driven by the lawyers – so clients need lawyers who are a safe pair of hands to get things done and support them in those moments.

I didn't go into private practice thinking I would become a partner. For me, the driver behind pursuing partnership was that as I progressed I found I enjoyed the aspects of the job that came with partnership as much as the nuts-and-bolts legal work itself. I value contributing to the development of our team, building relationships across the firm and with clients, developing the practice and the business ownership aspects.

A year in my career

The events that most shaped my career occurred when I was still at university. They were the GFC and failure of Lehman Brothers. When my wife and I decided to move to London in 2012, I wasn't sure where I wanted my legal career to go. I hadn't found a practice area I loved or a firm that felt right, so I was pretty open to trying anything. As luck would have it, I ended up working at Lehman Brothers in London during the administration, which ultimately shaped my career.

People often ask what I actually did there, seeing as though it was already insolvent. That is a difficult question to answer because while parts of the job were repetitive – like checking whether an ISDA was properly terminated – most of the job involved answering unique and likely never-to-be-repeated questions. It was this experience that ignited my interest in derivatives and finance.

Although I never worked at Linklaters, I did work very closely with them. It was a great experience. I got to see how they approached bespoke challenges and I loved the camaraderie and the collegial approach they took. This in turn influenced my decision of where to work when I returned home. I hadn't had much exposure to Allens before going overseas, so I went into interviews with an open mind. I was immediately impressed to see all of the things that I liked about working with Linklaters replicated at Allens. This has been proven right again and again in the nine years that I have been at the firm.

While I was originally going to London for a gap year (or two) with no thought as to how this would progress my career, I now look back at that time as being the start of my career and responsible for finding both the practice area and the firm that I love.