What skills and experiences would you identify as adding a different dimension to your approach as a lawyer?
After originally working as a property lawyer at ABL, the lure of an expat lifestyle led me to the Middle East, where I spent a few years working on infrastructure and project finance deals. Working in a completely different cultural environment with clients and colleagues from all around the world taught me a lot about being adaptable and considering problems from different perspectives. My current practice, focusing mainly on property finance, allows me to draw on that diversity of experience and provide creative solutions to clients where needed.
What sort of lawyer do you want to be for your clients?
My goal is always to build ongoing client relationships based on mutual trust and a solid understanding of my clients’ business affairs. Working closely with longstanding clients to help them achieve success is the most rewarding part of my work.
While it is essential for a lawyer to protect their client’s legal interests, it is just as important to provide clear and practical advice that is appropriate for the commercial situation. Keeping this in mind, I always want to understand the key commercial drivers underpinning a transaction. By doing this, I can take into account the client’s broader commercial objectives, which ultimately leads to the best results for clients.
“My goal is always to build ongoing client relationships based on mutual trust and a solid understanding of my clients’ business affairs”.
What would you say are some of the key market trends or developments you are seeing in your practice this year?
During 2017, there was a noticeable tightening of real estate lending by the traditional banks. This provided increased opportunities for existing non-bank lenders and new market participants to fund viable property investments and developments. This shift in the market has also attracted significant interest from local and offshore investors. With the banks likely to be subject to sustained regulatory oversight in 2018, I expect that the non-bank lending sector will continue to grow in size and importance.
The past year has also seen the introduction of a series of regulatory changes affecting the property industry, including in connection with foreign investment and planning regulations. Over the coming 12 months, our clients will be carefully monitoring the impact that these changes have on housing supply and affordability, as well as on the availability of finance.
What advice would you give to new lawyers?
It is vital to find an area of law that you are genuinely interested in - working on a broad range of matters is an excellent way to discover this. I would also recommend finding a mentor that you trust and respect, so that you can seek advice and guidance when needed.
While keeping a close eye on attention to detail is critical as a junior lawyer, it’s also important to understand the broader context of the work you are doing. Don’t be afraid to ask questions if you want to understand how what you are doing fits into the bigger picture.
How would you describe the professional environment at ABL?
ABL is a collegiate and supportive environment. It is inspiring to be surrounded by lawyers that are technically excellent, commercially focussed and passionate about the law, and to work with entrepreneurial clients that are leaders in their respective fields.
Find out more about Damien here.