Media Release: Clayton Utz announces new partner promotions effective 1 January 2020

06 Dec 2019

Friday 6 December 2019: Clayton Utz is pleased to announce the appointment of eight new partners, effective 1 January 2020.

Congratulating them on their appointments, Clayton Utz Chief Executive Partner Rob Cutler said: "It's an honour to welcome Owen, Ben, Alison, Chris, Keshni, Eva, Walid and Joel to the partnership.


"They are all highly talented professionals, respected by clients and colleagues in their areas of specialisation  and for their industry experience, commerciality, and practical, confident approach to the work they do. 


"We're proud to see them promoted."

Owen Bourke 
Owen Bourke, Forensic and Technology Services, Sydney

Owen joined the firm's then newly launched Forensic & Technology Services (FTS) practice as a Director in 2017. As a specialist in complex forensic and regulatory investigations work, Owen's experience is in high demand from clients who need smart, responsive solutions when dealing with masses of information. Having worked with both government and the private sector, Owen understands how to effectively harness, manage, interrogate and make sense of large volumes of data from multiple sources. His skills are particularly valuable in the context of regulatory inquiries, litigation, investigations and remediation.

Ben Cansdale 
Ben Cansdale, Corporate, Brisbane

As a core member of the national Energy and Resources team, Ben has extensive experience in M&A transactions, regulatory approvals, joint ventures, commodity sales, processing and transportation arrangements, infrastructure and project development relating to oil and gas, coal, minerals and water. Ben has played an integral role in some of the most significant M&A and infrastructure transactions in recent years in the energy and resources industry, as well as project development for a number of the largest oil, gas and coal assets in Australia. Ben has been recognised as a "Recommended Individual" for Energy and Resources Law in Doyle's Guide and was a finalist as "Special Counsel of the Year" in the Lawyers Weekly Australian Law Awards, 2019.

Alison Close 
Alison Close, Major Projects and Construction, Melbourne

Alison specialises in the management of technically complex construction disputes through conventional and bespoke dispute resolution techniques. Her major projects experience spans a range of industry sectors including transport, oil and gas, aviation and utilities. Alison is known for technical excellence and the rapport she builds with technical and commercial disciplines. Leveraging from her experience in litigation and arbitration, Alison is sought after by clients for her experience in strategic management, and resolution of disputes.

Chris Davis 

Chris Davis, Public Sector, Canberra

Chris has advised on some of Australia's largest and most complex projects and procurements for the Commonwealth Government. His work covers all aspects of acquisition and support including contract development, tendering, contract management and disputes.  He takes a very commercial approach with a deep and practical understanding of key issues such as pricing, performance, risk, intellectual property and liability, as well as Commonwealth procurement policy.

Keshni Maharaj 

Keshni Maharaj, Tax, Sydney

A stamp duty specialist, Keshni has over 15 years’ experience advising clients across industries including mining and resources, energy, finance, property and construction on the application of the stamp duty regimes across all eight states and territories. Keshni has built a reputation with clients for having excellent technical skills, the ability to understand their business needs, and for providing commercially pragmatic advice. A key adviser to several top ASX listed entities, Keshni has played a lead role on some of the largest and most complex transactions in Australia. Her experience includes structuring and advising on M&A transactions, key infrastructure projects, the establishment and syndication of property trusts, private equity acquisitions, listed and unlisted trusts, corporate reorganisation, business and asset acquisitions, private public partnerships, project finance, infrastructure development, IPOs, insurance duty and securitisation. As well as providing stamp duty advice, Keshni also assists clients in resolving disputes with State and Territory Revenue Authorities.

Image of Eva Oraham 

Eva Oraham, Real Estate, Sydney

Eva's commercial acumen, calm demeanour and ability to think laterally have made her a sought-after transactional lawyer and led to her advising on some of Australia's largest real estate deals, ranging from the acquisition and disposal of office, industrial, retail and other commercial properties, through to project development and structuring. Eva has advised on complex title matters in connection with major infrastructure projects and has acted in some of the largest private forestry deals in Australia. Eva has been advising institutional investors, asset and fund managers, listed and unlisted entities and government agencies for nearly 15 years.


Walid Sukari, IP & Technology, Sydney

Walid's strong reputation in complex information technology, media, and telecommunications is based on his skilful structuring of bespoke and difficult contract documentation, pre-empting and navigating critical issues and providing reasonable, commercially-focused advice to mitigate key risks. His work includes advising on a variety of contracts relating to large tenders and procurements, complex outsourcing arrangements, media-rights sales, software and intellectual property licensing, telecommunications, infrastructure and technology-focused corporate work.

Image of Joel Von Thien 

Joel von Thien, Competition, Sydney

Joel's primary focus is on complex commercial contracting, projects, corporate advisory and transactions principally in the telecommunications, technology, logistics, and infrastructure sectors.  For over 15 years Joel has acted for government organisations, large industry players and fund managers and is a key adviser to a number of the firm's most significant clients. His work includes complex supply contracting, access agreements, joint ventures and licensing and distribution arrangements.  He is highly valued by clients for his detailed technical knowledge, problem-solving skills and commercial approach.   

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Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular transactions or on matters of interest arising from this communication. Persons listed may not be admitted in all States and Territories.