05 Jan 2012
Learn more about Damien Gardiner
Damien has extensive experience advising on all aspects of environmental, planning and native title work.
Damien Gardiner talks about what makes his area of law so exciting
Damien Gardiner, Partner, Environment and Planning / Native Title
What is your practice area and why did you choose this area of specialisation?
I'm in the Environment, Planning and Native Title team at Clayton Utz and I was attracted to that area because there is a real focus on the tangible activities of our clients which enables us to come up with practical and creative solutions to their problems which I find fantastic. It's a real opportunity to be creative and to be able to relate to the work that you are undertaking and to see the end result.
What are some of the current trends you are seeing in your area?
There is a much greater focus now on climate change and renewable energy, so there is a lot of projects in that space that we are starting to see emerge now.
There is also now a much greater consciousness amongst corporates of the need to be conscious of their environmental impact and their environmental footprint, and they are responding to that accordingly.
The other key trend is that we are seeing a lot more public interest litigation now surrounding environmental issues, and so there is a much greater need now to be conscious of the potential environmental impacts of the projects and to deal with them accordingly.
What have you enjoyed most about your career at Clayton Utz so far?
The people - fantastic people here to work with. There's very much an open door policy at Clayton Utz. There is no one whom you can't approach to ask a question or to have a chat about an issue. A great group of people and a great variety of work. There is a real balance here between public and private sector work which I find fantastic because it means it means you're approaching a lot of problems from different perspectives but all driven towards the same outcome.
As a new partner, what are you looking forward to most?
Mentoring the team - helping younger lawyers to develop and continuing to push towards the development of a national environment and planning practice. It is an area that does raise issues that transcend jurisdictional boundaries and there is a lot of opportunity there to really grow this as a national area even further than it already has been so far.
If you weren't a Partner at Clayton Utz, what would you be?
Well I left school wanting to be a politician but then soon realised the error of my ways and can't now imagine going down that path at all so I guess if I wasn't here I probably would have been either in politics or probably on the farm harking back to my country roots.
What are some of the things you enjoy doing in your spare time?
I love tennis. I am much better watching tennis than I am playing it. I really do enjoy following all sorts of sport. I am a big fan of the Geelong Cats and I also love spending time with the family and travel.