Karen O'Flynn is recognised domestically and internationally as a leading restructuring and insolvency practitioner and commercial litigator.
Karen was appointed Chair of the Clayton Utz Board in February 2020.
Praised by clients for being "wonderful to work with", has "an easy but authoritative manner" and "a knack for getting what she and her clients want" (Legal 500 AsiaPacific 2018), Karen is held in high regard for her superior legal skills and putting "complicated matters in a clear and straightforward way" (Chambers Asia-Pacific 2019).
Karen is a member of Chief Executive Women (2021), a network of female leaders in business who actively support gender equality.
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- Chambers Asia-Pacific: Ranked in Restructuring and Insolvency (2013-2023)
- An interviewee describes her as "an excellent technical lawyer with a very strong understanding of a client's commercial needs."(2022)
- "She is very good at getting to the nub of a point. She will take a position and very rarely deviate from it. She is very friendly, very amiable and has a great personality which comes through in how she interacts with peers and clients." (2019)
- The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific: Continues to rank Karen as one of Australia's leading Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers (2019-2020, 2022) with client describing her as "level-headed, insightful and a pleasure to work alongside".
- IFLR1000: Continues to rank Karen as one of Australia's leading Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers (2011-2022)
- Best Lawyers Australia: ranks Karen as one of Australia's leading lawyers in
- Insolvency and Reorganisation (2015-2023)
- Litigation (2015-2023)
- Asialaw: listed as a leading lawyer in Dispute Resolution & Litigation, Restructuring & Insolvency (2018)
- Doyles Guide:
- Names Karen as one of Australia's leading Restructuring & Insolvency Lawyers (2018 - 2019) and Recommended (2021, 2022)
- Names Karen as one of Australia's leading Commercial Litigation & Dispute Resolution Lawyers (2015 - 2017)
- Asia Women in Business Law Awards: Awarded Best in Restructuring and Insolvency, 2011 - 2012. Shortlisted for Best in Restructuring and Insolvency, Women in Business Law Asia Awards, 2020
- PLC Which Lawyer: ranks Karen as one of Australia's leading Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers
Bachelor of Arts, University of Sydney (1981)
Bachelor of Laws (Hons), University of Sydney (1983)
admitted to practice
New South Wales (1984)
High Court of Australia (1984)
England and Wales (1991)
- Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA)
- International Insolvency Institute
- International Bar Association (Insolvency Section)
- INSOL International
- Deputy Chair, Companies Auditors Disciplinary Board
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Restructuring and Insolvency
- BBY Ltd collapse: Advising Securities Exchanges Guarantee Corporation Limited (SEGC), the trustee of the National Guarantee Fund, which is available to pay the losses suffered by certain former clients of the collapsed BBY Ltd stockbroking business.
- Department of Education Skills and Employment: Karen is advising the Department in relation to a range of difficult and novel strategic issues arising out of the insolvencies of a number of vocational education providers.
- Network Ten Group: Karen was part of the core team assisting the Security Trustee in respect of a debt restructuring of the Network Ten Group which involved a voluntary administration of the group entities, a competitive sale process, and a debt refinancing.
- APRA appointed acting trustee: Karen advised the acting trustee of five superannuation funds, with $300 million under management, appointed by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority.
- Lehman Brothers: Karen advised the liquidators of the Australian Lehman Brothers companies which, prior to their collapse, formed part of the fourth largest financial institution in the world.
- HIH Insurance Group: Over seven years, Karen advised the liquidators of the HIH Insurance group in relation to complex and high-profile recovery actions against auditors, actuaries, directors and others. The HIH Insurance group collapsed in 2001 with a deficiency estimated between $5 billion and $7 billion.
See Restructuring and Insolvency
Litigation and Dispute Resolution
- Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry: Karen was one of the core group of Clayton Utz partners acting for Commonwealth Bank of Australia.
- Bell Group Litigation: Advised a significant creditor in relation to the highly contested distribution of $1.7 billion held by the liquidator of the Bell Group companies following his settlement with the Banks after more than 20 years of litigation.
- Major trading bank: Karen is acting for one of Australia's major trading banks in a number of regulatory enforcement and litigious matters.
See Litigation and Dispute Resolution
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