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Geoff McClellan



Geoff is widely recognised as one of Australia’s leading commercial litigators. 



Geoff has extensive experience working on complex commercial disputes across a range of legal areas including securities, taxation, insolvency, corporations, trade practices, contracts, professional negligence, media and industrial laws.

He regularly assists some of Australia’s largest corporations in dealing with the public relations aspects of disputes, claims or other allegations, and works in conjunction with public relations consultants to provide strategic advice in dealing with such issues.

Recognised in Chambers Global Guide 2006 as ‘a real key player – level-headed and respected’, Geoff is consistently recognised as a leading litigation lawyer in all peer review awards.

Geoff's experience includes,

  • Patrick Ports and Stevedoring, as the senior litigation partner in the Federal Court conspiracy proceedings brought by the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) against Patrick and the Australian Government. He also ran the various civil disobedience injunction and contempt proceedings in relation to the picket lines in New South Wales
  • a group of 20 major Australian and international banks in the trial relating to the collapse of the Bell Group of companies, dealing with issues including insolvency, directors’ duties, equitable fraud and accessorial liability 
  • Lendlease in the coronial inquest in relation to the Thredbo landslide, also appearing as counsel in the inquest
  • Fairfax in the landmark Federal Court case concerning the sale of the major print publisher Fairfax to the consortium led by Conrad Black and The Daily Telegraph
  • County Natwest (now part of Citigroup) in the Ampolex proceedings a major trial that included allegations of insider trading
  • acted for Citigroup in relation to proceedings brought against it by the Australian Securities regulator ASIC


Geoff holds Bachelor’s degrees in Law and Economics from Sydney University. He joined the firm in 1980 then spent two years at Linklaters and Paines in London, before becoming a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills in 1988. 

Geoff has been recognised for many years by various legal publications as a leading commercial litigation lawyer in Australia, where he has litigated in state and federal courts in New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Queensland, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. Geoff has also litigated in the United Kingdom, the United States, Europe and the Middle East. 

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