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Michael Gonski is a partner in Herbert Smith Freehills’ Employment team.

Michael prides himself on being an innovative and entrepreneurial lawyer, focusing on what a client needs on an overall basis, and not just as an employment lawyer. Given his previous background as an M&A lawyer, he has a niche in advising companies on issues relating to senior executives, which traverse employment laws as well as ASX Listing Rules and the Corporations Act. Michael also sits on a number of boards and uses this experience when advising clients.

Michael is listed as a leading lawyer in Doyle’s guide as well as being listed in Australia’s Best Lawyers.

Michael’s social conscience is also key to his practice as an employment lawyer and he develops this through his chairmanship with the not-for-profit creative writing centre, the Sydney Story Factory, as well as being a director of Australia’s peak body for philanthropy, Philanthropy Australia.

Michael sits on the Herbert Smith Freehills global innovation committee and is a client relationship partner for one of the firm’s global top 20 clients.

In terms of day to day work, Michael regularly provides advice relating to:

  • executive employment arrangements, including issues arising under the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the ASX Listing Rules
  • drafting announcements to the ASX
  • employee incentive schemes
  • the enforceability of post-termination restraint provisions
  • proceedings in the Supreme Court of New South Wales and the Federal Court of Australia, and
  • transfers of employment and other employment issues relating to mergers and acquisitions

Experience & expertise

Selected matters

  • Aston Resources in defending one of the largest claims ever made by an executive ($187million)
  • the Commonwealth Government on employment issues relating to the $5.8 billion initial public offering of its equity in Medibank Private, Australia’s largest IPO in 2014
  • CIMIC (previously Leighton Holdings) in defending a claim in the Supreme Court of New South Wales by one of its previous executives
  • Metcash in obtaining an injunction to prevent the CEO of its IGA business from commencing with a competitor
  • a Big 4 bank in relation to multi-jurisdictional advice regarding privacy law obligations