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Michael O'Donnell

Michael O'Donnell

Partner - Adelaide

+61 8 8236 1396
Michael has more than 20 years' experience in the legal profession. He also has an accounting degree, and has a highly developed understanding of the legal and commercial issues that clients must overcome to successfully recover money owed, or assets belonging to them.

Michael specialises in three main areas:

  • Recovery of money and assets out of commercial trade or finance transactions, both in Australia and internationally. Typically this involves simple debt recovery or security enforcement, but in many cases it involves responding to fraudulent transactions and chasing misappropriated funds, sometimes internationally. 
  • Corporate and personal insolvency/bankruptcy law, where Michael regularly defends and prosecutes the claims of liquidators and trustees in bankruptcy, including claw-back type claims and actions against directors or advisers. Part of his role is advisory, for example as to how Australian insolvency laws correlate with foreign counterparts. This includes transactional structuring, strategic risk management, and distressed restructuring.  Michael's work has involved working closely with lawyers and insolvency professionals in the US, Europe, and Asia. 
  • Commercial property and lease disputes, most often for owners seeking to recover or protect their return out of commercially leased property.  However disputes often include responsibility for damage, contamination, or other issues.
Michael is a tenacious litigator when required, and has conducted numerous court actions as counsel at all levels, including the High Court. However, Michael prefers to assist companies and financiers generate favourable business outcomes whilst keeping technical legal issues and protracted court disputes to a minimum. 

Michael completed the Insolvency Practitioners Association of Australia Advanced Insolvency Course in 1992 and was one of the first lawyers in Australia to be admitted to full membership of the Association.

Recent experience includes:


  • Advising US based global investment manager in relation to a major distressed debt investment and exit strategies in Australia.
  • Advising US, European, and Asian corporate entities or insolvency administrators in relation to tracing and recovering assets in Australia.
  • Advising Australian based entities in relation to tracing and recovering assets taken overseas fraudulently and via more sophisticated commercial devices such as transfer pricing.
  • Advising a European based multinational in relation to a public sector (large infrastructure) procurement and unfair tender process in Australia.
  • Advising Australian property owners or tenants on advancement or defence of various claims under leases, guarantees, and other contracts including substantial claims for make good/property damage. 

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