Meet Our People

jeffrey changJeffrey Chang

I joined Thomson Geer as a Senior Associate in 2011 and was impressed by the collegiate nature of the firm.  My colleagues have always provided the support I need to be the best I can be, both inside and outside the firm.

When I decided to take three months’ parental leave after the birth of my son, the firm was supportive and flexible.  This support and flexibility was demonstrated again two years later when I decided to change to part-time working, 4 days a week.  Working part-time hasn’t affected the outcomes I am able to achieve for Thomson Geer or our clients, and it enables me to be there for my kids when required.

Where the need arises, I have remote access from home to my work desktop, and I receive emails in real time on my phone, allowing me to liaise with my team and address any issues straight away.

From a professional perspective, the partners of Thomson Geer have always supported me in building a practice and have been willing to offer advice and the benefit of their experiences.  This enabled me to become a partner in July 2015 – the fact I was working part-time never came up as an issue in the promotion process.

As a partner, our structure as a single firm over multiple states means that I am supported by colleagues nationally and can draw on resources in other states seamlessly.  This is very important for many of my clients who require tax advice across different states.  Our structure and collegiate culture means that we can work together, focussed on achieving the best results for our clients, without the internal politics.

Shannon SchwarzShannon Schwarz

After you graduate from law school, one of the first realities you are faced with is that your academic knowledge is useless unless you pair it with the skills and experience of everyday legal practice.

I had slightly less than 12 months experience as a lawyer before I joined Thomson Geer’s Adelaide disputes team in January 2010, but I was immediately offered a secondment to the South Australian Crown Solicitors Office to assist with a large dispute involving a government entity.  This dispute took years to resolve and was formative for me in how large disputes are managed and worked on by a team.

This secondment ended in 2012, but shortly after I was offered another secondment to Brisbane, with the Thomson Geer construction team, assisting with a heavy workload of construction disputes.  Whilst in Brisbane I was given responsibility for various matters, including another large dispute with respect to the construction of a Queensland coal terminal which started in December 2012.

When this secondment officially ended in 2013, I returned to practice in Adelaide with specialist knowledge and skills in relation to the construction industry which was immediately applicable and of use to clients in South Australia.  I have also been working on matters in Victoria and Queensland for various periods to assist where necessary, including a site visit to an oil and gas plant in rural Queensland in 2014 and a 10 week trial in the Brisbane Supreme Court in 2016.

The only way you gain legal practice skills is through legal practice.  The firm has always supported me in developing my skillset which is of use to clients and a marketable tool for me and Thomson Geer.

venkatesh ananthakrishnanVenkatesh Ananthakrishnan

My journey with the firm started in the Adelaide office of Thomson Geer in November 2012 when I was accepted into the summer clerkship program. From the outset, the firm did their best to accommodate the interest I expressed in the ‘front-end’ of the law: not only was I placed in the Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions team for my clerkship, but I was also given the opportunity to complete my graduate year in the wider corporate/commercial team (completing a rotation in Intellectual Property and a longer stint in the Corporate M&A team).  I was happy to be permanently placed in the Corporate M&A team as a Lawyer at the end of my graduate year.

It quickly became apparent that Thomson Geer is truly a national firm that encourages the flow of work between offices and encourages employees to grasp opportunities elsewhere within the firm.

Shortly after being placed in the Adelaide Corporate M&A team, I was given the opportunity to assist some Sydney-based Corporate partners with their matters. This enabled me to gain exposure to the Sydney transactions market and, in particular, to the Public M&A/Equity Capital Markets space (which, as an Adelaide-based lawyer, is an opportunity I may not otherwise have received so early in my career).

Through my involvement with the Sydney Corporate M&A team, an opportunity arose to work permanently with a Sydney-based partner who has a Public M&A/Equity Capital Markets practice. I loved the role description and was keen to accept the position, but I had reservations about relocating to Sydney and giving up the position I had in Adelaide. However, the firm supported me and assured me that the role would present new opportunities, both personally and professionally, and that the relocation would be a smooth process.

Suffice to say, the firm was right! The relocation was smoother than I could have expected and the homogenous culture across the firm meant that I seamlessly integrated into the Sydney team. Shortly after the move, I was encouraged to take on more responsibility and found myself advising on complex public company work and even managing my first ASX listing! Not only was all of this new and exciting (and challenging!), it forced me to grasp technical skills quickly, deal with clients directly and operate more effectively. This enabled me to develop expertise and consolidate experience in a nuanced area of corporate law at a faster rate than might otherwise have been possible. Fortunately, the firm also recognises and rewards hard work, professional development and is prepared to back their staff, and I was fortunate enough to be promoted to Senior Associate in 2016.

I believe that new and challenging experiences and career progression opportunities are instrumental in achieving a fulfilling career. Sometimes those opportunities require you to look beyond borders, so it is great to know that I am working in an environment that not only offers those opportunities, but encourages you to grab them with both hands.