HopgoodGanim partner named one of Australia’s Best Lawyers

7 March 2011

HopgoodGanim partner David Nicholls has been named one of the country's top planning and environment lawyers in the 2011 edition of The Best Lawyers in Australia.

Mr Nicholls leads HopgoodGanim's team of specialist planning, development and environmental lawyers. In addition to managing planning litigation, he advises clients in the planning phase of their development projects.

Mr Nicholls has practiced exclusively in planning and environment law since the mid 1990s. His career highlights include advising Pacific Gas and Electricity on the acquisition of the State's gas pipeline, and advising BP on the Food Plus petrol station appeals in the 1980s, at a time when selling groceries at petrol stations was regulated under planning legislation.

More recently, he has advised NextGen Networks and Visionstream on environmental, vegetation and cultural heritage issues in relation the National Broadband Network Black Spots fibre optic cable roll-out in Queensland.

Mr Nicholls says his philosophy in advising clients is to consider the issues of direct concern to the client, and to pre-empt any problems that would be likely to arise throughout the life of the project.

"Planning and environment law is rewarding because you have the opportunity to assist clients throughout the full life-cycle of a project, from concept to completion," he says.

"By being involved in development projects at an early stage, it's much easier to anticipate the issues that could arise further down the track, and address them in the design strategy. Where litigation is unavoidable, I try to resolve it without a Court hearing through the Courts' alternative dispute resolution process to the fullest extent possible."

Mr Nicholls is a past President of the Queensland Environmental Law Association and a regular industry commentator through his involvement with the Urban Development Institute of Australia.

According to HopgoodGanim's Managing Partner, Bruce Humphrys, Mr Nicholls' involvement with stakeholder organisations and industry bodies enriches the advice he offers clients and has been vital to his success.

"David has also written many research papers and drafted numerous submissions to government in relation to legislative reforms. This has underpinned the specialised knowledge he offers to those he works with, and couples with his result-oriented approach to deliver significant benefits to clients."

Best Lawyers, published in the United States, compiles lists of outstanding lawyers by conducting peer-review surveys in which thousands of lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers.

Esther Cohen, Senior Communications Advisor
Tel: 07 3024 0192