30 April 2014,

AS the property law sector welcomes a raft of legislative changes, many would see the development of a specialist real estate law department as a significant challenge.

But for Michael Byrom it’s an opportunity.

A founding partner of Holding Redlich, Byrom has an enviable resume.

He has practised as a property lawyer in Queensland for many years, developing expertise in sales and acquisitions, leasing, property development, planning and titling, and environment advice.

He also is well known for having led a number of high value Brisbane transactions involving retail centres and high end commercial offices.

His appointment at Bennett & Philp is a significant coup for the firm, determined to transform its bevy of lawyers who deal with property-related matters into one specialist team.

Byrom says he was attracted to the opportunity of developing a specialist team within a well-established, mature practise.

He says there are two aspects to his vision for the team.

“One is to continue the reputation and the existing service capabilities with property clients,” he says.

“The other is to expand the real estate transactions base of the practice in terms of service opportunities to the existing clients as well as attracting new clients.

“I want to be very focused on offering value for money and strong technical expertise and commercial nous as well.”

The property market is still cautious, but Byrom says there are signs of revival and it will be interesting to see how far reaching proposed legislative changes will be.

“This year lawyers will be looking very carefully at the legislative changes,” he says.

“There are plans to streamline and modernise all of the laws relating to property transactions.

"A lot is focused on consumer law issues with disclosure and off-the-plan contracts.

“The government has said that it wants to make more certain how transactions will occur and so that there’s a transparency. Those laws are aimed principally on consumer orientation.

“Some of those laws are for people buying their first home, but also for changes to selling land when the land isn’t actually titled and how property developers can subdivide their land.”

He says the dynamic nature of the industry means specialisation is increasingly becoming a necessity.

Byrom admits even accomplished lawyers cannot possibly be an expert across all aspects of law.

“It’s better to know everything about one thing, than a little about everything.”

As part of the establishment of the new real estate division, conveyancing paralegal Aaron Oates has also moved to Bennett & Philp.

As well as Byrom and Oates, the real estate team will include the firm’s current personnel Shane Jones (special counsel), David Chung (lawyer), Liz Nowlan (paralegal) and Catherine Kocsis (paralegal). 






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