The LawCareers.Net Handbook 2021

Dispute resolution

area,” she recalls. “Tomy surprise, I enjoyed it and it became clear that I had an aptitude for it.” Shemoved to specialist construction and engineering disputes boutique Fenwick Elliott and developed her practice over a successful seven-and-a-half years at the firm, before joiningWatson Farley &Williams in 2015: “I saw that there were obvious synergies betweenmy practice andWFW, which is very active in transactional and asset finance work around renewables. I had experience of the offshore wind industry, having worked on two arbitrations over technical defects, so it was a goodmatch for my expertise and skillset.” Specialising in renewables She made partner in 2017, achieved equity in 2019 and now co-heads the firm’s London dispute resolution practice. The team handles the full range of construction and engineering disputes, with a continued strong focus on the renewables sector. As well as the offshore and onshore wind industries, Rebecca has expanded her practice into the solar and biomass sectors. The work has a highly international flavour, with English law remaining a trusted standard for commercial contracts. “Projects, contractors and developers are contractors and developers are based all over the world,” she explains. “Last year I advised on another solar farm project in Australia and have recently worked on a dispute over the construction of a solar farm in Greece, as well as a dispute in Ghana between a South Korean contractor and a UAE developer, plus a dispute relating to a major construction project in Malawi.” Disputes are common in major infrastructure projects and this rings doubly true for the pioneering, risk-taking renewables industry. “These projects involve new and complex technology, some of which doesn’t have an established track record, and as the technology gallops ahead, the standards don’t always keep pace,” she explains. “Defects are therefore not uncommon. For example,

Commercial litigators represent and advise corporate and commercial clients when disputes arise from joint venture projects, civil fraud, commercial and banking transactions, corporate governance, financial services regulation and professional negligence. Disputes are usually decided by either litigation or arbitration. The 2013 Jackson Reforms significantly changed the UK court process, including the way litigation is managed in relation to directions and costs, leading to the rise of alternative forms of dispute resolution such as mediation. Career success can be achieved in different ways, but a truly meteoric rise requires the willingness to embrace new experiences, take calculated risks and recognise and seize opportunities when they present themselves. This mindset is evident throughout Rebecca Williams’ ascent to become co-head of Watson Farley & Williams’ dispute resolution department. Since she first moved abroad from her native Australia in an exchange programme to Indiana University in the United States as a student, she has always “enjoyed the opportunity to challenge myself and live in other countries and experience different cultures.” Eschewing starting out at a traditional law firm after being admitted as a solicitor in Australia in 1997, she joined an insurance start-up with two more experienced partners: “From day one I put myself on the front line and was on the phone to clients – quite a brave move at the time.” After spells working in NewYork and Sydney, Rebeccamoved to London in 2001. First she worked for a year at Harbottle & Lewis on a case involving Francis Bacon’s estate, thenmoved to Lane & Partners (which has sincemerged with Bird & Bird). It was during her time there that she decided that she wanted to specialise in construction and engineering disputes. “I was in the disputes department, where I worked with two partners who did a lot of work in this

For more firms that work in this practice area, please use the “Training contract regional indexes” starting on p197.



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