Michael Mills is recognized as one of Australia’s leading lawyers for complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution. He is a founding partner of the Quinn Emanuel Australia office.
He is considered by industry as a "go-to" partner for strategically important commercial litigation, as well as front end insurance, risk advisory and dispute resolution work. Michael brings a rare breadth of expertise and experience, having been the lead defence lawyer for some of Australia’s largest and most complex disputes; as well as having crafted a number of innovative dispute solutions for the benefit of corporate clients, both here and overseas. Michael’s areas of expertise include:
- Directors, officers and civil liability;
- Class actions & mass torts;
- Investigations, Government Enforcement and White Collar Criminal Defense Practice;
- Other regulatory investigations and resulting disputes;
- Product liability;
- Insurance – both insurance and risk solutions for policyholders, as well as insurance coverage disputes; and
- Alternative dispute resolution, whether by arbitration, mediation, early neutral evaluation or other novel means.
Michael is consistently rated as one of Australia’s leading commercial litigation lawyers (Best Lawyers, Chambers and Legal 500). In the most recent Who’s Who Legal (2016) he was named one of the world’s leading practitioners in litigation and in 2015 he was described as the “most highly regarded individual in the Asia-Pacific region”. ‘Best Lawyer International’ named him as 2015’s Class Action “Lawyer of the Year” and 2016’s Product Liability Litigation “Lawyer of the Year”. As well as recognised for many years running in the Alternative Dispute Resolution, Litigation, Insurance, Product Liability, Regulatory Practice and Class Actions categories.
Of course, the true test is results and recently Michael has:
- Successfully defended Viva Energy Ltd’s $2 billion IPO, both at first instance and then on appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria;
- Successfully prosecuted Assured Guaranty’s interests in the contested $1.9 billion refinancing of Reliance Rail Pty Ltd in the Supreme Court of New South Wales;
- Successfully handled what many commentators described as the most important case to reach the High Court of Australia in the last 25 years – the so-called “Citizenship7” case involving Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce and others in the High Court of Australia. We obtained unanimous judgment for our client Tony Windsor. At the conclusion of the hearing, The Australian newspaper’s Legal Affairs Editor (Mr Chris Merritt) wrote “The depth of Windsor’s legal team did not end there. Sitting in court behind Gleeson and Merkel were two partners from US litigation powerhouse Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Michael Mills and Michelle Fox. And behind them were solicitors from the firm, which has a success rate in court that is estimated by the legal press at somewhere between 88 and 91%”. The day after the decision was announced, Mr Merrit wrote: “The great victors are Windsor and his ludicrously high-powered legal team … Their arguments were endorsed by the seven judges. They took on the best legal brains the government could muster and wiped the floor with them.”; and
- Acted as contradictor on behalf of ASIC/Full Federal Court of Australia in the important white collar crime test case of ASIC v Whitebox Trading Pty Ltd.
Clients describe Michael as: “an absolutely outstanding, strategic and proactive lawyer who deeply understands the issues at hand and often achieves a result you wouldn’t have thought possible” (Chambers Asia Pacific 2015) and “proactive, strategic and highly tactical in all his work” (Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2015).
Michael is an occasional lecturer in complex litigation and dispute resolution at Stanford Law School, and is a member of RAND Institute for Civil Justice Board of Overseers.
Michael is the author of Dispute Resolution (2018) a text which The Honourable JLB Allsop AO, Chief Justice commented deals with the crucial issue of how to “quickly and successfully as possible” resolve disputes through a detailed analysis “of the available dispute resolution processes (from consensual to adjudicative)” and dynamics of a dispute; in doing so it is “of immense value to current and future practitioners, academics and students.”