Michael Mills is one of Australia’s leading lawyers for complex commercial litigation and dispute resolution and the 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 regularly identified year upon year as a leading lawyer by various international guides to lawyers and legal firms, including:
- Best Lawyers in Australia 2020 – Class Action Litigation, Insurance Law, International Arbitration, Litigation, Product Liability Litigation, and Regulatory.
- Best Lawyers – Alternative dispute resolution, Class Action Litigation, Insurance Law, International Arbitration, Litigation, Product Liability Litigation and Regulatory Practice, plus 2016 Class Action Litigation ‘Lawyer of the Year’ and 2017 Product Liability ‘Lawyer of the Year’
- Asialaw and Benchmark Litigation – ‘Disputes Star of the Year’ – Australia 2018
- Legal 500 Asia Pacific – ‘Leading Individual’ in Insurance and recognized in Dispute Resolution
- Chambers & Partners Global and Chambers Asia Pacific – Dispute Resolution and Insurance
- Who’s Who Legal – Insurance and Reinsurance, Litigation; Litigation - ‘Most Highly Regarded Individual Asia Pac’ 2014 and 2015, a ‘World’s leading practitioner’ in litigation and ‘Most Highly Regarded’ in 2018
- Expert’s Guide – Insurance and Reinsurance, Product Liability
- Doyles – Leading Commercial Litigation and Dispute Resolution lawyer
“Outstanding litigator… Michael Mills at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan is a well-recognised trial lawyer whose strategic approach to handling commercial disputes lends him a fantastic reputation in the market.”
Who’s Who Legal 2018 - Litigation
Of course, the true test is results and recently Michael has:
- Advised GetSwift Ltd and its directors in the defence of 3 shareholder class actions, with the successful first instance and then Federal Court Full Court decision that only one proceeding should continue (case ongoing).
- Successfully represented Infigen Ltd in the resolution of class action proceedings arising from a bushfire.
- Represented the Deputy Chair of Southern Cross Media investigatory examinations and responding to compulsory notices issued by ASIC, which led to a rare public acknowledgement by ASIC not to proceed with action.
- 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.”
- 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.
- 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 defended Viva Energy Ltd’s $2 billion IPO, both at first instance and then on appeal in the Supreme Court of Victoria.
- 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.
- 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 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.”