Beyond our borders, Canberra may (erroneously) be seen as the ‘public service city’, but one local lawyer thinks it’s time we were known as the ‘construction city’.
“You only have to look around at the cranes in the sky to realise that we are constantly witnessing Canberra growing and changing,” says Meyer Vandenberg partner Alisa Taylor.
Alisa is a dispute resolution lawyer working in construction and infrastructure, and was recently awarded a Best Lawyer’s Australia award for her work in this field. It’s not the first time she has received the honour.
“It was humbling to receive this peer-nominated award, and it shows that we are really leading this field,” Alisa said.
Having been a partner at Meyer Vandenberg since 2014, and having practised in Canberra for 20 years, she’s witnessed some big changes around the town.
“I really like being able to understand the city as it changes. I’m a really visual person so I love seeing the building blocks of how everything is put together and why our city ends up looking as it does.
“It’s also great to be able to say to myself, ‘I was involved in that’, or ‘I helped make that happen’.
“These projects are also a huge part of Canberra’s economy,” Alisa said.
An inner-north fan, Alisa says she still loves the heart of our city and its beautiful lake, as well as the famed Nishi Precinct, but thinks Dickson Shops is well and truly overdue an upgrade.
“People in that area are calling for it to receive an injection of life so it becomes a proper hub with a true identity.”
She’s also a fan of how the city hugs its green spaces and how easy it is to find yourself in nature.
Moving from Gunnedah to Canberra over 20 years ago, she’s proud to call herself a local.
“I love the country and I go home a lot, but I’ve become accustomed to the creature comforts that living in a city offers. I like being able to walk everywhere! And it can be a hard life when you’re more rural – even down to things like being able to get a doctor’s appointment on the day that you call.”
Construction and infrastructure are areas that few lawyers in Canberra specialise in, particularly in the disputes space where Alisa practises.
She can be involved from the early planning stages right to the end of a project when people are disputing proceeds and profits.
Other times, her role will come right at the end when the building is no longer a construction site and residents or businesses are having issues with the building.
The other aspect of her job that Alisa enjoys is the very human experience. She explains that, at their heart, all disputes involve relationships, and some relationships break down – even when they are between two businesses.
“People come to me with a mess that they don’t know how to get out of. My role is to show them the cheapest and most effective path forward,” she explained.
The courts are always the last option for Alisa as they are the most expensive and least effective way of resolving a dispute – particularly technical construction disputes.
However, she also recognises the signs that a matter is about to become deadlocked in a way that only a court can break, and when that happens, she is ready to act as quickly and decisively as possible.
To get in touch with Alisa and her team to see how they can help you, visit Meyer Vandenberg.
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