About Us

We work collaboratively with our clients to build strong, sustainable relationships. Our team is committed to delivering consistent high standards of service, and we understand the importance of accessibility. Working with us, you'll enjoy open communication, meaning well scoped, properly resourced and effectively managed matters.

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Latest Case

Providing strategic advice on expansion structures November 16, 2018

Founded in Bondi Beach in 2012, Bailey Nelson has rapidly grown into a global eyewear retailer and service provider with boutiques in Australia, London, Canada and New Zealand. The strong demand for their products and … Continued

Latest News

Diverse and inclusive: Maddocks recognised for gender equality February 25, 2020

25 February 2020 Maddocks has been recognised for the 16th consecutive year for its work in creating a workplace that provides opportunities for all of its employees. Maddocks received an Employer of Choice for Gender … Continued

Latest Article

Holding shareholder meetings under COVID-19 restrictions March 25, 2020

With governments imposing severe restrictions on travel and public gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, Australian public companies with upcoming annual general meetings (AGM) will be required to consider whether they can either … Continued

Julian Smith Partner


A partner in the Melbourne Commercial group, Julian has a robust corporate practice specialising in financial services, mergers & acquisitions, trusts and corporations law.

Julian’s combination of knowledge, skills and experience, delivered with a focus on simple and practical legal advice, attracts a diverse range of clients. He advises clients in the funds management and financial services industry, professional services sector, government, and the automotive, property and e-business industries.

Julian was awarded the David Bruce Memorial Prize for Financial Sector Regulation when completing his Master of Laws at the University of Melbourne.

Legal Expertise

  • Mergers & acquisitions
  • Corporations law
  • Funds management and financial services
  • Self managed superannuation
  • Equity and trusts
  • Distressed assets


Funds Management and Financial Services

Julian advises on the establishment of wholesale property and equity funds, the establishment and licensing of disruptive financial services businesses (including online OTC FX and commodities exchanges), financial services industry M&A and complex AFS licensing and compliance issues.

  • Start-ups: advising clients on capital, structuring and licensing requirements for newly established wholesale and retail funds management businesses.
  • Established: custody, investment management, conflicts management, unit pricing, administrative and platform services.
  • Advanced financial services:  AFS licence variations and compliance issues;  prime brokerage and securities lending;  market-making and OTC derivatives.
  • SMSF sector: specialist advice on borrowing in SMSFs; compliance advice and ATO audit; advanced structuring alternatives for SMSF investments.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Julian acts for and alongside some of Australia’s most prominent professional services organisations, including Thomson Reuters and Grant Thornton Australia. Julian understands the industry in which his clients participate and provides considered advice which is strategic and focused on commercial outcomes.

Julian takes pride in working collaboratively alongside other accounting, corporate finance and advisory professionals, to achieve outstanding results for mutual clients. He has also acted for buyers and sellers of businesses in the automotive, publishing, cinema, human resources, real estate, manufacturing, retail, veterinary and child care industries.

  • Preparatory: Advising on due diligence, exclusivity and confidentiality issues, and pre-transactional stages (heads of agreement, terms sheets).
  • Transactional: Conducting complex negotiations and effecting transaction programs; finance and equity negotiations; vendor and seller transaction structuring advice; completion management.


Julian’s recent work includes restructuring and succession planning for motor vehicle dealers; demerger, capital raising and private equity investments, resolving protracted shareholder, partnership and joint venture disputes; advising on structuring of businesses in the engineering, training and education, veterinary, manufacturing, sustainability and logistics industries.

  • Business lifecycle structuring:  advising on establishment, expansion,  succession planning and divestment issues for business;  incentive structures and employee share plans.
  • Adversarial: shareholder and partnership disputes and mediation.
  • Governance: advising on structuring and compliance in relation to debt and capital transactions; directors’ duties and corporate governance;  financial assistance, share buy-backs and capital reductions.

Equity & trusts

Julian advises professional services firms, State Government departments and authorities, and financial services organisations on all aspects of establishing, structuring, monitoring & regulating, and winding-up trusts.

  • Schemes: advising on registered and unregistered managed investments; compliance with financial services obligations;  compliance with trustee and equitable duties.
  • Private trusts: advising on all forms of private business and investment trusts, including SMSFs, discretionary trusts, unit (fixed and non-fixed) and hybrid trusts.
  • Special trusts: advising on the monitoring and regulation of patriotic funds, and fee-protection schemes in the tertiary education and training sector.

Distressed assets

Julian’s extensive transactional experience, means he efficiently manages complex and urgent transactions in distressed sale situations. Julian has acted in transactions of this nature in the professional services, automotive and property industries.

  • Pre-insolvency: restructures and business-line divestments; refinancing and de-leveraging; equity and quasi-equity raisings;  business dispute resolution.
  • Insolvency: asset sale programs for receivers and liquidators; urgent asset and business sales.