Principal Areas of Practice:
James has siginficant experience and expertise as a lawyer in the wine industry.
Although James has done work for almost half of the 20 biggest wine companies in Australia, the firm’s clients are mostly medium to large, privately-owned businesses. These include Brown Brothers, Estates & Wines (Domaine Chandon, Cape Mentelle, Cloudy Bay), Fowles Wines, Fratelli Wines, Hollick Wines, Innocent Bystander / Giant Steps, Kirby Family Investments (Yabby Lake, Heathcote Estate), Moorooduc Estate, Oakridge, Pernod Ricard Winemakers, Pizzini Wines, Shelmerdine Vineyards, Shut The Gate, Spring Vale Vineyard, Swish Wines (Wilderness Estate, Saltire, Tin Soldier), Taylor’s Wines, The ARH Australian Wine Co (Paringa Vineyards, 3 Rings), Tulloch, and Ten Minutes by Tractor. The firm also acts for numerous overseas producers, and smaller wineries and grape growers. The industry bodies which James has advised include Wine Australia, the Winemakers Federation of Australia, Wine Grape Growers Association, New Zealand Winegrowers and Wine Industry of Tasmania.
James was a member of the inaugural “Future Leaders” program to establish a succession plan for the Australian wine industry. He is Vice-President of the Winemakers Federation of Australia (WFA) and Chair of WFA’s Small Winemakers Membership Committee, and a Board member of Wine Victoria. He sat on Wine Australia’s Legislation Review Committee, and was a Member of the Wine Industry Code of Conduct Administration Committee.
James has been the legal writer for the industry publications Wine Business Monthly, Australian and New Zealand Wine Industry Journal and National Liquor News, and wrote his Masters thesis on the protection of geographical indications in the wine industry in Australia.
Prior to establishing his firm, James worked as inhouse counsel for Southcorp Limited for 7½ years; he was the principal lawyer for Southcorp’s Wine division.
James has presented numerous papers to wine industry conferences, both in Australia and overseas. He is a past-president of the Australasian chapter of the International Wine Law Association, and a Board member of the international Association. He is also the Honorary Counsel for Sommeliers Australia and Wine Communicators of Australia, and an occasional freelance wine writer. James is guest lecturer in ‘wine law’ at NMIT, and before that at Monash University.
James is a registered trade marks attorney, and can handle all aspects of trade marks business – including searching for conflicting marks and advising on registrability of new marks, as well as oppositions and prosecutions and defences for claims of trade mark infringement.
James’ practical experience is backed up with post-graduate qualifications in this field.
James provides services to many other law firms which do not have their own internal IP expertise, as well as providing local agency services for overseas firms, such as De Simone & Partners (Italy), Mayer Brown JSM (Hong Kong), Vivien Chan & Co (HK, China), The Trade Marks Bureau (UK) and Roylance Abrams Berdo & Goodman (USA).
James was the ACLA Young Corporate Lawyer of the Year in 2000. He has worked for the largest commercial law firm in the world (Baker & McKenzie), and has more than 15 years’ experience in providing practical legal advice in all areas of commercial law, including drafting and reviewing contracts for:
- sale and purchase of businesses;
- establishing partnerships and joint ventures;
- calling for and responding to tenders; and
- terms and conditions of sale/purchase
James provides “outsourced inhouse” legal services for a broad range of clients in industries as diverse as golf courses (Yarra Bend), manufacturing (WASCA, Edusource, CP Safety), retail (Rhodes & Beckett, Scoogle, Shaver Bargains), brewing (Stone & Wood), interior design (Atticus & Milo), marketing (Dig & Fish, Empirics Marketing), media (Private Media, SmartCompany, Crikey) and clothing (elliatt, 776BC)
James has a significant amount of experience in advising companies on many aspects of consumer law and trade practices, particularly in relation to the anti-competitive provisions, and the areas dealing with the sale of goods, and unconscionable conduct.
He prepared the TPA compliance manuals for BP, Rheem and Southcorp, and has conducted many training seminars and workshops in this field.
Advertising, Marketing & Promotions
James has advised on the content of many advertising and marketing campaigns, and on the requirements for trade and consumer promotions.
James has drafted numerous sets of terms and conditions for B2B and B2C websites. This has included preparing Privacy Statements, and advising on the implications of the Privacy Act.
James also was responsible for the commercial and legal drafting for one of the partners in a significant joint venture to establish a B2B portal in the alcohol industry.
James has also acted against quite a number of “cybersquatters”, including a 100% success record in taking and defending actions under the Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy.
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