Phi Finney McDonald is a specialist class action law firm with offices in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia. We practice in complex and large-scale litigation, with a focus on shareholder class actions. Our founding principals previously led the project litigation practice at one of Australia’s largest plaintiff firms. With over forty years’ litigation experience and twenty-five years of specialist class actions experience, together we have achieved almost half a billion dollars in class action settlements.
A strong social conscience influences every aspect of our practice, including the types of claims we take on, how we treat our clients, and how we operate as a business. Success will be measured by the positive difference we make to the world around us. We will achieve justice for abuse victims, recover compensation for duped investors, and protect those who would protect the environment.
We act for those who have suffered loss or injury by corporate or government misconduct. We could defend wrongdoers, but choose not to. Instead, we work with those who would challenge unjust laws, corrupt institutions and unfair structures. We are problem-solving and strategic. We hate cliques, inefficiency and bureaucracy. We think laterally, and use all available tools and resources to solve problems quickly. Our clients receive the best outcome and great service at a low cost. Our employees receive fantastic benefits, and the space to develop in an informal and collaborative environment.
We are agents not principals. Our work is to the power of:
Strong individual claims are often too small to warrant legal costs and litigation risk. Aggregating many small individual claims into a class action levels the playing field. It allows us to enlist the best barristers, experts and consultants in our clients’ cause, and to divide the cost over a larger pool of damages. Our clients benefit from the best representation at a fraction of what it would have cost to litigate individually. It allows our clients to pursue claims they would otherwise have abandoned.
We have strong and enduring relationships with litigation funders that we have developed over many years. Funders invest capital and we invest our care and skill. We have gained trust by owning our results. We do not outsource strategy or shift accountability. We adapt with changing circumstances, and ensure that underlying case economics are preserved to the benefit of both funder and clients.
Most of us aren’t perfect at everything, but we can all be great at something. We recruit based on work ethic, individual potential, and cultural fit. We learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses, and aim to develop individually and as a team. We build dynamic, diverse and balanced teams with the right mix of skills and experience to deliver the result while keeping costs down. Our litigators work across multiple matters simultaneously.
Standing armies breed inefficiency, inflate legal fees, slow personal development, and induce boredom. We give responsibility to junior lawyers and support them as they learn through experience. And as they develop, we encourage our staff to engage with their work and to reflect on how lessons learnt can be applied in different and emerging areas.
We constantly reflect on how work could be performed faster and better. We streamline our processes and procedures. And if we don’t have the right tools or technology then we acquire it or develop it. We aim to never make the same mistake twice, and seek to leverage every lesson learned across our entire business.
It is not enough to provide ‘access’ to justice – we aim to deliver it as quickly and cheaply as possible, and in a way that exposes the root cause of our clients’ problems. It’s our obligation to get the best result for our clients. It’s our challenge to do so in a way that prevents others from suffering the same fate in the future. Plaintiff class action lawyers can be a force for positive change. But not if they seek to be everything to everyone.
We don’t seek broad-based popularity, we don’t care about political power, and we don’t have business units or KPIs. We take the long-term view. We will make the world a better place through the cases that we bring, the wrongdoing that we expose, and the results that we deliver.