Partner Spotlight – Alex Ninis

Alex Ninis - Partner spotlight

This is part of our Partner Spotlight series, profiling each of our partners, their background, expertise and insights. Stay tuned for our upcoming partner profiles. 

Career highlights

My practice encompasses providing commercial, intellectual property and privacy advice to clients in the information technology, telecommunications and biotech sector (which I refer to broadly as the ‘technology sector’) and to consumers of such products and services.

In a career spanning three decades, I have managed numerous matters for clients. My favourite matters are the nation building transactions that have not only left a long-lasting legacy for my clients but also for Australia. For instance, I acted for a software vendor that developed a solution that was licensed by the Commonwealth Government and four State governments for the purpose of trading water rights between jurisdictions. Similarly, I acted for an Australian systems integrator that implemented a second-generation digital video network for a major telecommunications provider that is used today to transmit digital video data across Australia.                                                  

Proudest career moment

Aside from getting great results for my clients, I am most proud of the relationships that I have forged throughout my career with my clients and my colleagues. Some of my longest and fondest friendships are with clients and colleagues that I have worked with for decades.

Journey to becoming a lawyer

What I like about being a lawyer is helping people by using my knowledge of the law and my negotiating acumen. This was the case when I commenced practice in an inner suburban firm (GSM Lawyers) where I acted for clients in a variety of practice areas. I even assisted a partner in a murder trial which was a unique experience. I eventually gravitated to commercial practice and took on an in-house role as Legal Counsel to the Australian Chamber of Manufactures. I then joined Lendlease Corporation as Legal Counsel for Lendlease Employer Systems where I was first exposed to the software and information technology sector. Whilst there, I discovered that I had a keen interest in the emerging information technology sector which prompted me to join global Enterprise resource planning (ERP) software company, PeopleSoft Inc., as Legal Counsel ANZ. I remained in that role for seven years when I eventually became VP/General Counsel APAC. During this time, I managed a legal team located across the APAC region and ran licensing, reselling, systems integration transactions and corporate acquisitions across the region. This further fuelled my passion for the technology sector and I have assisted clients in the technology sector ever since in both in-house and external legal advisory roles.   

Da Vinci Development Program  

Having only recently joined Hamilton Locke, I have not yet enrolled in the Da Vinci program, but I fully intend to do so. The Da Vinci program is our personal development program where all employees can opt in to participate in an activity to enhance their physical and mental well-being. This year’s theme is health and wellbeing, and so I would love to embark on a course that allows me to focus on and improve my physical health. In the future, I would love to learn how to read music. I learned to play the piano by ear at a young age, but I cannot read a note of music. My dream one day is to play Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’ by sight.          

Why I joined Hamilton Locke

When I was General Counsel at PeopleSoft, I could see a gap in the market for a firm that could deliver flexible legal solutions around the APAC region for my team. I also wanted specialists in the technology space rather than firms that learned at my company’s expense.  What impresses me about Hamilton Locke is the breadth of industry expertise amongst the firm’s lawyers acting for clients in a range of sectors, including financial services, infrastructure, technology and property. Many lawyers at the firm have gained such expertise at the coalface while acting as senior in-house lawyers for some of Australia’s and the world’s largest companies. Hamilton Locke’s agile service delivery model also means that the firm can adapt to its clients’ needs, delivering better and more efficient client outcomes.   

Tips for aspiring lawyers seeking partnership

I once asked a successful partner of a national law firm what the secret was to his success. He responded with the following – “Don’t worry Alex, it will all happen”. Whilst I have been extremely fortunate in landing in an area of legal practice that gives me so much professional and personal satisfaction, I can’t help but advise young practitioners to exert some influence over their own careers.

The first thing I would advise is to try different areas of the law as part of your legal traineeships before settling on one area of practice.

Then, once you have found an area that you love, organise a meeting with a partner or senior lawyer who practices in that space, ask to join their team and then immerse yourself in that practice area completely.       

The Halo Group mentality

Halo is a unique offering in the Australian legal market. Halo Group comprises aligned businesses, Hamilton Locke, Emerson CoSec, Source, MacMillan Trade Marks and The Fold Legal, under the one umbrella with a view to providing a holistic solution for clients. This united approach allows us to offer a one-stop shop of different but aligned services to our clients. As our clients business needs change, we are able to offer additional support to service those needs.

What do you do in your spare time?  

I sit on the board of the Hellenic Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and I have co-hosted a weekly radio program called “Pame Yia Kafe” which is Greek for “Let’s go for a coffee” for the last six years. The program has allowed me to interview some of the best and brightest Greek Australians doing amazing things in our community and abroad. I would love to interview some of the first Greeks to set foot on Australian soil on 7 August 1829. They were seven sailors from the Greek island of Hydra who were convicted of piracy and sentenced to a term of imprisonment in the colony of New South Wales. The captain of the pirate ship was ‘Damianos Ninis’, I think that would be a very fascinating interview for my radio program.