Originally admitted in New Zealand, Katherine Smith is an experienced restructuring and insolvency lawyer advising clients about contentious and non-contentious aspects of corporate insolvency, bankruptcy and recoveries, including examining antecedent transactions, securities enforcement, and investigations, and providing strategic advice to creditors and insolvency practitioners in relation to the tracing and recovery of funds.
Katherine's most recent significant matter involved advising liquidators appointed to a financial services business as to the distribution of client assets of over AU$250 million. This was a multifaceted cross border insolvency project working with a variety of stakeholders to ensure delivery of time critical advice. Another recent cross border matter in which Katherine has taken a lead role involved advising administrators appointed to four ASX/NSX listed entities in the life sciences industry.
Katherine has advised major Australian banks in relation to exposure as secured creditor in a number of industries, including agribusiness, viticulture, and construction, as well as in relation to responding to regulator notices. Katherine also acts in matters on behalf of the Australian Taxation Office including proceedings involving preference claims, director penalty notices, and other enforcement measures.
With an approachable manner, Katherine prides herself on leading a team to provide responsive, commercial and practical legal solutions in the insolvency space. Katherine also has extensive experience developing policies and legislative reform relating to debt recovery and insolvency (serving on the current Law Society of NSW Business Law Committee, and having led the response to the Insolvency Practitioners Bill governing the regulation of insolvency practitioners in New Zealand and assisted in laying the foundation for increased governmental collaboration to address phoenix risk), as well as delivery of substantive training modules across a range of insolvency related fields.
Katherine serves on the firm's Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) committee and is the Pro Bono Coordinator for the Sydney office, and received the Managing Partner's Women's Achievement Award in 2021.
Prior to joining K&L Gates, Katherine worked in commercial and insolvency litigation at an Australian firm. She has also had extensive experience working in both the Australian and New Zealand Revenue Offices in their respective Debt Recovery areas.
- Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA) member
- INSOL International member
- Turnaround Management Association (TMA) member
- Law Society of New South Wales member
- Law Society of New South Wales Business Law Committee member (2022-current)
- Volunteer mentor for HOST International, Law Society of New South Wales Women-in-Law, University of Sydney
- “The Mainzeal Supreme Court Decision: Directors' Duties, Safe Harbour, Small Business Restructuring,” Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association New Zealand, 13 September 2023