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Sandra Steele

Sandra Steele is a partner and practice area leader in the firm's Real Estate practice. She is also a Non-Executive Director for the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Oceania World Regional Board. She is an award winning construction lawyer with more than 20 years of experience advising on contentious and non-contentious construction law matters. Her experience includes contract drafting and negotiation as well as litigation and alternative dispute resolution in the project management, construction, engineering and infrastructure project sectors.

Sandra is an accredited adjudicator with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Resolution Institute and has determined in excess of 30 adjudication applications since becoming accredited. Her work in the area of security of payment includes successfully defending the first challenge to an adjudicator's determination in the NSW Court of Appeal under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act 1999 (NSW). 

Sandra's experience working in-house for Lendlease, one of Australia's largest property groups, has provided her with a commercial approach to advising both Principals and some of Australia's largest construction companies.

Sandra is a member of the firm's Diversity Committee and was elected to the firm's Australian Board in 2019.

Prior to joining the firm, Sandra spent six years as the Assistant General Counsel for Lendlease Project Management & Construction (Australia) Pty Limited. In that role, she provided strategic leadership and management of the in-house legal practice in order to support legal advice, bid evaluation, contract formation, risk control and decision making relating to company operations and objectives.

  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in Australia™
    • Construction / Infrastructure Law, 2019-2023
    • Real Property Law, 2017-2025
  • Recognised by Chambers Asia-Pacific for Construction in Australia, 2018-2024

"Her experience as an arbitrator and leader in the industry gives her unparalleled understanding of construction disputes." (Chambers Asia-Pacific 2021)

"Sandra Steele is well respected for her work on contentious construction matters. A client highlights her proactive approach, commenting: 'When it comes to giving legal advice but also giving direction, she'll stick her neck out and suggest we take a certain decision for a certain reason, which is drawn from her experience in the industry. She's very savvy about the construction market and that gives us an edge." (Chambers Asia-Pacific, 2020)

  • Recognised by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific in Australia
    • Recommended Lawyer, Real estate, 2024
    • Leading Individual, Infrastructure Projects and Construction, 2023-2024
    • Construction, 2017-2022

"Sandra Steele. Legend. Always has your back in that she knows the pressures from an internal business perspective given her vast experience in-house. She helps you navigate your business pain-points" and "Sandra Steele has a unique ability to advise clients needing front-end and back-end legal services" and "Sandra Steele is a leading construction and infrastructure lawyer. She has excellent technical skills, which are paired with a pragmatic and commercial approach. Sandra consistently delivers excellent client services and is a pleasure to work with." (The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2024)

"Sandra Steele is an outstanding construction lawyer and partner. She is eminently knowledgeable, practicable and pragmatic, Sandra's contractor-side experience means she understands my drivers and her clients and peers alike." (The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific, 2021)

  • Listed by Doyle's Guide as a Leading Construction & Infrastructure Litigation Lawyer in New South Wales, 2020, 2022, and 2024
  • Recognised by Lawyers Weekly
    • Finalist, Partner of the Year Awards for Construction and Infrastructure, 2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2023
    • Winner, Partner of the Year Awards for Construction and Infrastructure, 2016
  • Recognised by Women in Law as the winner of the Partner of the Year Awards, 2015
  • Recognised by Australasian Legal Business as the winner of the In-House Lawyer of the Year Award, 2011
  • Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Oceania World Regional Board Non-Executive Director
  • National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC)
  • Australian Legislation Reform Committee for the Society of Construction Law Australia member
  • Law Society of New South Wales member
  • Resolution Institute Adjudicator and member
  • Australian Property Law Bulletin and the Australian Construction Law Bulletin editor
  • “Construction Law: Defects and Payment Claims”, Legalwise Seminars, 13 September 2023
  • "Security of Payment: What do Adjudicators Look For?", UNSW Edge Construction Law Intensive, 10 March 2022
  • "Limitations of Enforcement of Security of Payments and Challenging Determinations", Legalwise Seminars, 15 September 2021
  • Provided numerous presentations and training on Security of Payment issues to clients in the construction and infrastructure sectors
  • "Key Risks in Construction Contracts" Discussion Panel, The Chartered Institute of Builders (CIOB) Seminar, September 2016 and August 2018
  • Client presentation on the "Building Defects Bond Scheme effective from 1 July 2017", December 2016
  • "Learn to ‘speak the client’s language’, lawyers urged", Lawyers Weekly, 30 June 2016
  • "Maximising In-House Potential and Minimising Regulatory Risk", Thomson Reuters Business of Law Masterclass, Sydney, 30 August 2012
  • "Construction and Resource Management" Discussion Panel, Australian Women Lawyers National Conference, Canberra, 11 August 11 2012
  • Training on contract negotiation, ABB across Australia and New Zealand, September – December 2012
Additional Thought Leadership Pages
  • Abergeldie Contractors Pty Ltd v Fairfield City Council — court turns “practical completion” on its head, Australian Construction Law Bulletin, Volume 29, No 4, August 2017
Additional News & Event Pages
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