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Sandra Steele

Sandra Steele is a Practice Area Leader for K&L Gates' Global Real Estate and Construction practice and 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' experience advising on contentious and non-contentious construction law matters. Her expertise 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 Co-Chair of the firm's Diversity Committee and she was elected to the firm's Australian Board in 2019.

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.

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.

  • Recognised in Legal 500 Asia-Pacific as a Leading Individual for Infrastructure Projects and Construction (2023)
  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in Australia™ for Construction / Infrastructure Law (2019 – 2023)
  • Listed in the Best Lawyers in Australia™ for Real Property Law (2017 –  present)
  • Raked in Chambers Asia-Pacific for Construction - Australia (2018 – present) 
  • Recognised in Legal 500 Asia-Pacific as Practitioner for Construction (2017 – 2022) 
  • Recognised in Doyle's Guide as a Leading Construction & Infrastructure Litigation Lawyer in New South Wales (2020 and 2022) 
  • Finalist for Lawyers Weekly Partner of the Year Awards for Construction and Infrastructure (2016, 2017, 2019, 2020, 2023)
  • Winner for Lawyers Weekly as Partner of the Year for Construction and Infrastructure (2016)
  • Winner for Women in Law Awards as Partner of the Year (2015) 
  • Winner for Australasian Legal Business as In-House Lawyer of the Year (2011)

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

"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)

Practice head Sandra Steele ‘combines great commercial insight with excellent legal skills' (Legal 500 Asia-Pacific 2018)

"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)

  • 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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