Andrew and James Celebrate 20 Years in Business Together


SWS Lawyers was founded by James Stevenson, Andrew Windybank and Richard Suters in July of 2012 as a specialist boutique corporate and commercial legal practice.  The firm has grown to become one of the premier corporate and transactions practices in regional Australia.  SWS is based in Newcastle but has always acted for clients throughout the country, with a particular focus on regional corporate, private equity and banking, and larger family-owned business clients.

In December 2023, James and Andrew celebrated their 20th year of legal practice together.  Having worked for several years at national and international legal firms, they set up SWS Lawyers with the vision of making the firm the best possible boutique corporate legal practice, all while enjoying everything that living and working in Newcastle has to offer.  The firm’s track record and the deal tombstones, the awards and quality of work they have enjoyed, and the glowing praise from clients and peers, all suggest that they achieved that goal.

James and Andrew have always worked as a team and clients have benefited from their team-based approach to the provision of legal services and advice.  They work collaboratively but similarly don’t shy away from critiquing the deal terms, “calling out” time wasting or censuring an uncommercial approach. Their guiding principle has always been to “get the deal done” efficiently, while delivering premium legal advice, service and value for money to their clients.

James said:

“We have definitely enjoyed the type of partnership that the ‘textbooks’ espouse.  We argue and debate nearly everything, but the level of mutual respect and focus on outcome has always kept our clients at the centre of everything we do.  It’s the type of partnership that extends well beyond the day-to-day business activities and we are very lucky to have built a successful practice along the way”.

Andrew agreed:

“There are a lot of marriages that don’t make 20 Years.  We are very fortunate.  We are completely different but complementary people, and clients have always known that they get both of our opinions on every problem.”

During the 2024 Financial Year James transitioned to become a consultant to the practice.  The plan is simple: younger SWS corporate team members, who have all experienced and learnt from the joint team-based approach, will start to play a more central role.

James said:

“It is a transition that has been a long time coming.  We have all worked very hard to ensure our lawyers observe and absorb how to put deals together and to pay attention to the detail.  The latest group of lawyers are a very capable bunch and will deliver for our clients”.

As a firm, SWS is very proud of the work it completed during James’ tenure as well as the clients we have worked for and the accounting, banking and advisory relationships that evolved and we value immensely.  We are also very proud of our people and approach to training our lawyers – particularly the alumni and careers SWS has been involved in over many years.   The firm owes James a great deal of thanks and our lawyers look forward to continuing to work with him.