New Appointments @ SWS Lawyers – Derek Charge and Paul Jayne join our team


In June last year SWS Lawyers determined it would progress a planned expansion strategy, despite the pandemic. The decision was based on, amongst other things, the assumption that successful pre-Covid 19 businesses would be well placed to transact, raise capital and grow as the pandemic became better managed and vaccine solutions presented themselves. SWS Lawyers acts for many successful and expanding businesses, and those business clients have weathered the pandemic better than many organisations. In our view, more than 6 months on, the underlying assumption for our planned business expansion has proven true. Commencing from 1 February, SWS Lawyers has bolstered its existing specialist senior team with the appointment of two new Principals – Derek Charge and Paul Jayne.

Derek joins SWS Lawyers on 1 February 2021 as its new Managing Principal. He returns to private practice after more than a decade in senior executive operations and commercial roles with some of Australasia’s most significant manufacturing companies. His executive experience spans heavy manufacturing, textiles, mining, mineral processing, commodity sales and marketing, complex logistics solutions, and port operations and shipping. He has a track record for significant business growth and successful delivery of major capital investment projects and brings that expertise to support SWS Lawyers’ clients in driving the growth of their businesses.

Derek is passionate and optimistic about manufacturing in Australia and working with SWS Lawyers’ business and government clients.

He said:

SWS Lawyers’ approach, with specialists offering a “big firm, capital city” level of legal and commercial advice from a regional location in a key mining and manufacturing hub, made it a natural fit for my return to a private advisory practice.”

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After more than 3 years as Managing Principal, Richard Suters returns to full time practice, with the sincere thanks of all members of the firm for his leadership, patience, guidance and support. Richard will continue in his role as a principal of the firm, specialising in contract and commercial law.

Paul Jayne is a planning, environment and property law specialist, well known in the Hunter Valley and returning to practice in Newcastle after several years in Sydney. Paul will join the firm around Easter.

Paul commented:

“I am excited about “returning home” to the Hunter. The opportunity for my clients, and to work with SWS Lawyers and its stellar client base, attracted me to the SWS Lawyers’ team. The ethos of offering clients direct access to specialist advisors is central to what I do and what I think clients need. I also like the fact that SWS Lawyers does not seek to be all things to all people. It offers clients from across Australia the highest quality specialist advice on M&A, commercial transactions, commercial litigation, property and now planning and environmental matters.”

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Andrew Windybank, one of the SWS Lawyers’ founders said:

“Our core team has been together now for nearly 20 years. Derek is a long term friend and former client of our firm. He will bring substantial value to our corporate, commercial and government clients. We know Paul well and have worked with him previously. He joins our firm to further strengthen existing property and development capability and, importantly, adds a planning and environmental capability that our clients have been increasingly seeking.”

These are exciting times for SWS Lawyers.