About Blackwattle Legal

Trevor Withane

Trevor is a highly regarded lawyer you want on your side. He is the founder and principal of Blackwattle Legal and is a specialist commercial litigator and insolvency lawyer with deep experience in his areas of practice. Prior to founding Blackwattle Legal, Trevor was a partner of a successful Sydney based boutique law firm.

Clients have described Trevor as extremely insightful, friendly, practical and pragmatic.

Trevor founded Blackwattle Legal to provide in-depth specialist and conflict free advice in the disputes space – starting a law firm with true specialism in just two key areas: Commercial Litigation and Insolvency and Bankruptcy.

Trevor started his legal career at global top three firm, Allen & Overy LLP, where he trained and spent several years advising a multitude of corporates and high-net-worth individuals in connection with complex disputes and regulatory matters often straddling more than one jurisdiction.

Before moving to Australia from the UK for family reasons, Trevor was a barrister in London, acting for corporates and high-net-worth individuals in complex commercial litigation and insolvency matters in the High Court. This experience, coupled with Trevor’s accountancy studies and his earlier practice as an accountant, gives him a rare depth and breadth of experience to apply to his clients’ matters.


Trevor has acted for a wide variety of corporates, insolvency practitioners and private clients in a range of industries covering diverse subject matters.  A sample of the matters he has been pivotally involved in include acting for a:

  • Shareholder in a minority shareholder dispute with a substantial steel company involving whistleblowing claims
  • Chinese shareholder in a mining dispute concerning two granite and marble mines in Queensland
  • Large property developer who had been blackmailed by a rogue employee
  • Large Canadian fund in obtaining freezing orders, and pursuing several claims for misleading and deceptive conduct and fraud-style claims
  • Start-up in a significant complex contractual dispute, including issues as to whether there was ever a contract
  • Shareholder of a company in defamation action
  • Property company in a claim against Telstra for failure to provide a service
  • Large accountancy firm defending allegations of breaches of restraint following a business sale
  • Korean company to lift the automatic stay of litigation which arises when a company enters an insolvency procedure which enabled the Korean company to establish its debt through enforcement of a SIAC arbitral award
  • Canadian fund in relation to a personal bankruptcy matter and voluntary administration of several companies in which the fund had an interest
  • Big 4 accountancy firm as liquidators in the sale of business assets of an insolvent transport company
  • Big 4 accountancy firm as administrators in pursuing several public examinations
  • Big 4 accountancy firm in documenting the terms of an agreed deed of company arrangement
  • Licensed insolvency practitioner in providing advice as to the validity of a priority claim in a distribution of realised assets
  • Licensed insolvency practitioner of a national firm in its administration of a timber company, including assisting it to make a report to ASIC of significant director breaches
  • Receiver of ASX listed securities in relation to their duty to exercise reasonable care in selling the securities for their fair market value
  • Large overseas lender in replacing the Official Trustee and pursing its debt in a bankrupt estate
  • Lender in appointing a liquidator to several companies left without a director following the bankruptcy of the companies’ sole director

Trevor is admitted to practice law in all Australian courts, including in the Federal Court of Australia. In addition, Trevor is a non-practicing solicitor in England and Wales and is a non-practising English barrister.

In 2015, Thompson Reuters’ Super Lawyers recognised Trevor as a “rising star”

Trevor is currently a serving member of the New South Wales Law Society’s Litigation Law & Practice Committee

Trevor holds:

  • a first-class law degree, Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) with Honours
  • a distinction in the England & Wales Legal Practice Course
  • a distinction in Australian Constitutional Law
  • passes in several accountancy subjects awarded by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

Trevor is a member of:

  • The New South Wales Law Society
  • The Australian Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association (ARITA)
  • The Law Society of England & Wales
  • The Honourable Society of Middle Temple (for barristers)

Melanie Long

Melanie is an Associate specialising in commercial litigation, insolvency, and restructuring. Melanie has significant experience in bringing and defending director duty claims, banking and loan recovery litigation, unfair preference claims, and bankruptcy proceedings.

After completing a Bachelor of Commerce (Distinction) and Bachelor of Laws (Honours) at Deakin University, Melanie was a Lawyer at international law firm, K&L Gates, where she gained experience in M&A in addition to her time in the firm’s insolvency and restructuring team.

Melanie has worked for Australia’s major banks, financiers and insolvency practitioners providing advice on all forms of insolvency and restructuring including liquidations, receiverships, voluntary administrations, security enforcement, and bankruptcies.

Melanie also has experience appearing in both the Federal Court of Australia and the Supreme Court of Victoria.

  • Managed numerous enforcement proceedings for one of Australia’s top banks, including overseas enforcement action
  • Assisted well-regarded insolvency and restructuring firms with their unfair preference claims
  • Assisted well-regarded insolvency and restructuring firms with their insolvent trading claims
  • Assisted a Big 4 accounting firm with its director duty claim following liquidation
  • Assisted liquidator of a Big 4 accounting firm in the conduct of several public examinations
  • Assisted a liquidator in the sale of a trademark of a house-hold name in the course of a winding-up
  • Assisted several large Australian corporations with the preparation of asset and share sale agreements
  • Assisted a range of not-for-profits with their company constitutions and general commercial work
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Distinction)
  • Bachelor of Laws (Honours)

Melanie is a member of:

  • The Women’s Insolvency Network Australia
  • The New South Wales Law Society

Olivia Dudley

Olivia joined the Blackwattle Legal team in 2020 as a paralegal. She is passionate about justice, whether it be through the prosecution or defence of claims and whether the client is a corporate or an individual.

In 2018, Olivia was a litigation assistant for a Barrister who practised mainly in the Federal Court assisting asylum seekers. In this position, Olivia was exposed to a range of interesting matters, and gained experience dealing with various legal issues such as identifying jurisdictional errors in visa application proceedings. Olivia also liaised with a range of potential clients seeking pro bono assistance for asylum cases, and then prepared legal recommendations for barristers seeking to represent these clients in the Federal Court of Australia.

Alongside working at Blackwattle Legal, Olivia is also studying a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Advanced Science at the University of Sydney. Olivia is expected to complete her science degree, and graduate in the first quarter of 2020, with a distinction. Olivia expect to complete her law degree in 2022.


Olivia’s legal experience includes extensive review of corporate documents for the purpose of discovery, attending court to deal with subpoenas and take notes, liaising with clients, interpreters and court staff, briefing barristers and carrying out legal research.

University of Sydney

  • Bachelor of Advanced Science (maj. Immunobiology) (currently studying)
  • Bachelor of Laws (LLB) (currently studying)

Roseville College

  • HSC ATAR 98.00
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