Sam partners with the firm’s clients to help them better manage their workplace risks; including employment & IR disputes, critical incidents, regulatory investigations and prosecutions.
Sam’s industry leading expertise is recognised by the Australian Financial Review's “Best Lawyers” guide awarding him the Best Lawyer Of The Year Award for Occupational Health & Safety Law in Melbourne for 2021, and is currently recognised as a leading lawyer in Best Lawyers’ Labour and Employment Law and Occupational health and Safety Law categories. Sam is also recognised as a Preeminent WHS lawyer (Victoria) by Doyle's Guide.
Sam is regularly asked to comment in industry publications and the media about WHS and employment developments, and is a frequent presenter at industry seminars and conferences.
ESG - Social - Discrimination
ESG - Social - Diversity and inclusion
ESG - Social - Workplace health and safety
ESG - Governance - Crisis management
ESG - Governance - Director and officer due diligence
ESG - Governance - Regulation and investigations
What he does
Sam acts for clients in complex workplace litigation, including defending criminal WHS prosecutions and acting for employers in proceedings under the Fair Work Act 2009 (Cth). Sam has worked on matters across many jurisdictions and has recently been involved in the successful defence of a number of WHS prosecutions through withdrawals, acquittals and successful appeals.
His experience includes advising on complex evidentiary matters arising under the common law, and state and Federal evidence legislation, as well as procedural matters.
In addition to his litigation practice, Sam is regularly engaged to provide practical, commercial and proactive advice on employment and WHS. Expertise across both employment and WHS means his clients benefit from advice that recognises the close relationship between these areas, enabling proactive identification and resolution of issues.
Sam is regularly called upon to deliver training, including the delivery of interactive sessions and moot-court simulations from the boardroom to the shopfloor.
Who he works with
Sam works with in-house legal counsel, safety managers, HR managers and C-suite executives across a range of industries, including construction, mining, stevedoring, manufacturing, education, electricity, defence, insurance, sport and transport/logistics.
Sam has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours) from the University of Tasmania and a Master of Laws from the University of Melbourne.
Life before Sparkes
Before joining Sparke Helmore's Workplace Group in April 2015, Sam was a senior associate at K&L Gates. Before then he worked as a solicitor at Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills).
Life outside of Sparkes
Sam loves sport in all forms. His biggest passions are the Richmond Tigers, Philadelphia 76ers and Liverpool FC. He enjoys travelling as often as he can and has a particular soft spot for the southern states of the United States as well as sailing on tall-ships in faraway parts of the world. You'll also often find him sneaking across Bass Strait to spend time with friends and family, and to enjoy the best that his former home state, the Apple Isle, has to offer.