Michael Fotheringham

I think clients are looking for clarity when they seek legal advice. I not only provide that, but specifically tailor my advice to the commercial reality in which they are operating.

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Michael Fotheringham

Partner

Michael Fotheringham is a partner in our Insurance & Health team and is based in the Adelaide office.

‘I started my career at a large Adelaide firm where they had a very busy insurance practice. I was lucky in that I worked for a partner who did a lot of London underwriting work, which I found both fascinating and challenging. I was also fortunate in that, from the outset, I was exposed to a diverse range of claims. This meant that I got the kind of experience only a more senior lawyer would normally obtain.’

Michael specialises in:

  • Personal injury
  • Product liability
  • Financial lines and professional indemnity
  • Property/business interruption claims
  • Public liability
  • Accident and health
  • Delayed start-up.

‘I’ve always been interested in business, which is why I did an MBA. I’m very aware of how important it is that I understand my clients’ business drivers, and I always take the time to get on top of those issues. This enables me to put myself in my clients’ shoes and to understand how they see things.

‘My clients also know that they will receive efficient and timely service from me, because I make sure I’m both accessible and responsive. I’m also a strong communicator, so I always keep them informed about what is happening in their matters. For that reason, I make sure my advices are clear and concise. No one wants to read 20 pages of impenetrable legalese. I think it’s better to keep things simple, without becoming simplistic, because a lot of insurance cases have complex factual matrices.’

Over the years, Michael has published articles in periodicals such as Insurance & Risk Professional and Insurance Law Journal. He is also often asked to give presentations by clients and industry bodies such as the Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA) and the Australian Professional Indemnity Group (APIG).

In addition to his insurance work, Michael has a great deal of experience in running general commercial litigation matters.

In his spare time, Michael uses his legal skills to assist a number of not-for-profit organisations. Michael helped form Sight For All in 2009 and is currently serving on the board. This voluntary organisation has developed a unique model where Australian ophthalmologists assist in providing sub-speciality training to colleagues, and their support staff, in developing countries. Sight For All also raises funds to equip eye clinics. Michael also does pro-bono work for Netball (SA) and, until recently, was the chair of the Australian National Drag Racing Association. 

Michael is listed as a leading professional indemnity lawyer in South Australia in the 2016 Doyle's Guide and was recognised in the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers for Insurance Law.

‘I think that what makes Barry.Nilsson. different is that we have a strong sense of community and shared values in the firm. This is demonstrated by our high retention rate, not only among our lawyers but also our support staff. We put people first. We’re determined to provide our clients with not only outstanding service, but value for money. At the same time, we’ve created a firm with a work culture that nurtures talent and enables our staff to thrive no matter what role they’re performing. I think it would be fair to say that, at Barry.Nilsson., we expect people to work hard but, at the same time, they know that we value their contribution. This is also important for clients, because it means they will consistently receive excellent service from us.’

Leadership

  • Former Board Member, Australian Insurance Law Association (AILA) (South Australian Chapter)
  • Member, Law Society of South Australia
  • Voluntary Board Member, Sight For All Foundation
  • Former Chair, Australian National Drag Racing Association

Expertise

  • Personal injury
  • Product liability
  • Financial lines and professional indemnity
  • Property/business interruption claims
  • Public liability
  • Accident and health
  • Delayed start up

Qualifications

  • Master of Laws
  • Graduate Diploma in Insurance Law
  • Bachelor of Laws
  • Master of Business Administration
  • Bachelor of Economics