Meet the Team
Rob Roy Rankin, Principal and Founder
Rob began his career in intellectual property law in the pharmaceutical industry and then moved into general commercial law as a partner in a Melbourne law firm.
Embracing the core values of integrity, innovation, and growth, and with a focus on better client services and flexible pricing models not available with other firms, Rob started his own boutique practice.
Rob’s passion is to help people to grow professionally. His vision and ability to nurture relationships lead to long-term solutions and success.
Steve Gifford, Workplace Relations Practice Group Leader
Steve has specialised in the areas of employment, industrial relations, occupational health & safety and workers’ compensation law for in excess of 16 years. He offers clients rare access to an experienced lawyer in all these areas of law. He provides advice and representation in areas like termination of employment, enterprise bargaining agreement approval and termination, risk management, industrial disputation, occupational health & safety prosecutions and coronial inquests to name just a few.
Steve’s clients’ appreciate his technical ability, commercial approach and willingness to get to know their organisation. He is also aware that clients need practical solutions, not just a strict legalistic approach to their problem.
When he is not playing soccer or attending Karate, Steve loves spending quality time with his family.
Ben Elbaum, Senior Associate and Tax Guru
Ben’s specialty tax knowledge allows him to advise clients in a diverse range of tax related matters, including structuring of mergers and acquisitions and resolution of disputes with tax and government authorities. He has assisted clients in relation to both federal and state taxes and has experience in implementing practical strategies to effectively deal with tax and corporate related issues.
Joseph Carneli, Senior Associate
Joseph is an experienced commercial solicitor with degrees in both Law and Business. Before coming to the law, Joseph managed a small family business for many years and also worked in marketing and product management. He therefore has a unique insight into the everyday challenges faced by small businesses and consequently offers his clients legal advice that is realistic, commercial and above all can be practically acted upon.
Rachel Derrico, Senior Associate
Rachel is an employment lawyer with a background in commercial law, employment law and human resources roles. She worked in the human resources team at Abigroup Contractors (now Lend Lease) which then led her to work in private practice in boutique law firms. Rachel was admitted in 2010 and has achieved her Master of Laws (Workplace and Employment Law) at Monash University.
Sofia Garcia Ladera, Consultant (Admitted in England and Wales; not admitted in Australia)
Sofia is a litigation and arbitration lawyer admitted as a Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales with a background in commercial litigation, cross-border arbitration disputes and financial regulatory investigations. Sofia trained in England at Herbert Smith Freehills, worked as an associate at “Litigation Firm of the Year “ Gibson Dunn and more recently worked at Hogan Lovells. Sofia has joined Rankin Business Lawyers as a Consultant assisting the dispute resolution team and is in the process of seeking admittance as an Australian lawyer.
Dr Melanie Tan, Lawyer and Medico-Legal Consultant
Melanie is a dual qualified lawyer and medical practitioner. She graduated in Medicine from Melbourne University and completed her hospital internship before relocating to the UK, where she studied Law at Cambridge University before qualifying as a solicitor in London, and subsequently Victoria.
Melanie has worked as a medical negligence solicitor, medical indemnity claims manager, and more recently as a medico-legal and medical adviser with medical defence organisations. Over this period she has maintained her clinical practice, working as a locum doctor in emergency departments. Melanie is currently writing a PhD thesis in Law examining concepts of risk at its interface with Medicine.
Fiona McLay, Special Counsel
Fiona helps people resolve disputes in their business affairs, often working closely with their accountants or other advisers, to minimise the disruption and expense those disputes can cause.
For example you may be in a business relationship that is racked with conflict; or stuck in silent toxic disagreement over key issues; or a shareholder in a private company but unable to extract your fair share of the value of the company. Fiona has helped numerous businesses facing these problems to find a resolution. Her goal is to give smart practical advice, in a straightforward and direct way.
Pablo Wundheiler, Special Counsel
Pablo Wundheiler joins us in Melbourne as a Special Counsel in the Corporate/Commercial practice area.
Pablo is a highly experienced Corporate lawyer. His 12 years as General Counsel and later Company Secretary for Mercedes-Benz Australia / Pacific Pty Ltd. translates into a hands-on understanding of, and experience in, navigating the complex regulatory environment impacting on our corporate clients. It also means that Pablo has an unparalleled exposure to franchising, licensing and competition law.
His strengths include providing strategic legal direction, risk analysis and compliance for manufacturing and distribution operations. Pablo has key insights into the evolution of the industry and the changing environment in which the manufacturer and motor dealer networks operate.
Prior to joining Mercedes Benz Pablo was an Associate with Baker McKenzie.
Terry Lyons, Community Manager
Terry joins Rankin Business Lawyers bringing 35 years of experience in finance and growing and supporting businesses all over Australia.
His passion is building strong relationships through understanding the needs of business and owners and then providing solutions matched to such.
Whether the opportunity or issue is a legal or business one, Terry is a resource available for all our clients and referral partners to help ensure the best solution is sourced and outcome achieved.
Terry is also passionate about enjoying time with family, travelling and exploring new destinations and watching AFL. With any other spare time, you can usually find Terry playing golf with friends at some of Victoria’s favourite golf courses.
Robert Patterson, Chief Operating Officer
Robert is a highly experienced executive, passionate about strategy, marketing and IT. He has invested the last 20 years of his career leading and driving the substantial growth of national professional services firms. Robert is excited to be part of Rankin Business Lawyers because he believes that its focus on client experience (accessibility, responsiveness, flexibility), lawyer engagement and virtual business model represent the future of law in Australia.
Stacey Brennan, Chief of Staff
As Chief of Staff at Rankin Business Lawyers Stacey’s role includes support to our lawyers as well as our clients, paralegal duties, accounts, and general practice management.
To supplement her expertise around the firm, she is also studying a Juris Doctor through the online program at Deakin University.
Holly Bailey, Executive Assistant (Mission Controller)
Holly forms part admin team as Executive Assistant to Rob. A keen networker and relationship builder, Holly brings with her extensive experience supporting senior executives, as well as energy and enthusiasm for her work. Holly plays a pivotal role at Rankin Business Lawyers providing support to our colleagues and clients. Holly enjoys playing footy and netball on the weekends and is passionate about supporting women in sport at all levels.
Sarah Petrie, Secretary of State
As a foundation member of our Sydney team, Sarah brings to the firm her extensive experience as a paralegal and legal support secretary. She has ten years’ experience in similar roles supporting various lawyers as well as Managing Partners. Her legal experience includes commercial law, insurance litigation, property, and civil litigation. We have no doubt that her experience with the different courts nationally will be invaluable to our team. Sarah is on board not just to support our team internally, but always available to assist to our clients where she can.
She enjoys spending quality time with her family, in particular her niece and nephew; and her interest in going to the gym fits in nicely with Rankin’s ideal active and healthy lifestyle.
Daniela Esposito, Marketing Manager
Daniela has an extensive background in marketing, communications and graphic design. Along with managing our website, social media profiles and monthly newsletter, her emphasis on brand positioning and building relationships with our referral partners are key skills that she brings to the team.
Geordie Wilson, Executive Producer – Digital Content | Paralegal
Geordie is our digital content producer at Rankin Business Lawyers, and a supporting admin. Originally from Western Australia, he came to Melbourne to pursue law and is soon to complete his JD degree at the University of Melbourne.
Geordie brings to Rankin his previous experience as a legal consultant, working on research and policy advice at the cabinet level of government. Additionally, he has spent time working as a researcher for the Victorian Bar, and as a financial researcher. As a member of our firm’s legal support staff, Geordie brings these skills as a legal researcher to the team and assists where needed across all of our Australian hubs.
Byron White, Paralegal
Byron joined Rankin Business Lawyers during his JD studies at the University of Melbourne. He brings a unique skillset to the team including a background in Science (B-SCI University of Melbourne with first class honours) and experience running his own business. As a fast paced and rapidly growing firm, Rankin Business Lawyers are cautious of hiring students or freshly graduated lawyers. Byron is an exception. He is a highly motivated and fast learner and is making valuable contributions to the team in terms of legal problem solving, research, paralegal duties and marketing.