William Conley

Senior Legal Consultant
Norton Rose Fulbright Australia

William Conley

William Conley


Related services and key industries


Bill Conley is a senior commercial and corporate adviser based in Canberra.

Since 1996, he has been providing strategic, legal and associated advice to Commonwealth agencies, in particular the Department of Defence major projects. His practice areas include general contract law, procurement and tendering and governance and probity.

Bill's major focus area are: Commonwealth procurement of major capital equipment and of through life support services: ships, submarines, aircraft, vehicles (as well as associated infrastructure). The successful resolution of complex issues arising during major Commonwealth procurement projects including Commonwealth 'Projects of Concern' and Commonwealth acquisition and disposal of corporations, business and assets.

Professional experience

Expand all Collapse all
  • Master of Laws, Sydney University (1981)
  • Bachelor of Laws, Sydney University (1975)
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of NSW (1971)

Department of Defence - Air Warfare Destroyer Program (2002-2022)

  • Advising Defence on all legal and contractual aspects of the design and build (including supply of combat system, ship management and other equipment, as well as integration) of these front line ships of the RAN. The project involved overall expenditure of more than $10 billion. The three Air Warfare Destroyers were built to a Spanish design varied to meet Australian Defence requirements. The ships were commissioned into the RAN between 2017 and 2021. 
  • The project also included advice to Defence and development of contract terms on the creation of long term supply chain arrangements for supply of spares and other support equipment. 
  • Early project work included advice on procurement strategies and addressing project risks involved in design and build while ensuring compliance with Commonwealth Procurement Rules and probity requirements. Advice recommended early engagement with potential tenderers for the roles of designer, shipbuilder and combat system integrator in particular on issues such as Commonwealth required rights to TD and IP and compliance with relevant Commonwealth policies. Such engagement which involved detailed assistance to the Defence project team was very successful. 
  • In relation to the selection of technical advisers, assistance was provided on the selection process for, amongst others, a design consultant - BMT, and contract terms for its engagement. These were successfully negotiated with BMT.
  • English