Danny is Principal and Founding Partner of Danny King Legal. She is an authentic and laid-back practitioner, that values relationships and the future wellbeing of clients, delivering creative and often unorthodox solutions to what often feels like impossible challenges.
Danny began her career in the top-tier environment, where she built the foundations of her personal practice, before founding Danny King Legal as a sole-practitioner in 2011. In addition to her legal work, she is a well-respected educator and sought-after speaker for CPD and media engagements, and is a long-standing Employment Law Committee member for the Law Society of NSW. Danny has been recognised as a pre-eminent practitioner by Doyle’s Guide, where she has been recognised since 2016, notably making both the employer and employee lists for NSW and nationally.
She holds a Bachelor of Laws with First Class Honours from the University of Technology Sydney, where she was awarded the University Medal for Employment and Industrial Relations.
Establishing Danny King Legal
Before starting in professional practice, Danny chose to undertake an internship at McNally Jones Staff Lawyers, where she shadowed the excellent employment law team, through which she met Jeff Shaw, QC and took up her first paid position. Prior to being admitted, Danny worked for 6 months in Dubai as Assistant Internal Counsel to Robert Swade, Internal Counsel of the Jumeirah Group, with a variety of in-house responsibilities. Here she learned about the practicalities of commercial law, and was fascinated by the breadth of work and broad spectrum of legal knowledge required on a daily basis as in-house counsel. Danny then went on to a graduate role at Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) in 2007, and greatly enjoyed her time working with the employment law team of that excellent firm.
At only 27 years old, and somewhat disillusioned by the culture of traditional firms, Danny boldly started her own firm, Danny King Legal. The firm has grown and evolved over the years, and now, proudly more than a decade on, Danny is enjoying the success of having taken such a gamble at such a young age as a woman in an industry that continues to be dominated by powerful men.
Danny is a trusted advisor to a variety of Australia’s most exciting and innovative companies, in assisting them to both react to bad news and proactively design solutions so that they can achieve their biggest ambitions. Some of her work for employers includes:
- Assisting with difficult separations, where the departing employee continues to be a valued stakeholder in the business, notwithstanding their termination or separation;
- Considering structuring and skills to better gear business to achieve its objectives, with careful development of communications to bring along a change resistant team into a ‘new normal’;
- Assisting great teams to have even better attitudes towards shifting cultural norms;
- Designing solutions to assist workplaces struggling with individuals who do not align with company values, but are otherwise excellent at performing their roles;
- Navigating the confrontational and often emotional circumstances of poor employee performance or conduct; and
- Combatting applicant lawyer ‘shake downs’ when the employer has done nothing wrong.
Her expertise in employee representation makes Danny the premier choice for c-suite and executives, helping them navigate the biggest challenges of their careers. She particularly specialises in assisting very senior executives play ‘corporate survivor’. Some of Danny’s favourite matters of recent years include:
- Covertly assisting a partner in a top four accounting firm navigate the tricky politics of partnership renegotiations;
- Workshopping solutions with a partner of a top-tier law firm about overcoming unconscious bias getting in the way of her career trajectory;
- Supporting many incredible and powerful women to enhance the terms of their contracts to reflect what they would have been offered in the absence of unconscious bias;
- Working with a CEO of a major Australian company navigate a difficult separation;
- Representing a CFO of a major Australian company through very public allegations of a damaging nature and separation terms;
- Creating opportunities to separate and leverage to deploy in negotiations around terms for various executives where the employer had previously no intention of discussing separation terms; and
- Helping numerous executives the subject of bullying allegations to not only manage the initial shock of confrontation and provide a response to allegations, but to successfully navigate the difficult context that comes from being named a bully, even when fully exonerated, noting that not all circumstances require a negotiation of the employment relationship ending.
An accomplished educator who has taught in prestigious institutions, both professionally and in the course of sharing knowledge with peers, Danny has enjoyed excellent feedback on her engaging and approachable style. She values the development of and investment in the future of employment law. Some of her educational achievements include:
- Wrote, convened, and taught the employment law course for under and post-graduate students at the University of New South Wales between 2012-2019;
- Wrote and updated the employment law course for post-graduate students in the College of Law’s Masters of Law program;
- Delivered the teaching of that course continuously, with up to three sessions a year, since 2017; and
- Innumerable conference presentations on employment law topics including, mental health in the workplace, achieving age diversity in a modern context, exposures legal and HR practitioners have to accessorial liability under the Fair Work Act, and diversity in the law.
Her management approach has a strong relationship focus, believing the needs of the human are paramount. Her philosophy is to hold nothing back, and build the absolute best version of every staff member. She is committed to investing generous time and resources into the development of all her staff, and the professional development and personal investment often continues even after they no longer work for her.
She is non-judgemental in approach and well-respected for her objective outlook on all matters. Danny prides herself on being the woman you can turn to even in the face of the most difficult allegations. She is known to use the Ricky Gervais line: ‘crisistunity’. People who have worked with Danny have first-hand experience of how working to find opportunities from the darkness can really create astounding outcomes, unimaginable when in the middle of a crisis.
When she is not running the firm, Danny delights in the antics of her two young children, playing cards with her enormous family, and dabbling in creative endeavours.
Danny King speaking to Lawyers Weekly about her business philosophy, how she started Danny King Legal, the importance of being authentic, and more…