Napier, Bill

Special Counsel Commercial

Bill is the Special Counsel of the national Commercial practice of AGS and was Chief Counsel until 30 September 2022. He has an extensive background in corporate and government transaction negotiation, with:

  • long-standing expertise in negotiating complex and difficult commercial assignments acting both for and opposite governments and their agencies, and including extensive lead structuring and team management experience
  • a strong multi-disciplinary background across a number of sectors, industries and disciplines
  • detailed knowledge of private-sector approaches, risk tolerances and thinking, which may assist in the development and implementation of Commonwealth negotiation and risk allocation outcomes in commercial transactions.

He has for a long time been a trusted client adviser and client relationship manager. His multi-disciplinary transaction skills encompass a uniquely broad combination of project structuring; development; banking and finance; acquisition and divestment; governance; and procurement. As a partner at Herbert Smith Freehills for more than 20 years and at US-based global law firm Jones Day for 5 years before joining AGS, Bill led legal teams advising both private and public sector stakeholders.

Bill is actively involved in business and community matters. He was the first lawyer member of the Advisory Board of Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, and is currently on the Board of Sydney Philharmonia Limited.

Relevant experience

His relevant involvements include advising the Commonwealth on:

  • many of the market-facing economic initiatives for COVID-19, including the establishment of the Australian Business Growth Fund in which the Commonwealth is a shareholder along with 6 major banks, advising Treasury on all 3 phases of its $40B Commonwealth lender guarantee schemes, and supporting the successful resolution of the Virgin Australia administration
  • the establishment of the National Housing Finance and Investment Corporation, including the development of its operational loan and security terms and the Commonwealth’s $2 billion revolving line of credit, and
  • the establishment and governance of, and transactions undertaken by, the Australian Infrastructure Financing Facility for the Pacific.

Immediately before joining the Commonwealth (in January 2018), Bill was the lead adviser to the Lendlease Group on all project structuring and development aspects of its Barangaroo South urban regeneration development project, including the renegotiation of its project arrangements with the NSW Government, and on the Crown integrated resort project.

Areas of practice

Corporate | Construction, development and infrastructure | Sovereign investments and development, including multilateral institutions | Privatisation and corporatisation | Procurement |


Master of Laws, Harvard University, 1983

Master of Laws (Hons), Victoria University (Wellington, NZ), 1983

Bachelor of Laws (Hons), Victoria University (Wellington, NZ), 1980

Bachelor of Arts, Victoria University (Wellington, NZ), 1978


Australian Financial Review ‘Best Lawyers’ in Project Finance and Development, Construction/Infrastructure and Transportation, each year from 2009 to 2018

Chambers Leading Individual: ‘… he works terrifically hard… He has remarkable skills and is also a really nice guy, and that is important when you are on a long-running deal’, 2017