Vlad Vishney, a construction-disputes specialist at Mills Oakley, has had a varied career that serves him well in his present roles.
After 20 years working as a builder and developer in construction, including the $250 million upgrade of Sydney airport and the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick, a career in law simply made sense to Vlad Vishney.
At age 45, he graduated with a juris doctor degree from UTS (on top of four years’ study in architecture and a Bachelor of Building from UNSW). Then he went looking for work in law.
“Working in law was never about the money for me,” says Vishney, now 51.
“I was fortunate to make enough money in my early days of building. Some people go out and buy Ferraris and boats, but for me it was about taking the opportunity to go and get an education in something I enjoy. I really love being able to exercise my brain muscle.”
Vishney joined Mills Oakley and is now a senior associate in the building, construction and infrastructure team, working in construction disputes.
He took the role on the proviso it was part-time so he had time to enjoy the heritage-listed 1950s modernist home in St Ives on Sydney’s north shore, which he and his interior designer wife, Regina, have transformed.
He also works as an adjudicator under the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payments Act, a jurisdiction in construction law that allows for a private adjudication.
“It’s a statutory power to adjudicate payment disputes,” Vishney explains.
“They send me papers from claimants and respondents and my job is to assess them and draft a determination as to how much the payments should be. It’s terrific to use my experience in the building industry and combine it with law.”
“I was eight when my family arrived in Sydney from Russia. We are Jewish and we moved because of religious discrimination. My mother had been a public prosecutor in Odessa, which used to be in the USSR but is now in Ukraine. My father was a civil engineer so we arrived on the skilled migration program.