Michael Callanan


Michael brings a broad commercial focus and cross-industry experience to the firm.

Admitted to practice in 1982, Michael was a partner at private law firms MF Callanan & Co, Tillyard & Callanan and Ellison Tillyard Callanan before becoming a Partner of Rankin Ellison Lawyers.

In a career spanning over 30 years, Michael has practiced primarily in the areas of Corporate and Commercial, Commercial and General litigation (including a Royal Commission and subsequent criminal prosecutions), Property Law including commercial and industrial property development, and Employment and Industrial Law.

For eight years, Michael served as Corporate Counsel and then General Counsel of a large public company with significant interests in food and beverage, retailing and marinas. In these roles, he managed the group’s company secretarial functions and the sourcing of external legal advice. Now regarded as one of Australia’s premier lawyers on issues associated with the sale, acquisition, management, and head- and sub-leasing of boating marinas, Michael has acted for clients such as hotel groups, industry bodies and investment groups in hundreds of matters.

Michael also specialises in Employment Law – particularly in the education sector, wherein he has helped to establish one of the peak bodies representing school principals. He has acted for several high-profile senior managers and office bearers claiming unfair and unlawful dismissal, securing their entitlements on termination of employment.
A keen problem solver and strategic thinker, Michael has maintained a broad client base and skills set in a time of increasing specialisation. Clients value his capacity to advise on the broader legal and commercial context in which issues can and do arise.

Memberships & Admissions

  • Supreme Court of NSW
  • Supreme Court of Victoria
  • High Court of Australia


  • Bachelor of Laws, University of Sydney, 1980
  • Bachelor of Economics, University of Sydney, 1978