With a wife who is a fellow lawyer, you might think that dinner talk at Joe DeRuvo’s dining table would revolve around the law. And with Joe specialising in 17 different areas of dispute resolution, and his wife running a nutraceuticals manufacturing and distribution company (the science of food as medical treatment), no doubt there would be some very intriguing conversations and debates. But despite Joe’s love of the mental challenge presented by his multifaceted job, work life balance wins the day at the DeRuvo home so they leave business behind to enjoy downtime as a family.

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One regular topic of conversation at the table is the couple’s 11-year-old daughter, who attends Immanuel College, doubling as a diligent, successful student and talented, passionate athlete in pursuit of perfection.  “She is a state champion race walker, trained by an ex-Olympic coach with a number of state titles under her belt” boasts the proud Dad, “and it’s fair to say I’m fervently involved in her progress on and off the field.”

In fact, Joe admits that balancing his responsibilities at DW Fox Tucker, along with the demands of his daughter’s hectic academic and athletic schedule, has led to a drop of the ball when it comes to his own fitness regime. Until recently he religiously rode his bike to work and worked out in the gym regularly. “I’ve fell out of the habit”, he says with a wistful, slightly guilty expression, “and I’ve got to get back onto it”.

Clients & colleagues agree: Joe’s at the top of his game.

As a seasoned and successful dispute resolution lawyer, Joe thrives on developing strategies that help to reduce his clients’ exposure to liability. The keen insights derived by Joe from his years of practice, enables him to devise difficult to formulate arguments and strategies to mitigate risk. When litigation becomes unavoidable, Joe’s formidable skills in the courtroom come to the fore.

Last year Joe was rewarded for his prowess in a vote by his peers and added to the prestigious “Best Lawyer” listing, in the category of Alternative Dispute Resolution. The pride he feels at inclusion in this list is clear: “To be regarded as one of the best among 3200 lawyers across 370 Australian law firms is a true privilege”, Joe says with a modest smile.

In 2016 Joe was included in Doyle’s Guide as a “Leading Litigation & Dispute Resolution Lawyer”, a particularly treasured recognition which comes from both colleagues and clients. He quips, “One of the big things I relish about this job is that I get to meet lots of different people from many walks of life, so it’s good to know they like me as much as I like them!”

The art of being steps ahead in legal success.

Joe is known for saying that the art in his area of expertise is being three steps ahead, and it’s a tactic which has worked extremely well for his clients. In a highly distinguished 30+ year career Joe has achieved success in many milestone cases, scoring big wins for private firms, public companies, multinational corporations and government bodies alike at all levels of court, including the High Court. Many of these cases involved high-profile companies with complex and protracted proceedings, with millions or sometimes hundreds of millions of dollars in settlements or savings for his clients.

In one case, which happens to be the longest running such proceeding in Australian civil history, Joe conducted a successful appeal in the High Court to wipe off $86 million in damages for his client. It was a two year trial, but the client considers it time very well spent. Joe says simply, “Sometimes slow and steady really does win the race”.

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Another notable litigation involved a point of law passing through the three stages of the South Australian Supreme Court to a High Court appeal in just four weeks. The decision in this landmark case resulted in the High Court rewriting the law of causation and foreseeability in negligence cases.

Other career highlights include involvement in one of the largest price fixing investigations by the ACCC, and one of the most significant insolvent trading claims in Australia.

The magic, the Maldives & scuba diving.

As you can see, you don’t have to look far for reasons why Joe DeRuvo is so firmly at the forefront of his profession. But perhaps more impressive than his ability in tackling tricky legal disputes, is the simplicity of his philosophy about what’s important in life… because his pipe dream does not take place on a global legal stage, nor does it involve professional fame or notoriety.

“As a family we love to travel together, especially to beach destinations. So, if I could wave a magic wand, we’d all be living on the sand in the Maldives and scuba diving every single day”.

We haven’t got an office in the Maldives. If we ever do, Joe will be the first to know.

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Joe De Ruvo

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