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Former ATO heads join boutique litigation firm

Two former ATO heads have joined a litigation firm’s tax disputes practice, effective immediately.

Appointments Emma Ryan 10 November 2021
— 1 minute read

Aptum Legal has welcomed former executive director of the ATO’s litigation department and judicial registrar of the Federal Court, Tuan Van Le, and principal and senior ATO lawyer, Eric Maben, to the fold.


Mr Van Le has been appointed Aptum Legal’s practice lead (tax disputes), while Mr Maben has been appointed as a senior lawyer.

Both Mr Van Le and Mr Maben bring considerable knowledge on engaging with the ATO, both having worked at the Tax Office for over 11 and 10 years, respectively. 

The additions of Mr Van Le and Mr Maben to the team come at an integral time for Aptum’s tax disputes practice, according to Nigel Evans, managing director of Aptum Legal and former barrister at the Victorian Bar.  

“We’ve been on all sides of tax disputes: we’ve been the regulator, the client, the lawyer, the barrister, the mediator, and the decision maker. It puts us in a unique position compared to others in the market,” he said on the appointments.

Mr Van Le said he was attracted to Aptums model, which focuses on value-based fixed fee pricing and a bespoke management system.

“Aptum’s approach really resonates with us. The benefits of certainty in pricing and more effective outcomes through strategic project management are being seen in other areas of law in various forms, but not in tax disputes,” said Mr Van Le.

“I look forward to applying the Aptum model to my work, quashing the current industry perception that tax disputes are particularly difficult to navigate.

There can be a tendency for tax practitioners to talk about the ATO as being impenetrable or unreasonable – however the ATO can be easy to deal with when you understand how they work, are clear about your objective and issues in dispute, and engage with them appropriately.”

Commenting further, Mr Maben said he looks forward to combining his experience as in-house corporate counsel with a deep understanding of how to work with the ATO.

“The ATO is an organisation with objectives and priorities like any other, and this necessarily affects how it makes decisions. These are important strategic considerations for lawyers working with the ATO,” he explained.

Former ATO heads join boutique litigation firm
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Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the deputy head of content at Momentum Media and editor of the company's legal publication, Lawyers Weekly.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015 and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. In addition, she has produced exclusive multimedia and event content related to the company's respective brands and audiences.

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with key industry stakeholders across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio. She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism).