Our People

Mike McDonald – Managing Director

Mike is an Australian trained lawyer with a long and varied experience in legal practice and business.

He began his career as a lawyer in the Attorney – Generals and Defence Departments of the Australian Government serving in Darwin and Canberra during the 1970’s and gaining experience in the preparation and drafting of Government legislation, international acquisitions and disposals, treaty negotiations and preparation of legal and policy advice to Government.

Mike moved into the commercial world in 1979 becoming corporate counsel for then ASX listed Bell Group in Perth and undertaking mergers and acquisition work for the group and later becoming company secretary of ASX listed TVW Enterprises Limited and its subsidiaries and heading its financial, legal and administrative operations in Australia and the United Kingdom including TV Channels 7 in Perth, 10 in Adelaide and the ATV network in the UK.

In the mid 1980’s Mike joined CSR Ltd/Delhi Petroleum  as its General Counsel in Adelaide and following takeover of Delhi Petroleum by Esso in 1988, he founded law firm, McDonald and Co ( now known as MSM Legal) with main clients at the time being Esso and CSR Ltd. The firm is well known as specialising in the mining, oil and gas sectors as well as migration law. Mike retired as managing partner of the firm in 2011.

Mike has served as a director of a number of companies including Heathgate Resources (developer and owner of the Beverly and Four Mile uranium mines), Proscan Pty Ltd ( metal detector manufacturer), Central Australian Oil Shale P/L ( oil shale explorer),Taipan X ( opal mining company), Virginia Plains Producers ( vegetable grower and exporter), as a founder/director of listed Southern Gold Ltd, Intermet Resources and Southern Uranium and as a board member of Rostrevor College, the International Humanitarian Law Committee of the Red Cross and served as the official representative in Australia of the Liaoning Province Economic Planning Commission. Mike also currently serves as a director of the Arion Consulting Group P/L incorporated in Singapore

Following the undertaking of work for Southern Gold in Cambodia and Laos, Mike established in 2010 McDonald Steed McGrath Lao (now Arion Legal Lao) as the first Australian law firm in Laos.  The firm continues today under the ownership of Mike and fellow director Kaz Patafta and is one of the main foreign owned law firms in Laos and is linked via a co-operation agreement with the Baqian law Group based in Kunming.  Mike has been involved in acting for many foreign companies, international banks, services providers, foreign governments and the Government of Lao with respect to investment and developmental projects in Lao

Mike has been involved as legal advisor to a number start up mining projects including the Beverley Uranium Mine, the Prominent Hill Gold/Copper Mine, the Challenger Gold Mine and  Southern Gold’s mining exploration operations in Cambodia and Wyoming and was legal advisor to the South Australian Government with respect to the Virginia Irrigation Pipeline Project and the Pipelines Authority of SA with respect to interstate gas sales negotiations.

Mike continues with co-director Kaz Patafta, in the management and operations of Arion Legal in Laos in conjunction with a team of talented professional lawyers based in Vientiane.




+61 (0) 407 727 046.