Ian Robertson attended Camberwell Grammar School for 12 years, from 1962 to 1973. He then studied law and commerce at the University of Melbourne where he resided at Queen’s College. He obtained degrees in Law and Commerce in 1978 and then commenced as an articled clerk with the Melbourne law firm Gillotts (which later merged to become part of Minter Ellison). In 1981 he was appointed the sole in-house counsel at David Syme & Co Limited, publisher of The Age newspaper and owner of a number of other media businesses. Ian’s involvement in the Australian media industry commenced at that time and has continued ever since.
In 1989 Ian joined the Melbourne law firm Holding Redlich as a Senior Associate. He became a partner the following year and, in 1994, agreed to move to Sydney to establish the firm’s Sydney office. He remains the Sydney Managing Partner of Holding Redlich and he also heads the firm’s Media, Entertainment and Communications practice.
Ian has held a number of public sector board appointments mostly related to media or the arts including Next Wave Festival—Board of Management (1989–1993), Melbourne Parks and Waterways (now called Parks Victoria)—Board Member (1994–1996), Film Australia Limited—Board Member (1991–1997) and Deputy Chair (1996–1997), Cinemedia Corporation (now called Film Victoria)—Board Member (1998–2000), Australian Broadcasting Authority— Member (1997–2004), Ausfilm International Inc—Board Member (2001–2009) and Chair (2003–2007), Screen Australia—Deputy Chair (2008–2013), and Film Victoria—President of the Board (2011 to date).
Ian is listed as Australia’s best entertainment lawyer in the peer-voted Best Lawyers List for Australia, and in March 2013 The Australian newspaper listed him as one of the 50 most influential people in the arts in Australia. He is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Ian was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australiain 2018, for distinguished service to the arts, particularly the Australian film industry through executive roles in the screen production sector, as a patron and benefactor, and to the law.