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New Zealand > Projects and resource management (including environment) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Projects and resource management (including environment)
  2. Leading individuals
  3. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Bell Gully provides 'excellent service and thoughtful advice and understands the commercial imperatives'. 'The advice mirrors clients' strategic objectives and delivers the outcomes they seek'. Its work encompasses complex projects in the private and public sectors, energy and natural resources matters, and environmental law for clients including Auckland Transport and Crown Infrastructure Partners. In Wellington, projects specialists Hugh Kettle and David Chisnall lead the practice, and key partner Andrew Beatson has 'excellent legal knowledge coupled with commercial acumen; he is strong at finding solutions to unique situations'. Energy partners David Coull and Chris Gordon (who 'quickly identifies the key issues and is always calm and solution-focused'), and public law expert Simon Watt are standout practitioners. Senior associates Claire Harmsworth, the 'helpful, commercial' Toni Forrest and the 'thorough, lovely-to-deal-with' Angela Harford are also recommended. In Auckland, infrastructure partner Tom Bennett stands out for his work regarding Auckland’s transport infrastructure. 'Her advice is both concise and exact, and she turns work around very quickly and efficiently', say clients of senior associate Natasha Garvan.

Buddle Findlay¬†is 'one of the top-tier performers in this area', according to one client. The firm brings together expertise in finance, construction, property, resource management, regulatory matters, taxation and corporate law in its advice to clients such as the Electricity Authority, Contact Energy and Auckland Council.¬†In Auckland, resource management expert Patrick Mulligan¬†is co-head of the resource management and environmental law practice and has more than 20 years' experience in litigation.¬†Jennifer Caldwell¬†has extensive experience as a specialist litigator in the Environment Court, High Court and Court of Appeal, and advises¬†Western Bay of Plenty District Council on planning matters. She worked with Mulligan to obtain consents for the East West Link project, acting on behalf of New Zealand Transport Agency. Auckland-based projects partner Peter Owles¬†recently advised Ormat Technologies as a contractor on a new geothermal generation facility at Ngawha.¬†In Wellington, environment and MńĀori law practice head Paul Beverley¬†and key partner David Allen¬†are recommended, as is¬†Alanya Limmer¬†in Christchurch.¬†Senior associate Frances Wedde¬†is a rising star.

Chapman Tripp delivers 'service of a high standard and has extensive industry knowledge and experience, which is invaluable'. The firm handles high-profile projects for clients including New Zealand Transport Agency, Mercury Energy, Shell, Powerco, Z Energy and Queenstown Airport Corporation. The practice is led by three partners - head of the Auckland environment team Paula Brosnahan, energy and natural resources specialist Catherine Somerville-Frost and head of construction Brian Clayton - who are all based in Auckland. Clayton assisted Solomon Islands Electricity Authority, Solomon Islands Government and International Finance Corporation with the Tina River Hydropower project, which involves the development of a new 15MW hydro power plant with the capacity to upgrade to 20MW. Christchurch-based litigator Jo Appleyard has more than 25 years’ experience in providing strategic advice on environmental and resource management issues. She acted for Lyttelton Port Company in three large consenting projects in the South Island, including the channel deepening in Lyttelton Harbour. Wellington-based Josh Blackmore, who is co-head of the energy and natural resources practice, is also recommended.

'The level of service has been of a very high calibre', remarks a client of Kensington Swan. The firm climbs the ranking having been involved in most of the PPP projects undertaken in New Zealand, and its key work on strategic projects for clients such as New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Transport. In Auckland, infrastructure projects partner Paul Buetow is adviser to the Executive Council of Civil Contractors New Zealand and was on the board of Infrastructure New Zealand for more than six years. For New Zealand Transport Agency, Buetow and environment and planning specialists Christina Sheard and Wellington-based Nicky McIndoe handled the consenting and pre-construction stages of the NCI roading project, which will complete the Western Ring Route. One client describes McIndoe as 'very responsive and very easy to work with on quite difficult matters'. Also recommended in Auckland are public works expert Matthew Ockleston, who handled key aspects of the improvements to State Highway 1; corporate partners Chris Parke and David Shillson; and newly promoted partner Marija Batistich. Senior associate Frances Weddeis has moved to Buddle Findlay.

'Their service has been of the highest order in terms of both their skill and expertise and the appropriateness of their advice', says client of MinterEllisonRuddWatts. The firm is regarded as a leading player in construction, infrastructure, resource management and environmental matters, having been involved in key developments including the Central Plains Water project and Auckland City Rail Link. In Auckland, environmental law specialist Rachel Devine co-leads the practice with energy and infrastructure partner Sarah Sinclair. Devine 'acts decisively as well as in a sensitive manner', according to one client. She recently acted for Mercury Energy in the the New Zealand Transport Agency’s proposed East West Link, which would put a road and cycleway close to a gas-fired power station. Sinclair and infrastructure expert Tom Fail (who is 'a top banking lawyer who really understands the key issues - you want him on your side') advised Westpac on the financing of large irrigation projects in Canterbury. Senior associate Travis Tomlinson is also recommended, as are Wellington-based energy and resources partner Paul Foley and special counsel Clare Sinnott.

'The level of service is generally superior', says a client of Simpson Grierson, who notes that 'this is the firm for high-level work of strategic importance'. The firm's work encompasses a vast range of industry sectors, including telecoms, transport, water, energy and mining. In Auckland, Padraig McNamara leads the practice, which calls on leading lights such as Bill Loutit, whom one client calls 'the standout partner in this space; he has long experience and good knowledge'. They are working with Auckland Council and Panuku Development Auckland on consenting for infrastructure for the 2021 America's Cup. Heather Ash, who leads the local government and environment group, advised Tauranga City Council on the Southern Pipeline wastewater project that requires the construction of a large trunk main. Also recommended are construction partner Michael Weatherall and, in Wellington, special counsel Dave Trueman. Also in Wellington, Matt Conway and James Winchester are standout practitioners. Sarah Scott in Christchurch is recommended for strategic planning and policy matters, as well as large infrastructure and utilities projects.

Anderson Lloyd has a market-leading PPP and mining practice, and notable expertise in banking and finance, corporate, environmental, construction, real estate and insolvency issues. It counts among its clients Foodstuffs South Island, Tilt Renewables and Birchfield Coal Mines. David Holden in Auckland and Maree Baker-Galloway in Queenstown are heads of the resource management and projects team. Holden has advised consortia on all of New Zealand's PPP projects to date. Baker-Galloway, who counts the Department of Conservation among her clients, is an expert in planning and environmental law. Auckland-based energy and infrastructure partner Anton Trixl and key partner David Goodman in Christchurch acted for Waimea Community Dam Limited in the construction of a dam and reservoir, handling negotiations between key stakeholders including Tasman District Council, Crown Irrigation Investments and Waimea Irrigators Limited. Consultant Jen Crawford in Christchurch is also recommended.

Chancery Green in Auckland is a specialist firm that focuses on resource management, environmental law, major projects and climate change matters. It has a track record of consenting complex and often controversial projects in industry sectors such as energy, forestry, commercial and residential property, and coastal developments. Its most significant work concerns renewable energy generation, oil and gas fracking, telecoms and large-scale subdivision and housing projects. The team assisted Refining NZ with progressing its Crude Shipping Project to dredge the Whangarei Harbour channel to allow larger cargoes to access its refinery more efficiently. Chris Simmons and respected environmental lawyer Karen Price were the key lawyers involved. Another highlight saw it secure resource consents for Tilt Renewables in relation to its Waverley Wind Farm in South Taranaki and the associated 110kV transmission line. Jason Welsh and associate Steve Mutch handled that work.

DLA Piper New Zealand's resource management and environment practice acts primarily for government and local government clients, though it also handles significant work for private sector clients. The firm is a key adviser to Auckland Council on local and national planning documents and policy, development projects, consenting and enforcement matters, as well matters in the District Court, Environment Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. Stephen Quinn in Wellington leads the practice. He recently advised the Department of Corrections on the environmental approvals required for the expansion of Waikeria Prison in Waikato. Senior associate Emma Manohar also played a key role in that work. Kerry Anderson jointly leads the RMA practice in Wellington with Quinn and frequently advises Auckland Council. In a recent matter, she acted for Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council in a major roading project, handling the implementation of consents for the Transmission Gully. Diana Hartley in Auckland is highly recommended, particularly for urban growth and intensification matters, rural issues and infrastructure projects. Senior associate Anne Buchanan also has significant expertise in resource management and local government law.

Russell McVeagh brings together expertise in energy, resource management and litigation to handle resource consents (particularly for large-scale water, transport infrastructure, utility, residential development and quarry projects); environmental law reform; energy projects, including oil and gas exploration and renewable energy; and electricity transmission. Auckland-based Cameron Law has almost 20 years' experience in transport and public sector projects and is co-head of the practice along with Wellington-based energy and mining specialist Mei Fern Johnson. Johnson's recent work includes assisting New Zealand Bus with its adoption of electric-powered technology for urban buses. Allison Arthur-Young is a leading light in resource management and local government law. She advised Precinct Properties New Zealand on the redevelopment of the Downtown Shopping Centre in Auckland into the Commercial Bay high-rise office tower. Environmental specialist Bronwyn Carruthers is another standout practitioner and she advised Watercare Services on the North Harbour 2 watermain project. Daniel Minhinnick is also recommended.

Wynn Williams in Christchurch climbs the ranking on the strength of its client roster, which includes Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the reputation of its key lawyers. Philip Maw leads the practice and is 'fantastic - thorough, concise and responsive'. Lucy de Latour specialises in resource management as well as environmental and local government law, focusing primarily on freshwater management and the Canterbury rebuild, as well as retail, commercial and industrial development projects. Maw and de Latour acted for the Environmental Protection Authority's Board of Inquiry to examine resource consent and designations for the East West Link Motorway Extension in Auckland. They also advised Canterbury Regional Council on the development of and hearings on changes to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan. Senior associate Michelle Mehlhopt and associate Kirstie Wyss (who is 'friendly, professional and incredibly clear and competent') are rising stars.

Atkins Holm Majurey¬†in Auckland is a widely respected firm for environmental law. Its work encompasses¬†high-level marine and resource consenting processes, central government inquiries, plan changes and submissions on key environmental legislation. Its recent highlights include acting for¬†Tasman Resources in a four-day High Court hearing in relation to seven appeals brought against the Environmental Protection Authority's consent for offshore iron sand mining. The firm is currently representing¬†the interests of developer Cooper and Company in matters relating to the impact of Auckland's City Rail Link project. Another key matter saw the practice¬†secure a successful outcome through a consent review process relating to noise compliance issues arising from windfarms near Palmerston North. Renowned RMA lawyer Helen Atkins, public law partner¬†Mike Holm, Treaty of Waitingi expert Paul Majurey¬†and MńĀori law specialist Tama Hovell¬†are all highly recommended.

Tompkins Wake handles environmental and resource management matters for local government authorities, large corporate farming entities and private clients. The firm's practitioners are based at the firm's Hamilton office, where environment, resource management and local government specialists Bridget Parham, the 'technically brilliant' Theresa Le Bas and newly promoted partner Marianne Mackintosh are recommended for resource consents, plan changes and due diligence. Clients remark that 'response times are excellent and the firm is both great value for money and has very good knowledge of the topics'. It is praised for its 'excellent knowledge of RMA and local government matters, on which it provides sage advice that is pragmatic and practical'. Mackintosh recently represented Otorohanga District Council in an Environment Court hearing regarding alterations to the designation for the Waikeria Prison facility.

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