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Kensington Swan

89 THE TERRACE, PO BOX 10246, WELLINGTON 6143, NEW ZEALAND
Tel:
Work +64 4 472 7877
Fax:
Fax +64 4 472 2291
DX:
DX 8007 WELLINGTON
Email:
Web:
www.kensingtonswan.com
Auckland, Wellington

New Zealand

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 3

Kensington Swan

'Response times are excellent, as is the technical skill and the level of pragmatism', says a client of Kensington Swan. The team frequently acts for financial institutions and corporates on structured finance transactions and securitisations, acquisition and development financing, and regulatory matters, as well as advising banks on the development of new products. The firm is 'focused on building relationships' and has a 'reputation for consistent and high-quality work'. An example of that work from 2017 was a NZ$125m bond issuance by Kiwi Property, in which the firm acted for trustee and programme supervisor Public Trust. 'Calm and unflappable' practice head Nicole Xanthopol led that deal and is also a key adviser to HSBC. She is 'very experienced, commercial and technically proficient as well as dedicated to client care', reports one client, while another remarks that she is 'an absolute delight to work with'. Nick Summerfield moved to Anthony Harper and Gerald Fitzgerald left to work as an independent legal consultant.

Leading individuals

Nicole Xanthopol - Kensington Swan

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Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 2

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan¬†frequently handles cross-border M&A transactions, as well as a range of domestic acquisitions, joint ventures and asset transfers for both international and local acquirers. It is particularly active in the¬†pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, food, transport and logistics, infrastructure, technology, energy and FMCG sectors. The firm has a notable Asia practice, with senior associate Aaron Patience¬†leading the Japan desk and special counsel Heida Donegan¬†leading the China business group. The firm has a strong team in Auckland, which is led by¬†David Lewis,¬†who counts Johnson & Johnson among his clients. The other key partners are¬†Nick Scott, who recently¬†handled the MBO of a company that provides loyalty and rewards programmes, and¬†Chris Parke, who acted for Persol Holdings Co in the A$778m¬†acquisition of Programmed Maintenance Services, including its NZ$90m of New Zealand assets. The firm has a strong presence in Wellington thanks to¬†David Shillson, who advised¬†Zeta Resources on a partial takeover, and¬†Martin Dalgleish. Consultant Deborah Edmunds¬†leads the¬†MńĀori business practice.

Leading individuals

David Shillson - Kensington Swan

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 2

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan¬†has a broad litigation practice that handles a wide variety disputes, including civil, commercial, competition, construction and infrastructure, defamation, MńĀori treaty and property-related matters. The firm is especially highly regarded for its work in¬†professional disciplinary investigations, infrastructure-related disputes,¬†and public law matters.¬†The firm frequently acts for international clients in their engagements with the New Zealand government and its regulatory agencies. Hayden Wilson¬†and special counsel Linda Clark¬†in Wellington acted for Rachel McGregor in settling a sexual harassment claim against former Conservative Party leader Colin Craig. The practice is led from¬†Auckland by David Campbell, who specialises in commercial and civil litigation. Newly promoted senior associate Reece Leggett¬†worked with health and safety specialist Grant Nicholson¬†to defend steel fabricator Herrick against claims alleging breaches of a joint venture agreement.

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan¬†is¬†'really responsive and proactive' and one client remarks that it it 'more proactive and thorough than some of its competitors'.¬†'The team is always quick to respond and answer questions', notes another. The firm has one of the largest trade mark filing and prosecution practices among the full service law firms, and its client base includes large domestic companies such as BurgerFuel and Crimson Education, as well as international brands such as Unilever and Danone. The 'friendly, responsive and thorough' Charlotte Henley¬†in Wellington and, in Auckland, Jenni Rutter¬†are co-heads of the practice, which is 'top class ‚Äď they are trusted advisers¬†and always go the extra mile'. Rutter is praised as 'an excellent listener who is always keep quick to identify the problem and offer solutions'. She defended¬†Merisant Company in a high-profile packaging passing-off dispute. Wellington-based senior associate¬†Campbell Featherstone¬†rejoined the firm after spending five years at¬†Goodwin¬†in London, where he handled IP and technology matters for blue-chip clients.

Leading individuals

Jenni Rutter - Kensington Swan

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Investment funds
Investment funds - ranked: tier 1

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan 'is always abreast of the latest legal developments and is able to keep customers in mind whilst having immense technical expertise and industry knowledge, and providing  responsive and strategic advice', according to one client. Another client remarks that it is 'one of the best providers of legal services in this area, with real depth of industry knowledge'. The practice is based in the firm's Wellington office, where David Ireland and Catriona Grover are the co-heads. Grover 'brings invaluable technical expertise to the table; she has outstanding business acumen with experience across all areas of retail and wholesale funds, including KiwiSaver and superannuation, and takes a lead in the ever-changing fintech arena'. Ireland has 'a high profile and is great on financial-adviser obligations and distribution agreements'. Star senior associate Tom McLaughlin is 'very impressive - always available and able to give quick and insightful advice'. The practice acted for Kiwi Wealth Limited and Kiwi Wealth Investments Limited Partnership in the establishment of the award-winning Future You financial advisory tool, which included extensive advice on regulatory compliance.

Leading individuals

Catriona Grover - Kensington Swan

David Ireland - Kensington Swan

Next generation lawyers

Tom McLaughlin - Kensington Swan

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Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 2

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan¬†has a large employment law team that is best known for its work for public sector clients; it is also sought after for its knowledge of health and safety matters. 'The service has always been of the highest calibre', remarks one client. The practice is jointly led by Greg Cain¬†in Wellington and, in Auckland, newly promoted partner Charlotte Parkhill¬†and health and safety specialist Grant Nicholson, who has 'great compassion when dealing with the workers involved and provides excellent support'. For New Zealand Transport Agency, Cain handled a claim brought by union E tŇę concerning pay increases. Nicholson and senior associate Sarah-Lee Stead¬†(who are 'extremely easy to work with') acted for supermarket retail business Linfox Logistics in a prosecution by¬†WorkSafe New Zealand, which raised important issues about the interpretation of duties.¬†Michael O‚ÄôBrien¬†also plays a key role in the practice and acted for Tru-Test Limited in a case involving a former employee who set up in competition and breached obligations of fidelity and confidentiality.

Next generation lawyers

Rachel Burt - Kensington Swan

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Projects and resource management (including environment)
Projects and resource management (including environment) - ranked: tier 1

Kensington Swan

'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.

Leading individuals

Nicky McIndoe - Kensington Swan

Paul Buetow - Kensington Swan

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Real estate and construction
Real estate and construction - ranked: tier 1

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan has 'first-class professionals and subject-matter experts' and climbs the ranking. One client remarks that it is 'my "go-to" firm for property advice - it does not procrastinate or pad out advice'. The firm is on the all of government property panel and has one of the largest specialist construction and infrastructure practices in the country. The property practice is led from Wellington by the vastly experienced John Meads and Ish Fraser, who provides 'fantastic advice and quickly becomes a trusted adviser'. Meads advised the Crown on the Wellington Accommodation project, which involves relocating government officials into refurbished office accommodation. Auckland-based Matthew Ockleston is a recognised expert in Public Works Act matters. The construction team in Auckland is led by infrastructure projects specialists Paul Buetow and Stuart Robertson, while Chris Booth has more than 20 years' experience in construction disputes. Brendan Cash is also recommended. Special counsel Michelle Hill handled the lease of 20 Viaduct Harbour Avenue for Auckland Transport and is recommended as 'truly professional and extremely diligent'. Special counsel Duncan Halliwell is 'an exceptional lawyer whose commerciality sets him apart'.

Leading individuals

John Meads - Kensington Swan

Matthew Ockleston - Kensington Swan

Next generation lawyers

Helen Brown - Kensington Swan

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Restructuring and insolvency
Restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 2

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan acts for numerous banks and insolvency practitioners, including ANZ Bank, BDO, Deloitte, BWA Insolvency and HSBC. Insolvency and litigation specialist James McMillan and banking and finance partner Nicole Xanthopol lead the team from Auckland. One client describes McMillan as 'an excellent insolvency practitioner', while another remarks that he is 'an expert in insolvency and has a natural ability to home in on exactly what his clients need'. McMillan and Senior associate Mark Broad acted for Deloitte as liquidators of HydroWorks Limited, which involved complex lease issues, the sale of assets, and considering the recovery of a contested voidable transaction. Finance partner David Shillson in Wellington also plays a key role in the practice and recently handled a complex restructuring matter for The Brightwater group of companies.

Leading individuals

James McMillan - Kensington Swan

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TMT
TMT - ranked: tier 2

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan is 'very good, very responsive and pragmatic in its approach'. It is known for its work in public and private sector procurement, consumer law, e-commerce, technology product compliance, and privacy and data protection. Hayley Miller in Auckland leads the practice and 'understands the industry well, so can provide practical advice'. For Crown Infrastructure Partners, she handled variations to the wholesale services agreements used by counterparties to the government's ultra-fast broadband infrastructure project. Tourism New Zealand is also a key client. Charlotte Henley is the key partner in Wellington and she frequently advises on the commercial aspects of innovation, technology and IP for clients in the advertising, marketing, media and technology sectors. Campbell Featherstone joined from Goodwin in London and has quickly developed a central role in the practice.

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Transport (rail, road, air and sea)
Transport (rail, road, air and sea) - ranked: tier 2

Kensington Swan

Kensington Swan's transport practice brings together specialists in construction, planning, environment, banking, corporate and property matters to work on road, ferry terminal, water reservoir, bridge, public transport, cycling infrastructure and port projects across New Zealand. The firm has a track record of involvement in most of the country's PPP projects since they were introduced in 2010, and is the only firm on the panels of both New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Transport. In Auckland, construction partner Paul Buetow is a key figure in the practice. With environment and planning partners Christina Sheard and, in Wellington, Nicky McIndoe, he advised New Zealand Transport Agency on the NCI roading project in North Auckland. Property partner Matthew Ockleston also played a key role in that work. Banking and finance partner Nicole Xanthopol and Wellington-based corporate partner David Shillson are also recommended.

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