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Bell Gully

HP TOWER, 171 FEATHERSTON STREET, PO BOX 1291, WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND
Tel:
Work +64 4 473 7777
Fax:
Fax +64 4 473 3845
DX:
SX 11164
Email:
Web:
http://www.bellgully.com
Auckland, Wellington

New Zealand

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

Bell Gully is 'first class and has an exceptionally strong finance team that is commercial and responsive, and provides fantastic service'. 'The advice is always spot on, every time', remarks one client. Derivatives and structured finance partner David Craig in Wellington leads the practice, which calls on experienced partners in Auckland, including securitisation expert Murray King (who has 'unparalleled knowledge of the law and years of experience at the top'), debt restructuring specialist David McPherson (who is 'always very responsive and can turn his mind to any type of deal'), and special counsel Liz Lim (who handles both debt and equity funding matters). Lim and associate Fran Burley are 'excellent assets to the practice; both have great commercial acumen'. In Wellington, Hugh Kettle advises on major infrastructure projects and finance transactions, including property finance project finance, acquisition finance and the sale and purchase of debt portfolios. The firm's highlights in 2017 included advising Fletcher Building on a NZ$750m fundraising through an underwritten offer to shareholders, and acting for HNA Group in the financing of its NZ$660m acquisition of UDC Finance from ANZ Bank.

Leading individuals

David Craig - Bell Gully

David McPherson - Bell Gully

Murray King - Bell Gully

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Competition law
Competition law - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

Bell Gully advises on the competition law aspects of large mergers and acquisitions and also handles high-profile litigation. Practice head and leading light Torrin Crowther recently obtained Commerce Commission clearance for Tronox in its US$1.67bn acquisition of rival titanium dioxide producer Cristal. Special counsel Glenn Shewan, who is on the board of the Competition Law and Policy Institute, also played a key role in that transaction. Crowther and senior associate Michael Tilley, who recently joined from the Commerce Commission, advised software developer MYOB, on its proposed acquisition of accounting software firm Reckon Limited. Simon Ladd is the key name for contentious matters and alongside Crowther advised US-based investment firm Platinum Equity on its proposed acquisition of business products supplier OfficeMax NZ from Office Depot. Head of litigation Jenny Stevens in Wellington also plays a key role in the practice, particularly for clients in the energy sector.

Leading individuals

Simon Ladd - Bell Gully

Torrin Crowther - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Glenn Shewan - Bell Gully

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Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

Bell Gully is 'extremely proactive with best-in-class knowledge and an understanding of the realities of the business world', according to one client, who adds that 'the team really goes above and beyond to meet our needs'. 'The pre-eminent law firm in New Zealand for a reason - consistently a class above its peers', remarks another. In Auckland, Anna Buchly and James Gibson 'stand out as fantastic to work with - they think of everything'. They advised US-based Platinum Equity on the acquisitions of Staples Australasia and OfficeMax Australasia. Brynn Gilbertson advised Fletcher Building on a NZ$750m underwritten offer to shareholders. Also recommended are corporate law specialist Glenn Joblin, who handled AIA's A$3.8bn acquisition of insurer Sovereign, and 'has excellent knowledge of the market and is a very trusted adviser'; Toby Sharpe, who advised Gentrack on its NZ$79m acquisition of Junifer Systems; Chris Goddard, who is 'extremely client-centric and brings a diligent manner to the matters he works on'; and 'highly capable' senior associate Jennifer Coote. In Wellington, public law expert Simon Watt and deputy practice head Amon Nunns are respected partners.

Leading individuals

Anna Buchly - Bell Gully

Brynn Gilbertson - Bell Gully

Glenn Joblin - Bell Gully

James Gibson - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Jennifer Coote - Bell Gully

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

Bell Gully has a large dispute resolution team that is 'easy to deal with and provides both timely advice and good value for money'. The firm handles a range of disputes work, including commercial litigation, banking and finance litigation, class actions, commissions of inquiry, corporate and competition regulatory investigations and much more. Practice head Jenny Stevens in Wellington represented Danone Group in all issues arising from the Fonterra whey protein concentrate contamination crisis in August 2013, which included a private commercial arbitration. Highlights for key partners included Auckland-based David Friar's work for Southern Response Earthquake Services in a class action brought by the claims management company's customers, and Sophie East's defence of former directors of insolvent company Feltex against claims alleging misleading statements. Also recommended are the 'level-headed, measured' Simon Ladd; veteran partners Ian Gault and Alan Ringwood; Tim Fitzgerald, who advised Bryanston Pte. on a large property dispute; newly promoted partner Jesse Wilson; senior associate Rebecca Rose; and Wellington-based Tim Smith.

Leading individuals

Ian Gault - Bell Gully

Jenny Stevens - Bell Gully

Simon Ladd - Bell Gully

Sophie East - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Jesse Wilson - Bell Gully

Rebecca Rose - Bell Gully

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Insurance
Insurance - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

At Bell Gully, 'the service is excellent, with appropriate and experienced resource to meet deadlines'. One client notes that 'the advice is always on-point and easily understood, and clients get the benefit of extensive depth of knowledge and experience across all legal disciplines'. In Auckland, experienced litigators David Friar and  Simon Ladd (who is 'strategically very savvy; his advice is clear and well considered') co-lead the practice. Friar's recent work included acting for Southern Response in a class action that included two High Court hearings and one Court of Appeal hearing. Ladd represented a panel of insurers, including Vero and AIG, in the defence of claims brought by Lincoln University arising from the Canterbury earthquakes. Glenn Joblin frequently advises insurance sector clients on M&A transactions and regulatory matters, as well as handling insurance issues for large corporates. For AIA International, he handled the acquisition of the Sovereign Life insurance business. 'Intelligent and clear-thinking' commercial litigation partner Jesse Wilson is also recommended, having advised key clients including Tower Insurance.

Leading individuals

David Friar - Bell Gully

Simon Ladd - Bell Gully

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Intellectual property
Intellectual property - ranked: tier 2

Bell Gully

Bell Gully is 'top notch', according to one client, who adds: 'I would not recommend another law firm'. The firm handles high-profile disputes and commercial transactions, which last year included advising Downer New Zealand on the IP aspects of its agreement to acquire the construction, infrastructure and project management businesses of Hawkins, and acting for HNA Group on the IP aspects of its acquisition of UDC Finance from ANZ Bank. Senior associate Sooyun Lee in Auckland, who provides 'very high-quality trade mark advice and is commercially strong', handled those matters. Litigation partner Tania Goatley specialises in media, advertising, privacy law and IP matters. Ian Gault also handles IP disputes as part of a broad litigation practice and frequently acts for Reckitt Benckiser in trade mark opposition and infringement cases. Alan Ringwood in Wellington leads the practice and frequently handles brand registration, infringement matters, trade mark oppositions and trade mark maintenance for Unilever plc.

Leading individuals

Alan Ringwood - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Sooyun Lee - Bell Gully

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Investment funds
Investment funds - ranked: tier 2

Bell Gully

Bell Gully¬†is 'a top NZ commercial law firm' with an experienced multi-disciplinary practice that acts for¬†issuers such as ANZ Bank and AMP, and supervisory organisations including New Zealand Guardian Trust and Covenant Trustee Company. Corporate and banking partner Haydn Wong¬†in Auckland leads the practice and advises some of New Zealand‚Äôs largest fund managers and trustees on funds management, KiwiSaver, superannuation and insurance matters. His recent highlights include assisting NgńĀti Awa Group Holdings on the establishment of an iwi direct investment fund to help¬†MńĀori groups diversify their portfolios and access direct investment opportunities.¬†Amon Nunns¬†in Wellington acts for Stride Property Group, which controls one of New Zealand‚Äôs largest diversified investment property portfolios.¬†Special counsel Sarah McQueen¬†and senior associate Katie Dow¬†in Auckland also specialise in financial services law, with managed funds matters constituting a large proportion of their workload. Rachel Paris left the firm to start a blockchain consultancy.

Leading individuals

Haydn Wong - Bell Gully

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Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

For one client, Bell Gully is 'the best by a long way - it has a great team and offers pragmatic advice'. The employment practice, which has close ties with international firms including Herbert Smith Freehills and Ashurst, supports clients in large M&A transactions, as well as handling standalone employment work including Holiday Act matters. Rob Towner in Auckland leads the team and clients describe him as 'exceptional - commercial and pragmatic'. Towner, key partner Tim Clarke and senior associate Liz Coats recently acted for Lyttelton Port Company, which operates one of the country’s major ports, in litigation arising from collective bargaining with the Maritime Union and the Rail and Maritime Transport Union. Senior associate Rosemary Wooders, who joined the Auckland office from Macfarlanes LLP in London, has extensive experience in both advisory and contentious matters, including collective bargaining and restraints of trade. Wellington-based partner Rachael Brown is a leading light in the market and recently advised New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing on health and safety issues.

Leading individuals

Rachael Brown - Bell Gully

Rob Towner - Bell Gully

Tim Clarke - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Liz Coats - Bell Gully

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

Bell Gully

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.

Leading individuals

Andrew Beatson - Bell Gully

Chris Gordon - Bell Gully

Hugh Kettle - Bell Gully

Simon Watt - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Claire Harmsworth - Bell Gully

Natasha Garvan - Bell Gully

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

Bell Gully

Bell Gully¬†'provides high levels of service, its responsiveness is consistently excellent and the firm has real depth and breadth of property law expertise coupled with sound commercial acumen'. In Auckland, real estate practice head¬†Andrew Petersen¬†is 'highly responsive and displays excellent commercial judgement'. He advised TńĀmaki Redevelopment on the development of a mixed tenure housing project that was converted from social housing.¬†Karl Anderson¬†and Wellington-based¬†Hugh¬† Kettle¬†also played key roles. Among the firm's standout practitioners are¬†Jane Holland,¬†who handled an acquisition for Vital Healthcare Property Trust,¬†Simon Ladd¬†and construction, infrastructure and local government specialist Tom Bennett,¬†who is 'a star - his expertise in the construction area makes him a top lawyer, and he is pragmatic, effective and conscientious'.¬†David Chisnall¬†is among the most experienced¬†commercial property partners in the country. 'Thorough-yet-pragmatic' special counsel Sally Whincop¬†and senior associates¬†Ian Becke¬†and¬†Paula Ormandy¬†are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Andrew Petersen - Bell Gully

David Chisnall - Bell Gully

Jane Holland - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Ian Becke - Bell Gully

Paula Ormandy - Bell Gully

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Restructuring and insolvency
Restructuring and insolvency - ranked: tier 2

Bell Gully

Bell Gully in Auckland frequently advises leading banks such as ASB, ANZ Bank and Bank of New Zealand, as well as accounting firms and receivers including PwC, McGrathNicol, Deloitte and BDO, on some of the largest contentious and non-contentious insolvency matters in the market. For instance, practice head David McPherson is currently acting for KordaMentha as administrator of ten companies in the CBL Group; this is one of the most high-profile matters of 2018, given the complexity of the group structure and the importance of the companies to the insurance and reinsurance market. Litigator and senior associate Nick Moffatt is also playing a central role in that matter. The other key partner in the practice is Tim Fitzgerald, who acted for Ferrier Hodgson as receivers of DSE, which is the New Zealand arm of the Dick Smith group of electronics retail companies. McPherson and Fitzgerald also acted for KordaMentha in all aspects of the receivership of Stonewood Homes Limited.

Leading individuals

David McPherson - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Nick Moffatt - Bell Gully

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TMT
TMT - ranked: tier 2

Bell Gully

Bell Gully has a broad practice that has experts in technology and media matters, including emerging technologies such as blockchain. The firm acted for Centrality Investments, which supports app developers, in the world’s first token generating event - the blockchain equivalent of an IPO - which raised the Ethereum equivalent of $80m in just six minutes. Practice head Dean Oppenhuis in Wellington led that deal and focuses on technology procurement and implementation in both the private and public sectors. The firm also advised virtual and augmented reality company 8i on commercial contracts. Auckland-based media lawyer and litigation partner Alan Ringwood assisted NZME Publishing and Mediaworks with a test case concerning the use of sports video clips by the news media. Newly promoted partner Laura Littlewood handles M&A transactions involving significant IP and technology assets, though her work also encompasses advice on data and strategic IT platforms. IP litigation partner Tania Goatley is also strong in media, advertising and privacy law.

Leading individuals

Dean Oppenhuis - Bell Gully

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Tax
Tax - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

Bell Gully's dedicated tax practice in Auckland is 'the best in the market - highly technically proficient, timely and great value for money'. The firm handles the tax elements of large corporate transactions, precedent-setting tax disputes and a large volume of indirect tax and customs and excise matters. Practice head Mathew McKay is 'technically brilliant, the best in New Zealand - there is no one better to argue complex tax technical issues'. McKay and rising star senior associate Hayden Roberts assisted Vodafone with all tax aspects of its proposed NZ$3.4bn merger with Sky Network Television. McKay and Graham Murray advised HNA Group on its NZ$660m acquisition of asset finance business UDC Finance. Willy Sussman is New Zealand’s only specialist indirect tax lawyer, focusing on GST, VAT and customs and excise duty. He acted for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing in a dispute with the Inland Revenue. Jarrod Walker and senior associate Campbell Pentney are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Matthew McKay - Bell Gully

Willy Sussman - Bell Gully

Next generation lawyers

Campbell Pentney - Bell Gully

Hayden Roberts - Bell Gully

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Transport (rail, road, air and sea)
Transport (rail, road, air and sea) - ranked: tier 1

Bell Gully

Bell Gully is 'very prompt in responding to questions and has a good communication style, so it relates well with clients' and provides 'very good value for money and good industry knowledge, as it is up-to-date with the latest case law'. The firm acts for Air New Zealand, the country's leading airline, handles large roading projects, and also advises on rail and maritime matters. In Wellington, Andrew Beatson, PPP expert Hugh Kettle and construction partner Hugh Kettle acted for New Zealand Transport Agency and Auckland Transport as part of the Supporting Growth Alliance, which will focus on the development of urban growth areas in Auckland until 2022. The 'personable, pragmatic and conscientious' Bennett is 'a top operator and an authority on the public transport sector; coupled with his expertise in the construction area this makes him formidable'. In Auckland, department head Torrin Crowther is recommended for competition law matters in the aviation and shipping sectors. Senior associate Natasha Garvan is also recommended for environment and resource management matters relating to transport projects.

Leading individuals

Tom Bennett - Bell Gully

Torrin Crowther - Bell Gully

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Legal Developments by:
Bell Gully

  • Comprehensive overhaul of the RMA announced

    The Government announced on 24 July that it has launched a comprehensive overhaul of the Resource Management Act (RMA) by setting up a review panel to conduct a wide-ranging review of the entire resource management system.
    - Bell Gully

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