Firm Profile > Dentons Kensington Swan > Wellington, New Zealand

Dentons Kensington Swan
89 THE TERRACE
PO BOX 10246
WELLINGTON 6143
New Zealand

New Zealand > Real estate and construction Tier 1

Dentons Kensington Swan brings together expertise in construction, projects, environmental law, planning, finance and China-related matters to provide strategic advice on major projects across the country. The work of the infrastructure group encompasses consenting, property acquisitions, procurement and dispute resolution. Frequently involved in major PPP projects, it acts for a diverse range of clients, among them special purpose vehicles, design and construct contractors, operators, facilities maintenance contractors and equity funders. Matthew Ockleston and infrastructure project specialist Paul Buetow in Auckland lead the property, real estate and construction group, in which Paula Ormandy is also recommended. Ish Fraser and industry veteran John Meads in Wellington are leading lights in the market and special counsel Helen Brown stands out for contentious construction matters.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

New Zealand Transport Agency

Ministry of Social Development

Grand Complex Properties Limited

Universal Homes Limited

Pro-Invest Group

Tāmaki Regeneration Limited

PMG Capital

Fletcher Building Limited

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Limited

Oji Fibre Solutions

Downer New Zealand

CPB Contractors/ CIMIC

Leighs Construction

Auckland Transport

Naylor Love

Ghella Limited

Calibre

Hawkins 2017

CentrePort

New Zealand > Transport (rail, road, air and sea) Tier 1

Dentons Kensington Swan has a deep multi-disciplinary practice that assists key players in the transport sector on major projects. The firm's work encompasses construction, environment, planning corporate, banking and property matters. The infrastructure group, which has extensive experience in PPP projects, has a diverse client base that includes design and construction contractors, facilities maintenance contractors, equity funders and government bodies. It is particularly well known for its in-depth knowledge of the Public Works Act and the processes for the acquisition of land and assessment of compensation. The three lead partners are real estate expert Matthew Ockleston and infrastructure partner Paul Buetow in Auckland, and planning and environment specialist Nicky McIndoe in Wellington.

Key clients

New Zealand Transport Agency

Ministry of Social Development

Grand Complex Properties Limited

Universal Homes Limited

Pro-Invest Group

Tāmaki Regeneration Limited

PMG Capital

Fletcher Building Limited

Fisher & Paykel Appliances Limited

Oji Fibre Solutions

Downer New Zealand

CPB Contractors/ CIMIC

Leighs Construction

Auckland Transport

Naylor Love

Ghella Limited

Calibre

Hawkins 2017

CentrePort

New Zealand > Corporate and M&A Tier 2

The corporate and commercial practice at Dentons Kensington Swan is 'willing to walk the extra mile to strive to understand our business concerns and needs', remarks one client. In early 2020, the firm finalised its merger to become part of the global network of Dentons, which enhances its role in large-scale and cross-border transactions. It also handles significant domestic M&A deals and joint ventures. It frequently acts for NZX- and ASX-listed companies on IPOs, equity offerings and takeovers, as well as major capital raisings and vendor due diligence processes. Practice head Nick Scott resides in Auckland, where Chris Parke and David Lewis are key practitioners. Heida Donegan's role as head of Asia business brings in inbound transactions from China and other Asian countries. Korean speaker Wook Jin Lee joined from Harmos Horton Lusk Limited. David Shillson and Martin Dalgleish are the lead partner in Wellington.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘They are very professional, commercial and easy to work with. They always give us timely and comprehensive advice. They are willing to walk the extra mile to strive to understand our business concerns and needs. On balance, they are more patient and attentive to detail than lawyers from other firms we used to engage.’

‘Heida Donegan is our “go-to” partner at Dentons Kensington Swan. She is highly approachable, solution-oriented and commercial. She always gives practical and accurate advice. She also has great sense of humour. We enjoy working with Heida and her team. Their work has all along been first-class!’

‘The team is quite professional and resourceful in helping us tackle those deals. They excel in NZ laws and those related to Maori land and good at protecting our interests in those deals.’

‘Dr. Heida Donegan is very professional, devoted, resourceful in assisting our investments in NZ. She is excellent in client communication and expertise in cross-border M&A deals and engaged in recognition of any legal risks for us and providing related optimal legal solutions.’

‘Chris Parke shows convincing logic and provides business-oriented and practical advice, as well as dedication to clients. Also he knows how to deal with meticulous Japanese clients.’

‘The team always provides outstanding and timely advice. They are not only professional, but also commercial. They are highly engaged in both domestic and cross-border corporate transactions . They produced first-class results for us and our shareholders.’

Heida Donegan and her team are all stars – highly committed and dedicated to solving problems and finding solutions for clients. Heida is our trusted advisor to our business. She always provides thoughtful and well-balanced guidance and advice on complex business issues. Her team’s efficient and pragmatic legal support has proven to be invaluable to the success of our business.’

Key clients

Johnson & Johnson

Resimac Limited

Downer

CentrePort Wellington

Danone

Oji Fibre Solutions

Guangxi Fenglin Wood Industry Group

Massey University

ICM Limited

Shiseido Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.

New Zealand > Dispute resolution Tier 2

They are empathetic and demonstrate care in how they go about their work‘, says a client of the dispute resolution group at Dentons Kensington Swan, adding that ‘they are obviously skilled at what they do, but it is the holistic approach they bring that sets them apart from other firms‘. The firm is widely recognised for its skill in government, regulatory, infrastructure and competition litigation, though it also handles corporate disputes, defamation, Māori treaty, private client, real estate, relationship property and trades practices matters. Firm chair David Campbell in Auckland and commercial and public law litigation partner Hayden Wilson in Wellington lead the practice. Auckland-based senior associate Reece Leggett is recommended for competition and consumer protection matters.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Bioxyne Limited

NZ Transport Agency

Ministry of Social Development

Tourism NZ

Engineering New Zealand

New Zealand Medical Council

Pharmacy Council of New Zealand

Serco New Zealand / Serco Asia Pacific

The Herrick Corporation

Crimson Consulting Limited

New Zealand > Intellectual property Tier 2

The 'excellence of technical ability is evident' in the IP group at Dentons Kensington Swan 'but also its client service, ability to communicate and to understand the real world applications of trade marks'. The firm has one of the largest trade mark filing and prosecution practices of any full-service firm in New Zealand, though it also handles a diverse mix of a contentious and commercial IP matters for international companies making inbound investments and domestic companies expanding abroad. Jenni Rutter in Auckland is 'able to simplify and explain the strategy as well as the technical and pragmatic aspects', and Charlotte Henley in Wellington, co-lead the practice. Associate Nadia Ormiston joined from Baldwins, which is now part of AJ Park.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The world of international trade marks is complex for those outside it and at times appears to defy logic, particularly when looking globally. Jenni Rutter was able to really humanise this for us and give advice that felt both right-sized for the organisation and would future proof it. She was able to simplify and explain the strategy as well as the technical and pragmatic aspects and understood our limitations of budget. I had not been through the trade mark process before and she was answered my many questions with patience, intelligence and a really feeling of putting us, the client, at the heart of it. As a charity, the trade mark process was one of prioritisation with funds so Jenni gave us advice to help us prioritise the funds we had set aside for this. I have complete confidence in Jenni’s ability to guide us through this process, provide outstanding advice that we could make decisions with and also set expectations clearly. She is always professional but also warm and genuinely interested in our organisations growth and work.’

Key clients

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand

Merisant Company

Danone Group

Tourism New Zealand

Kellogg Company

Cisco Technology, Inc.

T&G Global Ltd

Aranz Geo Limited (now Seequent Limited)

Meteorological Service of New Zealand Limited (MetService)

Shott Beverages Limited

BurgerFuel

New Zealand Transport Agency

Lewis Road Creamery Limited

Airways New Zealand

Calvin Klein, Inc

Centrality Investments Limited

Crimson Consulting Limited

New Zealand > Investment funds Tier 2

Dentons Kensington Swan 'provides excellent technical legal advice, while being commercially pragmatic'. The firm has a strong domestic and trans-Tasman client base, which includes large and boutique funds. It has also been closely involved in Financial Markets Conduct Act reforms, notably the proposed Financial Markets Services Legislation Amendment, and it frequently assists clients with innovative projects in the emerging fintech market. A significant proportion of the firm's work stems from Australia and other offshore markets. The team has highly respected specialists in David Ireland  and Catriona Grover  in Wellington, who are the lead partners in the practice. Senior associate Tom McLaughlin  is also recommended.

Other key lawyers:

Tom McLaughlin

Testimonials

‘This team provide excellent technical legal advice, while being commercially pragmatic. The people in the team are very easy to work with.’

‘They are extremely easy to deal with with clear communication even when advising on complex matters. They add value with their advice, often picking up angles we hadn’t considered, and are always across what’s going on in the industry and how the ever changing regulatory environment may impact our business. The technical expertise is top-notch.’

‘Overall, the team has real depth and when key people are not available which can be irritating at other places there seems to be always someone able to fill in. Well trained, the new lawyers are always very well versed In what’s required by the time we met them. There is always someone to help.’

‘Cat Grover is the primary partner on most of our work. She is truly a star, always across what‘a happening In the industry and how it impacts what we are doing. She provides useful and timely insights around the changing regulatory environment. At the forefront of FinTech changes and the line we can walk to be compliant yet maintain a culture of innovation. We have recently briefed her about the beginning stages of a number of high-profile projects and her assistance already has been invaluable, helping the team navigate through an area that they were not familiar with.’

‘David Ireland is an expert on adviser regulations and the ongoing changes in that area. Always great when we need him and full of useful insights.’

Tom McLaughlin is the best non-partner lawyer I’ve ever worked with – more impressive than a fair share of partners also!. He is smart, business-aware, across all aspects of the industry and has outstanding technical knowledge. People from all levels in our business love working with Tom, he makes law seem easy – which is quite the achievement.’

‘The firm has strength and depth with extensive specialist knowledge coverage across the business.’

‘Friendly, approachable and professional.’

Key clients

Kiwi Wealth Limited

ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited

AMP Wealth Management New Zealand Limited

Michael Hill International Limited

UniSaver New Zealand

Funds Administration New Zealand Limited (FANZ)

Equity Trustees Limited

Civic Financial Services Limited (‘Civic’) / Local Government Superannuation Trustee Limited (‘LGST’)

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu (‘ Ngāi Tahu ’)/ Whai Rawa Fund Limited (‘WRFL’)

New Zealand Guardian Trust Company

Consilium NZ (‘CNZ’)

Morningstar Australasia Pty Ltd

Kepa Financial Services Ltd

Kernel Wealth Limited

New Zealand > Labour and employment Tier 2

Dentons Kensington Swan has a 13-lawyer employment and health and safety group that acts for a large roster of corporate clients, as well as advising many public sector entities. It has particular expertise in the retail, creative, aviation and technology sectors, in which it assists clients with restructurings, contractual issues, performance management and ill health, misconduct and relationship issues. It is also highly regarded for its experience in litigation, which includes acting in high-profile, union-initiated matters, as well as routine unjustified dismissal claims. The firm has three key partners, Charlotte Parkhill and James Warren in Auckland and, in Wellington, ‘responsive and commercial subject matter expertGreg Cain.

Testimonials

I really appreciate the pragmatic business-focused solutions that the employment team provides. They have taken the time to get to understand my business and to ensure that their advice is tailored to my specific issues.’

Key clients

Auckland Transport

Naylor Love

Department of Corrections

Thai Airways International Public Company Limited

Michael Hill International

Serco New Zealand Limited

WSP Opus

The Order of St John

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Trade

Ministry of Transport

Tourism New Zealand

Hastings District Council

New Zealand Police

New Zealand Transport Agency

George Weston Foods

Massey University

Downer

Vero Liability

Inland Revenue Department

Greater Wellington Regional Council

CentrePort

Linfox Logistics

New Zealand > Projects and resources management (including environment) Tier 2

Dentons Kensington Swan is 'incredibly responsive, collaborative and proactive'. The environment, infrastructure and planning practice brings together specialist partners and expertise from the firm's finance, corporate, property and Asia business groups. The firm advises on strategic projects throughout New Zealand, notably in the transport, water, energy and social infrastructure sectors. Its work spans consenting and property acquisitions, procurement, PPPs, project delivery and dispute resolution. Environment and planning partner Nicky McIndoe in Wellington, along with Auckland-based infrastructure partner Paul Buetow and projects and public law Matthew Ockleston, co-lead the practice.

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Nicky Mcindoe and special counsel Ezekiel Hudspith are incredibly responsive, collaborative and proactive. They are highly skilled and experienced practitioners and add a lot of value to our projects in terms of strategy, tactics and risk management.’

Key clients

NZ Transport Agency

Auckland Transport

Wellington Water Limited

Transpower New Zealand

Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga

Hineuru Iwi Trust

Airways Corporation

Tamaki Regeneration Company

Ghella & Albergeldie Joint Venture

CPB Contractors Pty Limited

Naylor Love

New Zealand > Restructuring and insolvency Tier 2

Dentons Kensington Swan, which acts for banks and insolvency practitioners, has a team made up of 'clear experts in their respective areas of the law', with one client remarking that 'this was brought to bear with us achieving an overwhelmingly positive outcome'. The firm has particular expertise in debt recovery and securities enforcement work, as well as advising creditors and IPs on financial risk management, receiverships, administrations and liquidations. Clients praise the 'patience, compassion and intent' of practice head James McMillan  in Auckland, noting that his 'calm, kind and humble manner was so refreshing and comforting'. Banking partner Liz Lim who joined from Tompkins Wake in 2020, litigator Mark Broad and, in Wellington, corporate partner David Shillson  are highly active in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘DKS came highly recommended. Even based solely on our first meeting with DKS, I could tell that we were in capable hands.’

‘The team took the time to understand all of the complexities of the situation. They asked the “right” questions to unearth important information that wasn’t initially provided. With their experience and expertise, they were able to help us come up with solutions that we wouldn’t have come to on our own or with any other legal team.’

‘They came across as genuinely wanting to help us achieve the desired outcome and this made us feel very supported during such a difficult time. They were compassionate with us but had “teeth” when it came to executing on instructions. They were clear experts in their respective areas of the law and this was brought to bear with us achieving an overwhelmingly positive outcome.’

‘James McMillan is the opposite of every negative legal stereotype. In stark contrast to the legal team we initially engaged, James listened to us with patience, compassion and intent. His calm, kind and humble manner was so refreshing and comforting. He was quickly able to get to grips with all the nuances of the matter and his expert guidance and execution helped us to a victory, very much against the odds. He didn’t hesitate to go the extra mile to help give us a fighting chance and he pulled out all the stops. He made a lasting impact on our lives and indirectly on that of all our employees, suppliers and trade creditors. This man deserves some kind of award for his efforts and performance.’

‘Liz Lim and Charles Thompson also deserve a mention for their attentive listening, expert input and genuine support. We felt really supported by the entire team every step of the way.’

‘The range of knowledge available not only within the team, but also the ability to seek expertise in other specialist teams within the firm.’

Key clients

ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited

HSBC

Deloitte

BDO Auckland

KordaMentha

KPMG

Borrelli Walsh

New Zealand > TMT Tier 2

Dentons Kensington Swan advises a diverse client base on legal issues surrounding public and private sector procurement, consumer law, electronic commerce, technology product compliance, privacy and data protection. Among its clients are large ICT companies and innovative start-ups, as well as large financial institutions and corporates. Practice head Hayley Miller in Auckland specialises in IT, telecommunications, privacy, IP, outsourcing and commercial supply and procurement. In Wellington, corporate partner Charlotte Henley and regulatory and litigation partner Hayden Wilson also play key roles in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Crown Infrastructure Partners Limited (previously Crown Fibre Holdings Limited) (CFH)

Tourism New Zealand

nib NZ limited

1Centre Limited

ANZ Bank Limited

HSBC – The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited

ASB Bank Limited

Unison Networks Limited

Socialites Group Limited

Share a Camper GmbH

Kern Mobile Limited

Clearhead Limited

Lime Technology Limited

New Zealand > Banking and finance Tier 3

Dentons Kensington Swan is building up its banking and finance practice to serve an increasingly international client base. Focusing on transactional banking work, regulatory matters, restructuring and insolvency, the practice is increasingly visible in debt capital markets, asset-based lending, development financing and a broad range of corporate finance deals. Experienced transactional banking and finance partner Liz Lim in Auckland, who joined from Tompkins Wake in early 2020, leads the practice and has notable expertise in property and construction finance, acquisition finance and asset-based financing. Special counsel Pauline Ho, who joined from Osborne Clarke LLP in London, has ten years' experience in syndicated and bilateral financing arrangements.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

HSBC

ANZ Bank

Bank of New Zealand

Bank of China

Public Trust

Guardian Trust

AMP Group

RESIMAC

National Bank Australia

ANZ Australia

Dentons Kensington Swan is one of New Zealand’s leading national commercial law firms working with clients to achieve complete legal solutions. In addition to its New Zealand client base of private and public clients, the firm actively advises multinational organisations on their investments and business activities in New Zealand.

The firm is especially regarded for its involvement in the infrastructure, natural resources, education, FMCG, food, manufacturing, healthcare, energy and government/public sectors. It assists clients with doing business in New Zealand, including employment, real estate, intellectual property protection, procurement, resource consenting and construction, public private partnerships, commercial contracts, competition law, joint ventures, M&A, Overseas Investment Act, privacy, financial markets, and finance. The firm is valued for its help on reputational risk and crisis management particularly in a dispute context, in the course of inquiries and in relation to overseas investment.

Department Name Email Telephone
Construction & Major Projects Brendan Cash brendan.cash@dentons.com +64 4 915 0780
Construction & Major Projects Paul Buetow paul.buetow@dentons.com +64 9 375 1114
Corporate/Commercial David Lewis david.lewis@dentons.com +64 9 914 7263
Corporate/Commercial David Shillson david.shillson@dentons.com +64 4 498 0890
Dispute Resolution David Campbell david.campbell@dentons.com +64 9 375 1115
Government and Regulatory Hayden Wilson hayden.wilson@dentons.com +64 4 915 0782
Employment Charlotte Parkhill charlotte.parkhill@dentons.com +64 9 914 7259
Employment Greg Cain greg.cain@dentons.com +64 4 916 0963
Environment and Planning Nicky McIndoe nicky.mcindoe@dentons.com +64 4 915 0818
Environment and Planning Christina Sheard christina.sheard@dentons.com +64 9 375 1185
Asia Business Heida Donegan heida.donegan@dentons.com +64 9 918 6213
Financial Markets David Ireland david.ireland@dentons.com +64 4 498 0840
Financial Markets Catriona Grover catriona.grover@dentons.com +64 4 498 0816
Intellectual Property Jenni Rutter jenni.rutter@dentons.com +64 9 914 7251
Intellectual Property Charlotte Henley charlotte.henley@dentons.com +64 4 915 5955
Real Estate Matthew Ockleston matthew.ockleston@dentons.com +64 9 915 3350
Real Estate John Meads john.meads@dentons.com +64 4 498 0872
Restructuring and Insolvency James McMillan james.mcmillan@dentons.com +64 9 375 1154
Technology and Innovation Hayley Miller hayley.miller@dentons.com +64 9 915 3366
Photo Name Position Profile
Mr Greg Cain  photo Mr Greg Cain Partner
 Brendan Cash  photo Brendan Cash Partner
Ms Linda Clark  photo Ms Linda Clark Partner
Mr Martin Dalgleish  photo Mr Martin Dalgleish Partner
 Campbell Featherstone  photo Campbell Featherstone Senior Associate
Mr Ish Fraser  photo Mr Ish Fraser Partner
Mrs Catriona Grover  photo Mrs Catriona Grover Partner
Mrs Charlotte Henley  photo Mrs Charlotte Henley Partner
Mr David Ireland  photo Mr David Ireland Partner
Ms Nicky McIndoe  photo Ms Nicky McIndoe Partner
Mr John Meads  photo Mr John Meads Partner
Mr David Shillson  photo Mr David Shillson Partner
Mr Hayden Wilson  photo Mr Hayden Wilson Partner
Partners : 33
Number of lawyers : 118
Chinese (Cantonese and Mandarin)
Japanese
Maori
Korean
Institute of Financial Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ)