The Legal 500

Twitter Logo Youtube Circle Icon LinkedIn Icon

Kensington Swan

Work +64 4 472 7877
Fax +64 4 472 2291
Auckland, Wellington

David Shillson

Work +64 4 498 0890
Kensington Swan

Work Department

Corporate and Commercial law, Insolvency and Restructuring




A specialist in corporate and commercial law, David advises on mergers & acquisitions, corporate finance, restructurings and major commercial transactions and contracts.

He also has particular expertise in the infrastructure, transportation, local government and energy sectors. David advises on a range of complex matters that impact on organisations, including governance, structuring, compliance and risk.

David brings significant business insight, accumulated through his varied and extensive experience working with both the public and private sector. This allows him to take a wider perspective on transactions and advice which, coupled with his legal knowledge, achieves considerable results for his clients.

He is currently a Director of UIL Limited (which has shares listed on the LSE) and a number of privately owned companies.


David is a member of INSOL New Zealand and the Institute of Directors.


LLB, Victoria University of Welington (1981) LLM, (Hons, First Class), Victoria University of Wellington (1995) Admission date: June 1981

New Zealand

Corporate and M&A

Within: Leading individuals

David Shillson - Kensington Swan

Within: Corporate and M&A

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.

[back to top]

Projects and resource management (including environment)

Within: Projects and resource management (including environment)

'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.

[back to top]

Restructuring and insolvency

Within: Restructuring and insolvency

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.

[back to top]

Transport (rail, road, air and sea)

Within: Transport (rail, road, air and sea)

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.

[back to top]

Back to index

Legal Developments in New Zealand

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to