Firm Profile > MinterEllisonRuddWatts > Wellington, New Zealand

MinterEllisonRuddWatts
125 THE TERRACE
WELLINGTON
New Zealand

Banking and finance Tier 1

The finance practice at MinterEllisonRuddWatts is 'responsive, knowledgeable, effective and excellent to work with'. The firm is not only on the panels of all of New Zealand's major trading banks, but also has an increasingly strong roster of borrower clients. The firm acts for many domestic and Australian private equity funds. It has a broad practice but areas of particular expertise include leveraged finance, financial restructuring, infrastructure finance, asset and structured finance transactions, and the emerging field of sustainable finance. Investment funds partner Jeremy Muir leads the practice but the key partners in Auckland are Kate Lane, Tom Fail, Steve Gallaugher and Michael Langdon. Senior associates Marie Kissick and Vanessa Hunter, along with newly hired special counsel Alistair Robertson from ANZ, also play pivotal roles. Wellington-based Chris O’Brien is a key adviser to the New Zealand Treasury.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The MERW banking and finance team is responsive, knowledgeable, effective and excellent to work with.’

‘Kate Lane is quick to respond, effective in getting the required work done and excellent to work with.’

‘An excellent finance practice with a number of very smart and effective partners and associates’

‘Tom Fail is an excellent all rounder who was very well respected.’

Key clients

ANZ Bank

Westpac Bank

Commonwealth Bank of Australia / ASB Bank

Bank of New Zealand

Kiwibank

Citibank

Goldman Sachs Australia Pty Ltd

Macquarie Principal Finance Pty Ltd

Refining NZ

MediaWorks Group

Competition law Tier 1

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is frequently involved in the largest and most high-profile competition law matters in New Zealand, which in 2019 included included assisting Refining NZ with the New Zealand Commerce Commission’s first-ever market study into retail fuel. It also successfully defended an application for injunction by the Commerce Commission against viagogo in relation to proceedings filed under the Fair Trading Act. The practice frequently works with Minter Ellison in Sydney on trans-Tasman mergers. Practice head Ross Patterson in Auckland has more than 25 years' experience in competition law and economic regulation. Sarah Salmond, who joined from Russell McVeagh, provides regulatory advice across industry sectors such as agriculture and fisheries, food and beverage, and transportation. Oliver Meech in Wellington, currently general counsel for the Commerce Commission until early 2021, is a competition and consumer law partner who frequently handles regulatory investigations for blue-chip clients.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Refining New Zealand

viagogo AG

Trustpower

New Zealand Office Supplies Limited

Wellington Electricity Lines Limited

GO Healthy New Zealand Limited

Television New Zealand Limited

MediaWorks Limited

Spark New Zealand Trading Limited

2Degrees Mobile

Corporate and M&A Tier 1

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has a 14-partner corporate practice that handles many of the deals at the forefront of the market for high-profile clients. Covering the full range of transactional, capital markets and advisory work, the firm has many highly respected individuals in its ranks. Among them are Silvana Schenone who leads the Auckland corporate group and Rodney Craig who leads the practice in Wellington. In Auckland, partners Mark Stuart, Cameron Taylor and Neil Millar, who has 'a great attitude, style and sense of humour', are standout practitioners. Senior associate Igor Drinkovic is also recommended and  Sarah Salmond joined as a partner from Russell McVeagh. In Wellington, John Conlan is recommended for cross-border deals. Cathy Quinn is now a consultant.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The team worked very effectively together and all members were competent.’

‘Neil Millar brought a great attitude, style and sense of humour to our engagement. I thought his pragmatism and style came across from our very first meeting. I thought he was exceptional throughout the engagement.’

Key clients

Froneri / Peters Ice Cream

Verifone

Davanti Consulting

Habit Group Holdings Limited

Brookfield Capital (Australia) Pty Ltd

MediaWorks Investments Limited

Tourism Holdings Limited

Cin7 Limited

Brookfield Asset Management Limited

Spark

Dispute resolution Tier 1

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has a large national litigation practice that handles high-value and complex commercial and regulatory disputes for publicly listed and multi-national corporations, banks and financial institutions, public sector entities and regulators, as well as numerous domestic companies. Its work spans commercial, insurance, insolvency, financial, consumer, regulatory, energy, environmental, public law and IT matters, as well as in health and safety matters, litigation funding and class actions. Andrew Horne and Jane Standage in Auckland are the heads of a ten-partner group, in which Oliver Meech and Aaron Lloyd are among the standout practitioners. Newly promoted partner Nick Frith has a growing presence in shareholder disputes and negligence claims. Stacey Shortall is the lead partner in Wellington, where Briony Davies is recommended for public law matters. Mark Sandelin left to become a barrister.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The team is responsive, commercial and very knowledgeable. A pleasure to work with.’

‘Special counsel Ana Simkiss made herself available on very short notice. She digests information quickly and provides clear, coherent and sensible strategic advice. Sean Gollin is very experienced but still happy to take a hands-on approach.’

Key clients

Spark New Zealand Limited

Z Energy Limited

Bathurst Resources Limited

Taharoa Ironsands Limited (formally NZ Steel Mining Limited)

viagogo AG, Switzerland

Mainzeal Construction liquidators

Aon New Zealand Limited

Refining NZ and BT Mining Limited

Synlait Limited

Earthquake Commission

Investment funds Tier 1

'Its key strengths are technical knowledge and expertise coupled with significant industry involvement and visibility', remarks a client of MinterEllisonRuddWatts. Acting as counsel to New Zealand's leading banks, as well as to several major funds, the firm is widely recognised as a market leader, and also stands out for its in-depth expertise in the regulation of cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings (ICOs). It also has an impressive client base in the wholesale, private equity and venture capital funds sectors. Auckland-based Lloyd Kavanagh and Jeremy Muir are the co-heads of the dedicated funds and financial services practice. Senior associates Alistair Robertson, who joined from ANZ Bank, and  Maria Collett-Bevan are also central to the practice.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘It is a dedicated team that focuses on investment funds work; this is a rarity in New Zealand. The team’s key strength and capability is technical knowledge and expertise coupled with significant industry involvement and visibility. This sets the firm apart from other peers in New Zealand.’

‘All individuals at MERW are very personable, approachable and make the effort to ensure a good standard of service is provided. They stand out as genuine people, not just genuine lawyers. We also value their proactivity in alerting us to topical items of interest from time to time, and supporting our Continuing Legal Development requirements.’

Key clients

Generate Investment Management Limited

Trustees Executors Limited

Bank of New Zealand (BNZ)

Jasper Property Limited

ASB Bank Limited

Westpac New Zealand Limited

New Zealand Treasury

Sharesies Limited

Financial Services Council of New Zealand

Track Back Limited

Labour and employment Tier 1

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is 'very responsive, very practical and solution-orientated'. The firm's 14-lawyer employment group is highly respected for its work on employee relations, industrial laws, health and safety and privacy. It also works in collaboration with the Sydney and Melbourne offices of Minter Ellison to handle trans-Tasman matters. Its recent work in New Zealand consisted of business-critical collective bargaining processes, industrial action, negotiations with the Employment Relations Authority and other court actions relating to breach of good faith claims arising out of the bargaining process. Megan Richards is head of the Wellington employment practice, while Gillian Service leads the group in Auckland, where litigation partner Aaron Lloyd handles employment law, health and safety, white collar crime and regulatory matters. Special counsel Emma Warden in Wellington and senior associate Chris Baldock in Auckland play central roles in the practice.

Testimonials

‘Very responsive, very practical and solution-orientated. The documentation is always right first time.’

‘They are always available at any hour of the day. They always deliver to the time frame. They always listen to your needs and always get a win/win solution.’

Key clients

IBM New Zealand Limited

AWF Madison Group (including Madison Recruitment Limited and AWF LImited)

OneFortyOne Limited

ASSA ABLOY New Zealand Ltd

Fedex (and TNT)

Honda New Zealand Limited

NZB Finco Limited (NZ Bus)

The Warehouse Group Limited

Qantas Airways Limited (including Jetstar Airways Limited and Jetconnect Limited)

Deloitte

Broadspectrum

Projects and resources management (including environment) Tier 1

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has 'a good blend of youth and experience, which creates a great team dynamic'. It is also known as 'very diverse, flexible and authentic, with a real client focus and service ethic'. The firm frequently plays a leading role in disputes, projects and transactions for large-scale developments. Paul Foley in Wellington is head of energy and resources. In Auckland, Rachel Devine leads the environment and planning group, while David Gilbert is head of real estate. Sarah Sinclair is a key adviser on large infrastructure projects and Steve Gallaugher and Tom Fail focus on project finance. Bianca Tree, who handles energy sector projects, and newly promoted partner Travis Tomlinson are also recommended by clients.

Testimonials

‘A good blend of youth and experience, which creates a great team dynamic. They have the energy and knowledge to competently manage the brief and deliver the result that the client is looking for.’

‘Bianca Tree applies incredible attention to detail, and leaves no aspect of the application to chance. She is across all aspects of this and drives the wider team to achieve a positive result.’

‘This is an excellent full service law firm with strong projects, construction, environmental and real estate practices. The firm is very diverse, flexible and authentic. It has a real client focus and service ethic and employs strong commercial and technical lawyers who can advocate well and also take collaborative approaches.’

‘Travis Tomlinson is an excellent commercial construction lawyer with a strong client focus, sharp technical skills and attention to detail and has the ability to provide real collaboration.’

‘Sarah Sinclair is one of New Zealand’s leading commercial and construction lawyers with a very deep knowledge of industry and strong collaborative and leadership skills. Sarah is very client-centric and provides excellent strategic advice.’

Key clients

Refining NZ

The Crown

Ports of Auckland

Fulton Hogan

Synlait

Goldman Sachs Australia

Kāinga Ora

Queenstown District Lakes Council

Waitematā District Health Board

Southern Cross Hospitals

Real estate and construction Tier 1

'The firm has an industry-leading team that is extremely knowledgeable, hardworking and friendly', say clients of MinterEllisonRuddWatts. The firm's construction practice has six experienced partners handling front-end work and contentious matters. They deal with large and complex projects for government entities, funders, property developers, listed property trusts, territorial authorities, retirement village operators, and major design and engineering consultants. The real estate practice has an equally deep bench and frequently handles the country's flagship projects, among them the KiwiBuild residential property development programme. Head of construction Janine Stewart and head of real estate David Gilbert oversee the group from Auckland, which is home to notable practitioners Mark Crosbie, Stephen Price and Sarah Sinclair for construction matters, and Ross Pickmere for real estate. Key real estate partner Andrew Monteith works from the Auckland and Wellington offices.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The firm has an industry-leading team that is extremely knowledgeable, hardworking and friendly.’

‘Janine Stewart is a rising star – hardworking, extremely knowledgeable and laser-focused on best outcomes for the client. She demands a lot from her team.’

‘One of the strongest multi-disciplined real estate practices in New Zealand – from property to planning to construction, both front and back end – with great lawyers in each area.’

‘Mark Crosbie and Andrew Monteith are standout leaders in the field.’

Key clients

Metlifecare

The Crown (through the Ministry of Transport and Treasury)

Ōtākaro

Kiwi Property

Stride Property

Ports of Auckland

Mitsubishi

AECOM

Wellington Gateway Partnership

Auckland Council

Z Energy Limited

Spark New Zealand

Synlait Limited

Marriott International Inc

Queenstown Lakes District Council

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities

Credit Suisse AG / Credit Suisse Group

ANZ Bank New Zealand Limited

Restructuring and insolvency Tier 1

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is frequently involved in the most technically challenging and high-value matters in the market. As well as acting for New Zealand's leading banks, the firm also receives instructions from prominent insolvency practitioners. Working with the firm's other offices, the practice is heavily involved in trans-Tasman, regional and cross-border insolvency and restructuring assignments. Sean Gollin, who has 'excellent technical skills, good commercial attributes and is proactive with his advice', and Michael Langdon, who frequently acts for domestic and international banks, lead the practice from Auckland. Up-and coming partner Ana Simkiss and finance senior associate Vanessa Hunter are also recommended. Richard Gordon in Wellington is a highly experienced commercial litigator with notable expertise in banking and securities law. Mark Sandelin left to become a barrister.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The firm has high technical standards and excellent communicators’.

‘Sean Gollin has excellent technical skills, good commercial attributes and is proactive with his advice.’

Key clients

BDO New Zealand Limited

Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association New Zealand Incorporated

Westpac New Zealand Limited

KordaMentha

Rabobank

Kiwibank Limited

ANZ Bank New Zealand

Institute of Directors in NZ

Bauer Media

Bank of New Zealand

Tax Tier 1

At MinterEllisonRuddWatts, 'the individuals are all specialists in their area of expertise' and one client remarks that 'they make the time to ensure the service provided meets high standards and reflects commercial reality, not just legal reality'. The firm has a lean and highly experienced tax group with a particular focus on tax disputes with New Zealand Inland Revenue and NZ Customs, though its work also spans advice on tax planning and due diligence for high-profile corporate clients. Andrew Ryan in Auckland leads the practice. Up-and-coming partner Sacha Oudyn is a key tax adviser on warranty and indemnity insurance policies. Senior associate Simon Akozu is also recommended.

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Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘The strength of the tax team was local knowledge of the situation and knowledge of New Zealand tax law. I found the capabilities of the MERW personnel very competent and flexible in that they were able to make things happen the way we needed them to.’

‘I found Simon Akozu knowledgeable in relation to taxation implications of the transaction and able to provide advice on the best way forward.’

‘The team is smaller than peers in other large law firms. The main advantage is that you are more likely to get partner access and oversight, with the resulting uplift in expertise.’

Key clients

Spark

Cin7

Marriott International Inc

Froneri International Ltd t/a Peters Ice Cream

Brookfield Asset Management Limited

AMP Capital Investors

Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities (formerly Ministry of Housing and Urban Development)

Generate Investment Management Limited

Jasper Property Limited

Resource Management Service LLC (RMS)

TMT Tier 1

Providing 'great understanding of and genuine interest in the legal issues regarding technology, data and privacy', MinterEllisonRuddWatts has a team of TMT specialists who handle major IT projects, licensing, media matters, and the development of early-stage technology companies. Auckland-based practice head Tom Maasland is 'invested in outcomes and success'. Also in Auckland, Ross Patterson has more than 25 years' specialist experience in telecommunications regulation and competition law; and Richard Wells is recommended for technology and media rights licensing. In Wellington, Jane Parker focuses on technology and public sector contracting, and John McCay is a key adviser to New Zealand’s film and media industry. Senior associate Kate Cruickshank is a rising star.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘My engagement with MERW is largely with their technology team. They have a good understanding of emerging issues from both a local and international perspective.’

‘The firm has great understanding of and genuine interest in the legal issues regarding technology, data and privacy.’

‘The team at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts was highly professional, knowledgeable and easy to engage and work with.’

‘They have a great ability to translate complex legal matters and terms in too readily understandable language to enable us as their clients to make informed decisions.’

‘We always felt very well informed and their subject matter expertise was extremely high and current. Across all levels of engagement, the team were all very experienced and easy to work with.’

‘There was  good communication and transparency around cost and, given that we are a public entity, we felt that there was a good understanding of getting value from the money that we were investing in the engagement, transferring this to the best outcome for the solution we were purchasing.’

‘Tom Maasland was fantastic to work with, he was approachable and able to communicate complex legal matters in a way that all parties could readily understand enabling sound decision making.’

‘Tom Maasland was accessible at all times and very responsive and given the length of time we often had to work together his sense of humour was very much appreciated.’

‘We felt at all times that Tom Maasland was strongly aligned and cognisant of our requirements and always took a position that was favourable to us as the client. He was invested in our outcomes and success.’

‘A very well-resourced team with extensive supplier and customer knowledge – real thought leaders.’

‘Jane Paker is a true professional – experienced, commercial, pragmatic. A true trusted adviser.’

Key clients

Spark New Zealand Limited

Datacom Group Limited

Project NEXT

Westpac New Zealand Limited

New Zealand Film Commission

New Zealand Cricket

Z Energy

Television New Zealand

Marriott International

Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

Data protection Tier 2

MinterEllisonRuddWatts frequently advises on data use and protection, privacy and cybersecurity breach response. It assists clients with help to resolve and mitigate risk from major data breaches, draft privacy policies and data sharing contracts, as well as meeting their privacy compliance obligations, domestically and globally. Public law partner Briony Davies in Wellington and corporate partner Richard Wells in Auckland are the lead partners. They frequently deal with regulators, as well as assisting clients with app development, privacy litigation, data sharing agreements and confidentiality obligations.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Spark New Zealand

The Institute of Directors in New Zealand

Marriott International Inc

Kiwibank

Carnival Corporation

Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance

Z Energy

AIG

Education New Zealand

Southern Cross Hospitals

Insurance Tier 2

MinterEllisonRuddWatts has a full-service national insurance practice for contentious and non-contentious advisory work, as well as assisting clients with front-end matters such as policy design and drafting. With a strong client base of domestic insurance brokers and insurers, the firm frequently handles high-value insurance and broker negligence disputes. The practice also advises on all types of reinsurance and post-loss matters including life, health and disability, loss of income, property, professional indemnity, D&O and a wide range of general liability and specialist policies. Andrew Horne in Auckland is the lead partner. Newly promoted partner Nick Frith is also key to the practice, as are financial services and investment partner Jeremy Muir and Wellington-based litigator Stacey Shortall.

Practice head(s):

Key clients

Earthquake Commission (EQC)

Marsh Limited

Aon New Zealand

Youi Insurance

AMP Life

Vibe Services Management Limited (Lloyd’s)

AIG Insurance

AIA Insurance

Medical Assurance Society New Zealand

PIC Insurance Brokers

Intellectual property Tier 2

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is 'a full-service firm that prides itself in having a fantastic IP practice'. Practice head Christopher Young in Auckland has become the standout partner 'not by providing simple black letter law advice, but rather informed commercial IP advice'. He is an IP specialist with extensive experience in the IP aspects of large M&A and corporate transactions including complex structuring, strategy and licensing, as well as in IP strategy, branding and trade marks nationally and internationally. His practice also encompasses litigation. Corporate partner Richard Wells focuses on the sport and IT sectors, frequently working with event hosts, sponsors and key stakeholders in major events.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Testimonials

‘Chris Young is my primary point of contact and I have referred clients to him, who have thanked me afterwards for the introduction to Chris. He is able to address all of their IP needs, which is not by providing simple black letter law advice, but rather informed commercial IP advice, which is why the feedback I receive from my referrals is nothing short of great.’

‘The firm is highly specialised and focused with expertise in the specific areas that we and our clients require. Fast turnaround and a good team approach to issues that arise.’

‘We deal mainly with Chris Young , the partner heading the IP activities. We have an excellent relationship with him and he is interested in how our entire business operates. I have a better personal relationship than I have experienced over the years with his equivalent in other large law firms.’

‘The team is knowledgeable, professional, responsive.’

Key clients

Karen Murrell Enterprises Limited

Scholastic Inc.

Aktiebolaget SCA Finans and the new Essity Aktiebolaget group including BSN medical GmbH

ASOS PLC

Westpac Banking Corporation and Westpac New Zealand Limited

Tourism Holdings Limited

SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited

Two Degrees Mobile

Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

New Zealand Cricket

The Institute of Directors in New Zealand Limited

Education New Zealand

Transport (rail, road, air and sea) Tier 3

'The firm is highly responsive, commercially attuned and has strong industry knowledge', says a client of MinterEllisonRuddWatts, which joins the ranking this year. The firm has extensive experience in advising public and private sector companies on major road and rail projects, aviation law and port projects. Infrastructure partner Sarah Sinclair and finance specialist Tom Fail lead the practice from Auckland, where employment partner Gillian Service and corporate partner Mark Forman are frequent advisers to the transport industry. In Wellington, public law and regulatory partner Briony Davies also plays a key role in the practice.

Practice head(s):

Testimonials

‘The firm is highly responsive, commercially attuned and has strong industry knowledge. Its focus is on substantial matters and the practice integrates seamlessly with our team.’

‘Highly responsive and commercially attuned with strong industry knowledge. They focus on substantial matters and are integrated seamlessly with our team.’

Key clients

Ministry of Transport

Ports of Auckland

NZ Bus

Project NEXT (acting for public transport authorities and Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Authority)

Ritchies Transport Holdings

Go Bus

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is leading full-service, legal and business advisory firm with offices in Auckland and Wellington. We are a New Zealand owned and operated partnership with 47 partners and more than 180 other legal staff. Our New Zealand heritage, dating back 130 years, is a firm foundation on which we have built an established and strong brand in the market.

We advise our clients on a wide range of practice areas from regulatory to commercial law, finance to real estate, employment to taxation, and from public law to dispute resolution. Our clients come from a broad range of industries including banking and financial services, central and local government, aviation, infrastructure, energy and resources, manufacturing, health and aged care, telecommunications, media and technology.

While an independent New Zealand firm, we are a member of the MinterEllison Legal Group (MELG). With more than 200 partners and 900 legal staff, we are the only top-tier international law firm in New Zealand. Our network of offices in New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the United Kingdom enables us to provide a full range of legal services to both local business and international companies.

Department Name Email Telephone
Head of Banking and Financial Services Jeremy Muir jeremy.muir@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9819
Head of Competition Dr Ross Patterson ross.patterson@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9864
Head of Construction Janine Stewart janine.stewart@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9922
Head of Corporate (Auckland) Silvana Schenone Silvana.Schenone@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9986
Head of Corporate (Wellington) Rodney Craig rodney.craig@minterellison.co.nz +64 4 498 5025
Co-head of Dispute Resolution, Insurance Andrew Horne andrew.horne@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9903
Co-head of Dispute Resolution Jane Standage jane.standage@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9754
Head of Employment (Auckland) Gillian Service gillian.service@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9817
Head of Employment (Wellington) Megan Richards megan.richards@minterellison.co.nz +64 4 498 5023
Head of Environment Rachel Devine rachel.devine@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9912
Head of Intellectual Property Christopher Young christopher.young@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9910
Head of Real Estate David Gilbert david.gilbert@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9978
Head of Restructuring and Insolvency Sean Gollin sean.gollin@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9814
Head of Tax Andrew Ryan andrew.ryan@minterellison.co.nz +64 9 353 9950
Head of TMT Jane Parker jane.parker@minterellison.co.nz +64 4 498 5128
Photo Name Position Profile
 John Conlan photo John Conlan Partner – Corporate
 Kate Cruickshank photo Kate Cruickshank Senior Associate
 Miles Dean photo Miles Dean Special Counsel
Ms Rachel Devine photo Ms Rachel Devine Partner – Environment
 John McCay photo John McCay Partner
 Oliver Meech photo Oliver Meech Partner – Competition and Regulation
 Chris O'Brien photo Chris O'Brien Partner
 Jane Parker photo Jane Parker Partner – TMT
 Megan Richards photo Megan Richards Partner – Employment, MinterEllisonRuddWatts board member
 Stacey Shortall photo Stacey Shortall Partner
Partners : 47
Other legal staff : 180
Business service staff : 90
English
Spanish
Arabic
Cantonese
French
German
Hindi
Italian
Korean
Mandarin
Maori
Tongan
World Services Group (WSG)
International Bar Association (IBA)
International Trademark Association (INTA)
Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of NZ
Institute of Financial Professionals New Zealand (INFINZ)
Society of Construction Law
Banking and Financial Services Law Association (BFSLA)
Institute of Directors
Australia and New Zealand Sports Law Association