Polly Pope > Russell McVeagh > Auckland, New Zealand > Lawyer Profile

Russell McVeagh
New Zealand

Work Department





Polly is the Chair of the Partnership at Russell McVeagh and a highly respected litigator. She is known for her expertise in insolvency and restructuring, class actions, construction, and financial regulatory disputes. Her client list includes a number of New Zealand’s largest listed companies, multinational corporations, major trading banks and financial institutions. She accepts appointments as an arbitrator in domestic and international disputes.

Polly has been a partner since 2012, and was elected Chair of the Partnership in 2021. She was admitted to practise in New Zealand in 1999, and England and Wales in 2003, gaining international experience in the arbitration and litigation teams of leading global firms Debevoise & Plimpton and Clifford Chance.


Polly is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (UK) and the Arbitrators’ and Mediators Institute of New Zealand. Polly co-founded Women in Restructuring and Insolvency and is a member of Society for Construction Law, and the Restructuring, Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand.



LLB (Hons First Class), University of Otago
MIR (Distinction), Victoria University of Wellington

Lawyer Rankings

New Zealand > Restructuring and insolvency

(Leading individuals)

Polly PopeRussell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh continues to be involved in many of the country’s high profile insolvencies, such as the cross-border liquidation of Halifax, as well as significant domestic instructions, such as the receivership of FE Investments, and on recent property development collapses, Sanctuary No 8 and Lighthouse. The team is increasingly taking instructions on corporate distress and insolvencies in the construction, forestry and retail sectors. Practice head Matthew Kersey acts predominantly for secured creditors and insolvency professionals, alongside Polly Pope who handles contentious mandates, and John Powell who assists both banks and corporates on restructuring issues. Nathaniel Walker and senior associate Jeremy Upson are recommended for insolvency litigation. All individuals are based in Auckland.

New Zealand > Real estate and construction

(Leading individuals: Real estate and construction)

Polly PopeRussell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh’s practice covers the full spectrum of construction and real estate work. On the construction side, it is best known for expertise in highly sensitive disputes, project development, procurement and leasing arrangements. In terms of real estate work, the team specialises in high-value capital markets transactions, acquisitions and sales. Ed Crook leads the firm’s front-end construction offering, which is focused primarily on advising institutional property owners relating to major developments across Australia. Polly Pope leads the firm’s contentious mandates, acting for principals, financiers, contractors and consultants in a diverse range of disputes and significant projects. David Butler stands out for his strong track record when advising on complex capital markets transactions and development schemes. Anna Crosbie and Michael Taylor are also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Auckland.

New Zealand > Dispute resolution

Russell McVeagh is a full-service litigation practice that demonstrates strong capability in class actions, insolvency proceedings, construction disputes and ADR mandates. Group chair Marika Eastwick-Field is a top advocate for M&A disputes, banking and financial services, capital markets, property and insurance. Commercial litigators Malcolm Crotty, Kirsten Massey; insolvency partner Matthew Kersey and class action specialist Polly Pope, are the other central figures in Auckland. The Wellington litigation team comprises Chris Curran, whose work spans complex commercial disputes, public law, judicial reviews and IT projects, and Emmeline Rushbrook, who acts for financial markets participants in regulatory enforcement action involving the Financial Markets Authority, Commerce Commission and the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.