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 > Dispute resolution

Russell McVeagh’s ‘proactive’ team has demonstrable experience in large-scale class actions and contentious matters pertaining to construction projects, in addition to restructuring and insolvency litigation, regulatory investigations and ADR cases. In the firm’s Auckland office, Kirsten Massey chairs the practice and focuses on class actions, financial services litigation and professional negligence cases, while Marika Eastwick-Field is a key contact for insurance disputes. The Auckland office is also home to Polly Pope, who advises on class actions, construction and banking litigation, and senior litigator Malcolm Crotty. In Wellington, Chris Curran is noted for his expertise in public law and commercial disputes, judicial reviews and cases relating to IT projects, while ‘energetic and talentedNathaniel Walker focuses on contentious insurance matters.

New Zealand > Real estate and construction

(Leading individuals: Real estate and construction)

Polly PopeRussell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh is praised for its ‘exceptional expertise in the real estate space’, as demonstrated by its advice on large-scale development projects and subdivisions, capital markets transactions, acquisitions and sales, as well as leasing arrangements. ‘Excellent operatorEd Crook chairs the national property and construction practice – including the equally capable front-end construction practice – and specialises in commercial property developments, sales and leasing matters, in addition to associated construction and finance work. Polly Pope spearheads the construction litigation group, acting for principals, financiers, contractors, subcontractors and consultants on a broad range of disputes, while David Butler provides ‘invaluable’ advice on real estate capital markets transactions and development projects. ‘Extremely practicalAnna Crosbie focuses on acquisitions, residential developments and leasing matters, while construction litigators Michael Taylor and Sarah Blackmore are also key contacts. All named practitioners are based in the firm’s Auckland office.

New Zealand > Restructuring and insolvency

(Leading individuals)

Polly PopeRussell McVeagh

Russell McVeagh has demonstrable experience in high-profile insolvencies, often involving a cross-border element, in addition to domestic insolvency processes and corporate distress matters arising out of the property development and construction, hospitality and retail sectors. Praised for his ‘depth of experience in this space’, Matthew Kersey leads the practice and regularly acts for secured creditors and insolvency practitioners in relation to security enforcement issues, restructuring, recovery and insolvency strategies. Polly Pope advises receivers, liquidators, voluntary administrators and creditors in solvent corporate reorganisations and takeovers, while banking and finance partner John Powell assists domestic banks and corporate clients on restructuring matters. Other key contacts in the team include Nathaniel Walker and senior associate Jeremy Upson, and senior associate Alex MacDuff rejoined the firm in November 2021 from Allen & Overy LLP’s London office. All named practitioners are based in the Auckland office.