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The firm: Lowndes is a specialist corporate and commercial law firm founded in 1997. It has strategically grown in size, depth and expertise by attracting experienced lawyers with specialist reputations and skills from the major NZ and overseas law firms, as well as promoting the most talented associates from within. Lowndes deliberately maintains low gearing of associates to directors. The senior lawyers joined the firm to move away from ‘Big Law’ with its increasing emphasis on the business of law and managing a large team. They prefer to be ‘on the tools’, advising and working with their clients personally. Lowndes’ clients respond to the personal care of their matters by the directors and senior lawyers.

Financial and commercial literacy is a key focus in the Lowndes commercial practice and many of its lawyers have board experience, commerce degrees and two of its senior lawyers are dual qualified as lawyers and accountants. The expertise, experience and qualifications of the Lowndes’ directors attracts sophisticated and complex work.

The firm continuously innovates its legal service delivery and is a leader in the ‘New Law’ approach including flexible working, its ‘Parents in Law’ programme, remote working technology, flexible remuneration arrangements, lower overheads and the leveraging of technology for efficient delivery of services.

International client work continues to account for about a third of Lowndes’ revenue and as such the firm is set up to give overseas clients a full commercial offering ensuring ease of doing business in NZ.  Lowndes is the sole NZ representative of three international networks: Multilaw of which Mark Lowndes was a recent chairman, Legalink and the International Network of Boutique & Independent Law Firms.

Lowndes is committed to sustainability and contributing to the communities we live and work in.  It was the first NZ law firm to be certified as carbon zero in 2007.  In June 2017 Lowndes received the Outstanding Performance Award for Carbon Management in the Small Organisation category from Enviro-Mark Solutions.  It runs a quarterly programme of community contribution and is actively involved in such programmes as community law and student mentoring.

As well as recognition in Legal500 Lowndes is recognised in:

  • Chambers Asia Pacific for Corporate and Commercial, Restructuring and Insolvency and Shipping.
  • AsiaLaw Profiles for Corporate/M&A, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property, IT, Telco and Media, Restructuring and Insolvency, and Shipping, Maritime and Aviation.
  • IFLR1000 for Banking and Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Restructuring and Insolvency.

Types of work undertaken: Lowndes has industry-leading specialists such as Mark Lowndes, Paul Hartland, Allan McRae, Sarah Kerr and Kerri Dewe in corporate and commercial, and mergers and acquisitions; Mark Lowndes in technology, media and telecommunications; Mike Whale, Michael Anderson, Jacqueline Lethbridge and Jennifer Tunna in restructuring and insolvency; Michael Anderson and Jennifer Tunna in banking and finance; Michael McCarthy in shipping and transport; and Michael McCarthy and Jacqueline Lethbridge in litigation and dispute resolution.

Lowndes represents notable clients in innovative and uncommon matters. It acted on one of only eight New Zealand listings in 2016. Lowndes represents sophisticated technology clients on complex transactional and regulatory matters as well as the international commercialisation of their technology. It also acted for rapidly growing innovative NZ technology companies including in connection with a joint venture representing a substantial investment in artificial intelligence for the legal profession.

In the mergers and acquisitions area the firm has represented clients engaging in significant transactions, often with cross-border aspects. It is active in the regulatory space, obtaining various exemptions from the takeovers code; acting on the preparation of complex applications for Overseas Investment Office consents; and acting on various matters involving interaction with the Financial Markets Authority, including on assisting with breaches of the Financial Markets Conduct legislation. The firm acts on specialist security arrangements (for instance, over the components of a mobile telephone network, and over multinational receivables), cross-border transactions (in-bound and out-bound) and also advises corporate trustees on large bond issues.

Lowndes leads a number of high-profile matters including the extensive litigation spinning out of the Rena shipwreck – which it believes has been the largest litigation matter in NZ. Lowndes, led by partner Michael McCarthy, is acting for the owners and insurers of the Rena. Jacqueline Lethbridge leads a number of high-profile civil litigation matters with a specialisation in restructuring and insolvency. Mike Whale is the co-editor of the leading New Zealand insolvency text book, Heath & Whale on Insolvency.  Lowndes was involved in drafting the Code of Conduct for the Restructuring, Insolvency & Turnaround Association of New Zealand Inc.

Our Expertise: Corporate and Commercial: Corporate and commercial law is the core around which the Lowndes firm is built. It brings the same pragmatic commercial law advice to multinationals and start-up businesses. Lowndes’ lawyers understand what matters in a transaction and that resilient legal structures become the platform on which to build business.  Many of the Lowndes’ lawyers hold commerce qualifications.

Banking and Financial Services: Lowndes advises on a broad range of financial services, banking and financing transactions including complex international, corporate, trade and supplier financing arrangements, all forms of public and private debt and equity financing, and related regulatory issues.

Litigation and Dispute Resolution: The Lowndes commercial litigation team is focussed on achieving commercial outcomes from litigation whether it be through negotiation, alternative dispute resolution methods such as mediation, or arbitration or through court proceedings. Lowndes’ litigators have appeared at all levels of the court system and often work collaboratively with senior barristers and Queen’s Counsel.

Property, Real Estate and Construction: Lowndes’ property and construction team understand that property projects must be executed precisely, efficiently and innovatively. Its sound knowledge of New Zealand property market enables it to act across the whole spectrum of complex property related transactions. Lowndes commercial property lawyers act for corporates, individuals and trusts.

Intellectual Property: Lowndes’ international focus and experience comes to the fore in advising on intellectual property protection and commercialisation. It has defended IP rights for multinationals and assisted early stage companies in their international growth.

Restructuring and Insolvency: The Lowndes’ team includes some of New Zealand’s leading practitioners combining relevant banking, insolvency, restructuring and litigation expertise. Lowndes acts for the leading insolvency practitioners and has been involved in various cross-border assignments.

Employment, Health and Safety: Lowndes provides decisive practical advice and cost effective solutions in relation to large or small work forces.

Technology, Media and Telecommunications: Lowndes acts for multinationals to start-ups and has advised on all aspects of projects ranging from infrastructure to ground breaking technologies.

International Trade and Investment: Lowndes has an extensive international practice working regularly on cross border transactions, investments and disputes. Their large international network of overseas law firms gives access to trusted advice around the world. Lowndes provides comprehensive commercial and regulatory advice.

Maritime, Aviation, Transport and Insurance: Lowndes has one of New Zealand’s leading practices representing many well-known local and international companies and insurers in maritime, shipping, transport, ports and aviation. They assist with providing commercial advice and dispute resolution. There is no substitute for industry knowledge and experience combined with technical expertise.

Mergers and Acquisitions: Lowndes’ lawyers have extensive experience in large and complex transactions over a broad range of industries and including cross border matters. They understand the need for teamwork with our client and other advisors, staying focussed on issues of commercial importance and delivery of outcomes in the required timeframes.

Competition and Trade Practices: Lowndes is highly experienced in all aspects of this area including takeovers, mergers and acquisitions, fair trading and misleading conduct, restrictive trade practices, price control and price fixing, competition and antitrust,  Commerce Commission, clearances & authorisations, market investigations, cartel legislation, sale of goods, consumer and marketing law, Privacy Act compliance, advertising codes, and prosecutions.  It offers strategic advice and resolves disputes cost effectively.

  • Number of lawyers: 19
  • Legal Executives: 2
  • Languages
  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Mandarin
  • Member
  • Multilaw
  • LegaLink
  • IBA (International Bar Association)
  • IPBA( Inter Pacific Bar Association)

Above material supplied by Lowndes.

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