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DLA Piper New Zealand

Work +64 9 303 2019
Fax +64 9 303 2311

New Zealand

Banking and finance
Banking and finance - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand's finance, projects and restructuring practice is 'excellent - its industry knowledge and understanding of market trends mean that its advice is cutting edge, practical and smart'. Practice head Katie Carson has 20 years of experience in domestic and international transactions and frequently acts for Westpac New Zealand, ASB Bank, Heartland Bank, TSB Bank and Foodstuffs North Island. Her advice is 'always tailored for practical use', according to one client. Her recent highlights include advising Barclays Bank on the local law aspects of the €325m secured financing of Swissport International's acquisition of aviation services provider Aerocare, and assisting Stantec Incorporated with local matters arising from its $1bn credit agreement with a syndicate of lenders for the acquisition of MWH Global. Newly promoted partner Michael Thompson, who joined in early 2018 from MinterEllisonRuddWatts, added extensive experience in corporate, leveraged and development finance to the practice.

Leading individuals

Katie Carson - DLA Piper New Zealand

Next Generation Partners

Michael Thompson - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Competition law
Competition law - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand is 'very good - it understands clients' business and meets or exceeds their expectations'. The firm handles market regulation issues, investigations, cartel allegations and merger clearances for local and multinational companies such as Foodstuffs North Island, Expedia, Mondelēz and General Mills. The practice is led from Auckland by 'highly regarded competition lawyer' Mark Williamson and litigator Iain Thain, who are 'equal to or better than any in this area'. Williamson advises on regulation, trade practices, antitrust matters and compliance strategies. Thain's contentious work includes cases in the courts and before the Commerce Commission. He works closely with special counsel Alicia Murray, who is on the board of the New Zealand Competition Law and Policy Institute. The practice frequently handles the local law aspects of international mergers and acquisitions, and it recently advised facilities management company OCS on a cross-border corporate disposal.

Leading individuals

Mark Williamson - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Corporate and M&A
Corporate and M&A - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand

The firm 'meets or exceeds our expectations', says a major corporate client of DLA Piper New Zealand, which not only works on significant cross-border deals as part of its global network, but also acts in large domestic transactions. Auckland-based Martin Thomson, who frequently advises overseas companies and funds on their investments in the forestry, agriculture, dairy, meat processing, wine and food manufacturing sectors, and Wellington-based financial and insurance sector corporate specialist Rachel Taylor  lead the practice. Taylor acted for Libra Partners in its acquisition of a stake in Tenon Clearwood. Thomson is the key partner in the firm's foreign investment practice and with 'highly regarded M&A lawyer' Reuben Woods frequently acts for Chinese clients investing in New Zealand. In Auckland, Martin Wiseman is 'an excellent corporate lawyer, very committed to client service'. He advised Visa on the NZ$150m acquisition of payments solutions provider Fraedom Holdings.

Leading individuals

Martin Wiseman - DLA Piper New Zealand

Rachel Taylor - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Dispute resolution
Dispute resolution - ranked: tier 3

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand 'understands our business and meets or exceeds our expectations', remarks a client. The firm provides 'a high level service due to its professionalism and expertise' in specialist areas such as insurance, as well as in general commercial litigation. The key partner in Auckland is Iain Thain, of whom one clients says, 'he is one of the best litigators in New Zealand - equal to, or better than, any in this area'. He counts Foodstuffs South Island and Foodstuffs North Island among his clients. He recently worked with insurance partner Caroline Laband to advise Tower Insurance and Insurance Australia Group in a High Court matter that raised questions about the transfer of policies to new owners of damaged properties. Special counsel Alicia Murray is also recommended, having advised China Construction Bank in a dispute over a performance bond. Adam Holloway left to join Wotton + Kearney.

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Insurance - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand is 'superb, it is a pleasure to work with them', remarks a barrister. The firm acts for many of the leading New Zealand insurers and reinsurers, as well as for the leading international and local insurance brokers, among them AIG, Allianz, Aon, Chubb and DUAL. Key partner and experienced litigator Caroline Laband has 'an excellent reputation in every respect' and one source refers to her as among 'the best insurance solicitors in Auckland'. She recently acted for IAG New Zealand in a test claim relating to earthquake damage to determine whether the reinstatement benefit under a residential property insurance can be assigned to a purchaser of the property. She also defended Allianz in a claim brought by QBE that resulted in a two-day High Court trial. Brad Cuff and special counsel Neil Beadle are also recommended. In Wellington, Peter Leman has 'strong skills and an excellent reputation'. Aimee Credin departed to join Wotton + Kearney. Crossley Gates also left the firm.

Leading individuals

Caroline Laband - DLA Piper New Zealand

Peter Leman - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Investment funds
Investment funds - ranked: tier 1

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand has 'institutional knowledge that is invaluable', according to one client. The firm assists licensed managers, supervisors, custodians and investment managers with regulatory matters such as the reporting requirements of the Financial Markets Conduct Act, distribution models, fund design and fund establishment. It is also busy with the implementation of the Asia Region Funds Passport in New Zealand, having been chosen as the only local firm to participate in the pilot program. It handles retail and wholesale investment funds and KiwiSaver matters, and also works with sovereign funds such as the Government Superannuation Fund. Tracey Cross in Auckland and Alasdair McBeth and Rachel Taylor in Wellington jointly lead the practice and are 'very strong on investment and superannuation issues'. McBeth recently advised online investment fund supermarket operator Investnow Saving and Investment Service on the purchase of a book of clients from Rabodirect. Special counsel Nicole MacFarlane and senior associates Neisha Mistry (who exhibits 'good attention to detail'), Geoff Ward-Marshall and Tom Barnes are also recommended.

Leading individuals

Alasdair McBeth - DLA Piper New Zealand

Rachel Taylor - DLA Piper New Zealand

Tracey Cross - DLA Piper New Zealand

Next Generation Partners

Geoff Ward-Marshall - DLA Piper New Zealand

Neisha Mistry - DLA Piper New Zealand

Nicole MacFarlane - DLA Piper New Zealand

Tom Barnes - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Labour and employment
Labour and employment - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand provides 'excellent service, good response times, very strong industry knowledge and practical advice'. The firm frequently handles the employment aspects of strategic cross-border corporate transactions, as well as advising on annuities, data protection, and health and safety matters. Auckland-based practice head Laura Scampion is 'a trusted adviser' and has more than 20 years’ experience in domestic and international matters. She recently acted for Visa in its acquisition of Hogg Robinson Group, which included employment due diligence, consultancy arrangements, data protection and pensions advice. John Hannan counts software company Finzsoft, Panasonic Avionics Corporation and Rheem among his clients. For CSG Konica Minolta, he handled all employment aspects of its corporate reorganisation. Litigator Sean O’Sullivan left to join Wotton + Kearney. Senior associate Melissa Johnston is also recommended.

Leading individuals

John Hannan - DLA Piper New Zealand

Laura Scampion - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Projects and resource management (including environment)
Projects and resource management (including environment) - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand's resource management and environment practice acts primarily for government and local government clients, though it also handles significant work for private sector clients. The firm is a key adviser to Auckland Council on local and national planning documents and policy, development projects, consenting and enforcement matters, as well matters in the District Court, Environment Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. Stephen Quinn in Wellington leads the practice. He recently advised the Department of Corrections on the environmental approvals required for the expansion of Waikeria Prison in Waikato. Senior associate Emma Manohar also played a key role in that work. Kerry Anderson jointly leads the RMA practice in Wellington with Quinn and frequently advises Auckland Council. In a recent matter, she acted for Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council in a major roading project, handling the implementation of consents for the Transmission Gully. Diana Hartley in Auckland is highly recommended, particularly for urban growth and intensification matters, rural issues and infrastructure projects. Senior associate Anne Buchanan also has significant expertise in resource management and local government law.

Next Generation Partners

Emma Manohar - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Real estate and construction
Real estate and construction - ranked: tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand

The service from DLA Piper New Zealand is 'very good, the firm understands our business and meets or exceeds our expectations', remarks a major corporate client. The firm handles property and construction matters for a blue-chip client base that includes the Ministry for Primary Industries, Hilton International Manage LLC, Mondelēz and Auckland Council. In Auckland, Justin March leads the real estate team and with Heath Brunton, who recently joined from Chapman Tripp, he helped grocery distributor Foodstuffs North Island to managed its large property portfolio, which included advice on the acquisition of new sites and the development of strategic real estate for supermarkets, as well as franchise and lease agreements. Mark Williamson is 'a highly regarded construction contract lawyer' and with March he advised property fund Deka Immobilien Investment on the acquisition of The Lumley Centre, which is a premium-grade office tower in Auckland. Special counsel Williamena Sim is recommended for her 'good level of expertise, good focus on details and good customer service'. Davida Dunphy joined from a role in-house at Precinct Properties New Zealand.

Leading individuals

Justin March - DLA Piper New Zealand

Mark Williamson - DLA Piper New Zealand

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Legal Developments by:
DLA Piper LLP (US)

  • Sentencing guidelines for corporate manslaughter

    In February 2010 the Sentencing Guidelines Council (the SGC) issued definitive guidelines to courts on imposing appropriate sentences for corporate manslaughter and health and safety offences causing death. The SGC states that fines imposed on companies found guilty of corporate manslaughter should not fall below £500,000, while fines in respect of health and safety offences that are a significant cause of death should be at least £100,000. Crucially, the SGC declined to provide for a fixed link between the imposed fine and the turnover or profitability of the offending company.

    - DLA Piper UK LLP

Legal Developments in New Zealand

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