Firm Profile > DLA Piper New Zealand > Auckland, New Zealand

DLA Piper New Zealand
New Zealand

Insurance Tier 1

DLA Piper New Zealand is widely recognised as a market-leading insurance firm, with clients remarking that the practice has 'significant knowledge of the insurance industry, so you get consistently good advice'. Working for leading names in the market, among them general counsels of insurers and brokers, the firm provides the full range of matters, including W&I insurance, regulatory advice, policy drafting and privacy issues. Caroline Laband leads the 15-lawyer Auckland practice, while Peter Leman is the lead partner in Wellington. Up-and-coming partner Misha Henaghan in Auckland and senior associate Shane Swinerd in Wellington are also recommended. Brad Cuff left to become a barrister but the firm hired special counsel Jason Mackie who was previously litigation manager at IAG New Zealand.

Practice head(s):


‘DLA Piper has a strong Insurance practice. It has a wide range of people with different capabilities that can assist in a variety of claims. They have significant knowledge of the insurance industry so you get consistently good advice.’

‘Misha Henaghan is a standout lawyer. As a client, when I instruct Misha, I don’t have to worry about the case anymore. She provides accurate and practical advice that is easy to follow. She drives the case along without delays. She provides outstanding service. She makes it easy to do business with.’

‘Peter Leman at DLA Piper has extensive knowledge of insurance law. He is a great asset when it comes to general liability claims, statutory prosecutions and fire and general insurance.’

‘I consider the firm to have expertise in insurance law, and I can rely on them to exercise commercial judgement. They are always timely with updates and reporting. They are reliable and efficient, and provide comprehensive advice. I can trust them to deliver in accordance with instructions.’

‘The DLA Piper team in the Wellington office is representing us on our largest and most complex commercial earthquake claims following the Kaikoura 2016 event. Each of these claims has required a raft of experts from different disciplines. DLA not only keeps all of the experts on task, but is also very impressive with the effort they put into understanding some of the very technical information being supplied by the experts, then linking that to policy response and legislative requirements. The technical aptitude in the Wellington office is exceptional.’

‘I prefer the working relationship that I have with DLA Piper to some of the other firms that we use because they keep us informed as information is received. It becomes a process that we are much more involved in, compared to some other firms where we then receive a strategic report presenting all of the information to us. I think DLA has the best appreciation of the fact that we have other factors that we need to consider when we make claim decisions, and that it doesn’t only hinge on technical legality.’

‘Peter Leman and Shane Swinerd are the partner and senior associate with whom I work with the most often. Peter has oversight of all of the claims that DLA is representing us on that I am currently handling. He is always available, even taking my calls when he was on holiday. Both Peter and Shane are exceptional at knowing the details of any given claim whenever I call, including all of the technical ones being passed on by experts.’

‘Peter Leman and Shane Swinerd are both excellent at creating a collaborative working relationship, with regular discussions and catch ups on all matters they are working on for us. I dont have to chase them for updates. I also value their honesty. If they think that we have a problem then they tell us, even if that problem may not necessarily be a legal one. I think they both excel at providing us with realistic risk analyses as we need them.’

‘DLA Piper NZ’s insurance lawyers are technically very strong, whilst being commercially focused, efficient and good to work with. The team offers a breadth of experience and expertise in relation to insurance matters.’

‘Caroline Laband is unflappable. She consistently provides high quality and commercial advice, often at short notice.’

‘Peter Leman is dependable and works collaboratively to achieve the best outcomes for us.’

‘Misha Henaghan’s advice is always well considered and comprehensive. She is also incredibly efficient.’

‘They are knowledgeable in their field and are always accessible. They listen to other opinions and are not arrogant to think they have the only answers. They are consultative.’

‘Peter Leman is particularly responsive and consultative.’

Key clients

IAG New Zealand Limited

AIG New Zealand Limited

Chubb Insurance New Zealand Limited

DUAL New Zealand Limited

Aon New Zealand

Zurich New Zealand

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited

Marsh New Zealand

Crombie Lockwood (New Zealand) Limited (part of AJ Gallagher Group)

Cunningham Lindsey New Zealand Limited


Southern Response Earthquake Services Limited

Lloyd’s of London: Various syndicates not individually named

AIA International Limited /AIA New Zealand Limited (acquired Sovereign Assurance Company Limited)

Steadfast Group

Tower Insurance Limited

International Underwriting Agencies Limited

Insurance Council of New Zealand

Holmes Consulting Group

Rothbury Group

Nautilus Marine Underwriting Agency Pty

Tokio Marine HCC

CNA Hardy

Investment funds Tier 1

DLA Piper New Zealand is 'possibly the easiest of the big firms to work with in terms of dealing with agreeable people, and it is among the most cost-effective'. With one of the largest investment funds and financial services practices in the country, the firm handles not only the formation and structuring of funds, but also provides advice on financial markets conduct, including insider trading, market manipulation and disclosure, as well as ongoing compliance advice and due diligence. Alasdair McBeth and Rachel Taylor in Wellington, along with Auckland-based Tracey Cross, are the lead partners. Special counsel Nicole MacFarlane in Auckland and Wellington-based senior associates Tom Barnes and Neisha Mistry also play pivotal roles in the practice.


‘The partners working in the investment funds practice at DLA Piper are genuinely joined up with each other. This is apparent when they talk on panels together and when they interact. This has a lot of benefits in terms of the feeling of being advised by a firm as opposed to feeling like you are being advised by an individual who works for a firm, it is helpful any instances where work needs to be passed between hands, and in any social situation they are an easy firm to deal with. They are also particularly strong at being able to call upon overseas practitioners, who are able to comment on issues that have arisen overseas but that are new to New Zealand.’

‘They are also very willing to spend time developing the relationship, swapping views and getting to know about the client business outside of billable hours.’

‘As a firm, they appear to be committed to doing right, as well as what is strictly legal.’

‘They have good standing with the regulator and supervisors.’

‘Nick Valentine has an excellent combination of pragmatism, charisma and weight to what he says.’

‘Senior associate Tom Barnes has deep academic knowledge of the legislation and is excellent for working through complex issues.’

‘Tracey Cross has forged a particular expertise in Conduct and Culture, which is particularly valuable in the current environment. She has also been very responsive and pragmatic in the work that she has done for us.’

‘Tom Barnes, Alasdair McBeth and team are responsive to our needs and work within any information we provide.’

‘They are always easy to speak to, responsive and nothing is ever an issue.’

Key clients

Adminis Limited

Allianz Australia Insurance Limited

AMP Financial Services (NZ) Limited / AMP Capital Investors (New Zealand) Limited

Aon New Zealand

Bank of China

BizCover Limited

Britannia Financial Services Limited

BNP Paribas Securities Services

Booster Investment Management Limited

Board of Trustees of the National Provident Fund

Defence Force Superannuation Scheme

Devon Funds Management Limited

EBT Capital Limited

Epoch Partners AG

Evergreen Capital Partners Limited

Fidelity Life Assurance Company Limited

Financial Advice New Zealand Incorporated

Fisher Fund Management Limited

FNZ Limited

Foodstuffs North Island Limited

Forsyth Barr Funds Management Limited

Forte Funds Management Limited

Foxplan Limited

Government Superannuation Fund Authority

Harbour Asset Management Limited

Hantec (NZ) Company Limited

Heartland Bank Limited

HSBC Holdings plc

Implemented Investment Solutions Limited

Industrial and Commercial Bank of China

i-Select Limited

InvestNow Saving and Investment Service Limited

JMIS Limited/Clarity Funds Management Limited

Lifetime Asset Management Limited

Marsh Limited

Medical Assurance Society

Mercer NZ Limited

Milford Asset Management Limited

MMC Group Holdings Limited

MMC Limited

New Zealand Fire Service Superannuation Scheme

Nikko Asset Management New Zealand Limited

Openly Investing Limited

Police Superannuation Scheme

Presbyterian Beneficiary Fund Trustee Limited

Presbyterian Church Property Trustees

Public Trust

PIMCO Australia Pty Limited

Perpetual Guardian


Ranfurly Strategic Limited

Russell Investment Management Limited

Select Wealth

Simplicity NZ Limited

Smartshares Limited

Steadfast New Zealand Limited

The Property Crowd

Tower Limited

Trustees Executors Limited

Trustees of the Maritime KiwiSaver Scheme/Retirement Scheme

Trustees of the Reserve Bank of New Zealand Staff Superannuation and Provident Fund

Trilogy Funds Management Limited

The Methodist Church of New Zealand Superannuation Fund

Westpac Banking Corporation

Competition law Tier 2

'The firm has access to global knowledge which is tailored to local context resulting in bespoke solutions', says a client of DLA Piper New Zealand. The firm is frequently involved in market regulation matters, investigations, cartel allegations and merger clearances for local and multi-national companies. It recently handled a domestic cartel investigation in the electronics industry, as well as High Court proceedings concerning a restrictive covenant alleged to be anti-competitive arising from a dispute between the two largest supermarket chains in New Zealand. Litigation partner Alicia Murray is the head of the practice, in which Mark Williamson leads on contentious matters, which recently included participating in the Commerce Commission's inquiry into retail fuel.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm has access to global knowledge which is tailored to local context resulting in bespoke solutions.’

Key clients

PB Technologies


Dechra Pharmaceuticals

Foodstuffs North Island


Allianz Worldwide Partners

Rheem NZ


Kuehne + Nagel

Cathay Pacific


Corporate and M&A Tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand is 'large enough to deal with the complex issues of corporate law relating to listed entities, but small enough to be responsive and mould the services to our needs', remarks one client. The firm is heavily involved in cross-border M&A transactions, as well as large-scale group restructures and reorganisations, often advising on the local aspects of global deals. There is a strong flow of inbound work from Chinese buyers, and the firm has wide-ranging sector expertise in areas such as health, pharmaceuticals, retail, forestry and agriculture. Michael Thompson in Auckland and Rachel Taylor in Wellington are the practice heads. Thomson and senior associate Pavanie Edirisuriya lead the foreign investment practice, while Taylor and Auckland-based Martin Wiseman advise on takeovers and securities law compliance. Reuben Woods handles cross-border transactions, particularly those involving private equity funds.

Practice head(s):


‘I find DLA Piper to have deep experience in the areas that are required by our company. This includes the following: -Overseas Investment Office knowledge, land and lease contracts, employment law and corporate structuring. I also find DLA piper very commercial compared to other law firms. They are practical in their approach and look forward to issues that may arise down the track.’

‘Nicole Macfarlane has been precise and structured in her approach with our OIO application. This has made for a an efficient OIO process.’

‘Martin Thomson has been very responsive in his approach and made sure the right resources were applied in a timely manner.’

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island Limited

IAG New Zealand

TRG Renewable Resources New Zealand

TOWER Limited

AIG Insurance

Pfizer New Zealand Limited


Auckland Council

Mondelez New Zealand

General Electric

Newell Brands

Seequent Limited

Ngāi Tahu

Yashili Group

Mitre 10

Happy Valley Nutrition Limited

Danaher Corporation

Finistere Ventures

Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley

Northern Forest Products Limited

Panuku Development Auckland Limited

Sean Parker

Weta Digital Limited

Marsh Limited

Five V Capital Pty Ltd

Rothbury Insurance Brokers

Ngati Whatua Orakei Whai Rawa Limited

Data protection Tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand is part of a global firm with strong credentials in data protection and cybersecurity, and which frequently handles high-value and business-critical cross-border matters. Domestically, the firm has a rapidly growing flow of work that includes complex privacy matters, assistance with the prevention of data breaches, regulatory advice, cyber incident response and breach notification. Nick Valentine in Auckland, who was promoted to partner in 2020, is head of technology, data and IP. He is supported by experienced lawyers in the firm's other practice groups, notably employment partner Laura Scampion and Wellington-based corporate partner Rachel Taylor, as well as the highly rated insurance team.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island

New Zealand Green Building Council

Amazon, Inc.


Auckland Council

Nikko Asset Management



Trustees Executors

PB Technologies

Dispute resolution Tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand acts for domestic and international clients, frequently in high-value and complex cross-border disputes. Alongside its general commercial litigation capability, the firm has a broader dispute resolution practice that involves other key practice areas, notably insurance, resource management and employment. Its work also includes regulatory matters, as well as cases in the retail, banking, securities, insolvency and real estate sectors. In Auckland, practice head Iain Thain handles competition, regulatory and construction disputes as part of his broad practice, while Alicia Murray focuses on consumer law and financial services litigation. In Wellington, newly promoted partner Emma Moran deals with public law and commercial litigation.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:

Key clients


Auckland Council

Hilton Hotels

Trustees Executors

Moet Hennessey

Cornwall Park Trust Board


Capital and Coast District Health Board

Heartland Bank

PB Technologies Ltd


Labour and employment Tier 2

DLA Piper New Zealand has an employment practice that is 'commercially savvy, pragmatic, easy to deal with and technically great'. The firm's employment team handles business-critical matters for high-profile domestic and international clients. It excels in cross-border matters requiring knowledge of jurisdictional differences across the Asia Pacific region, and in strategic advice for overseas businesses setting up operations in New Zealand. Laura Scampion in Auckland is the sole partner and is known as 'pragmatic, a good sounding board and willing to work at a level that is going to add value'. Senior associate Julia MacGibbon is also recommended. John Hannan left to become a barrister at Bankside Chambers.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘The DLA Piper labour and employment team us very fast-paced at getting up to speed and being able to advice on trends, latest legislative changes and bills going through parliament. It is commercially savvy, providing advice that gives good options for a commercial business to allow us to make informed risk-based decisions. It is pragmatic, providing advice that is sensible for your specific business – because they take the time to get to know how your business runs – and that is easy to understand and interpret into action. They are technically great and have have deep expertise and give great comfort at their breadth of knowledge across all employment areas of expertise. They are also easy to deal with – friendly, down to earth but professional.’

‘Laura Scampion and her team are commercially savvy, pragmatic, easy to deal with and technically great, and they deliver speedy advice.’

‘The key strengths of the team are its international presence and contacts, which enable a global perspective, its pragmatic approach and the ability to share the doing as needed by the relevant in-house team, as well as its proactivity.’

Key clients


Pfizer New Zealand



Heartland Bank

Mondelez (Cadbury)

The Warehouse Group


Verizon Wireless

Foodstuffs North Island Limited



PB Technologies

Auckland Council (and its Council Controlled Organisation)

Panasonic Avionics

Projects and resources management (including environment) Tier 2

The 'always impressive, easy to relate to and accessible', DLA Piper New Zealand is a small practice involved in high-profile projects for a diverse range of clients, among them government entities, local councils and private companies in key sectors such as retail, energy, dairy, forestry, aquaculture and residential development. Led by Stephen Quinn in Wellington, who is 'one of the best RMA lawyers around', the team has standout practitioners in Kerry Anderson, who is co-head of the local RMA group, and key senior associate Emma Manohar. Partner Diana Hartley is head of the Auckland RMA team and has 20 years' experience in acting for public bodies, local government, corporate entities and individuals.

Practice head(s):


‘I’ve engaged the resource management team led by Stephen Quinn for over ten years now when I was working in the local government sector and now in private sector. While they have never provided anything but great legal advice, the team has always impressed me as being very human, very easy to relate to and get along with and accessible. Additionally, they provide great value for money and I’ve appreciated their value-added services. In my view, their customer service is a cut above the rest. All these factors make them stand out and they are my “go-to” firm for resource management and public law advice.’

‘I’d like to make a special mention of partner, Stephen Quinn. While Stephen is one of the best RMA lawyers around, what I’ve appreciated about Stephen is his ability to get alongside officers and executives, provide useful, timely and practical advice and simply make our busy professional lives easier. Our experience with some other partners of big law firms are that they tend to manage upwards and prioritise Mayors, Councillors or CEOs at the expense of executives who actually gets the work done. This is not the case with Stephen or the team at DLA Piper. I’ve appreciated his objectivity and customer service when there are issues I had to raise about the advice or invoice; and his initiative in making us aware that our business might be impacted by new legislation or regulation. In short, he is a great lawyer. So easy to deal with. Great value for money. He makes our lives easier.’

‘I have found DLA Piper to be responsive, even if your organisation is a relatively small client. Other firms manage client contact through a partner and in my experience this has caused delays. DLA Piper does not operate in this way which is a big plus. They are accessible and generally keep to the deadlines.’

‘They make a huge effort to be approachable and establish comfortable relationships with those they work with. They try to put people at ease and give advice that is tailored to the circumstances. Their approach to case management is without ego and pragmatic.’

‘Diana Hartley and special counsel Anne Buchanan are fantastic to work with. They have a down to earth approach and a genuine concern for the environment and effects on people. They are not afraid to be blunt when things aren’t going well and keep the interests of the client at the forefront. They keep their clients well informed of developments and are agile in their response to changing circumstances. They don’t engage in some of the “game-playing” that other legal providers seem to enjoy’

‘Having a small team works well, as we get to know the individuals so well, and feel like they are colleagues. They have a great legal knowledge in our subject area.’

‘Diana Hartley is an amazing person who involves us at every step of the way and never assumes anything. She treats us as equals, unlike some firms who see themselves as superior and charge the earth. Diana values instructing counsel input which is vital to us. Diana gives us value for money, and is always willing to work after hours to get us urgent jobs, even though we don’t expect her to. She is happy to work with us as juniors, or take the full lead, she is really flexible in that regard, and we see her as someone who we can call for advice at any time.’

‘Anne Buchanan has a great intellect, and produces amazing legal opinions that are easy to read’

‘Their key strength is their people. The individuals that I have had the pleasure of working with have extensive knowledge of the RMA, consenting pathways and experience of working on large scale infrastructure projects. They understand our business, what we are seeking to achieve and are highly competent at working on projects with a high public profile and of community interest. They worked on one of the first projects to be referred to a Board of Inquiry and one of the first PPPs in New Zealand. In this environment DLA Piper excelled in providing RMA advice, risk management and stakeholder management including engagement with regulators. Their client care is second to none. It is reassuring to always be able to reach an individual and know that a considered response will be received within an often very tight timeframe. I value the easy to digest legal advice that we receive which in my mind sets them apart from some of the other legal firms.’

‘Stephen Quinn is well regarded by the Courts and Councils, has a wealth of RMA experience and is familiar with working on contentious projects. He is always composed and as a client you have the knowledge that your project is in safe hands.’

‘In a fast paced project environment, Emma Manohar provides sound RMA advice, brings clarity, pays meticulous attention to detail, is personable and easy to deal with’

‘Kerry Anderson is quick to grasp the issues and tease apart sticking points and adopts a pragmatic approach to situations.’

‘Kerry Anderson is professional in both the small and large things that matter. She returns calls, provides digestible advice on time, manages workflow within agreed budgets and helps us to be ahead of any deadlines. She is friendly and works well with our team be they juniors, senior managers or Trustees. Many law firms promise to be and deliver all these things, but often drop the ball on one or more of these things that matter to clients.’

Key clients

Auckland Council

Greater Wellington Regional Council

The Department of Corrections

Hutt City Council

Maungaharuru Tangitū Trust

Nelson City Council

Bookabach Limited

Yashili New Zealand Dairy Company Limited

Todd Energy Limited and Todd Generation Limited

Marlborough District Council

Real estate and construction Tier 2

The practice at DLA Piper New Zealand is part of a global network, so frequently acts for domestic and international clients on the local law aspects of multi-jurisdictional projects. It also handles significant domestic matters in its own right, among them large and complex real estate and construction transactions, acquisitions and disposals, development projects and the management of substantial real estate portfolios. It also has recognised expertise in the PPP and projects space. Its construction practice draws upon the firm's prominent role in the insurance sector to handle front-end matters and disputes. Justin March and Mark Williamson in Auckland lead the group. Up-and-coming partner Heath Brunton is recommended for development projects and design-build-lease agreements for office and industrial premises.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘The team has an in-depth knowledge of our business structure and company’s history which makes them an extension of our in-house legal team and enables it to provide bespoke, quality advice to fit our needs.’

‘It is technically excellent and has a great understanding of our company which makes it very valuable.’

‘I have full accessibility to the partner who is extremely responsive – often I require extremely tight turnarounds – and transparent. I not only require legal advice but also a commercial approach and this is the service I receive.’

‘Lawyers need to provide not only legal advice but in a commercial manner and without fail, I always receive this service from Davida Dunphy.’

‘DLA Piper was my first choice of firm to work with our establishment. I was absolutely thrilled when they said they would become a pro bono partner for our organisation. Over the last year they have assisted in many fields, including the formation of the organisation and filing appropriate documentation with the Charities Office. We are heavily reliant on funding from industry, so the creation of contracts with funding partners has enabled us to have the assurance that funds are sustainable, and also funders have transparency as to where their monies are allocated.’

‘What has impressed me most about working with DLA Piper has been their total buy-in to the cause that we are advocating for. All the firm’s partners I have worked with, inclduing Davida Dunphy and Mark Williamson, have supported and promoted the work we do. We have also explored ways in which to integrate our programme into the operations of DLA Piper, which is something I am looking forward to doing.’

‘Over the time I have worked in New Zealand’s construction industry I would have to say that DLA Piper has been the most generous law firm I have worked with, nothing is too hard and when I have felt like I had a lot of questions, especially with a start-up, they have reassured me that they are here to support. Having worked in the not-for-profit sector for over 20 years, I have been fortunate to have been supported by many pro bono partners including other law firms, however I would definitely say that DLA Piper has a noteworthy manner of being both approachable and friendly. They also do very well to translate legal terms into layman’s language so we understand processes.’

‘The firm has sound knowledge and abilities.’

‘Justin March has intimate knowledge of leases, especially during Covid times. Heath Brunton is great at working with Development Agreements.’

‘The team is very agile and can respond to queries at a moment’s notice. They are always on hand to give clear, concise and informed advice no matter how trivial. They are experts in their field.’

‘Heath Brunton and Justin March are very approachable. They are extremely knowledgeable in their fields and always on hand to take a call and help out where they can. They go above and beyond call of duty to provide expert advice across all of our property matters.’

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island

Auckland Council

Goodman Property Trust

Fletcher Building

IAG New Zealand

Cornwall Park Trust Board

Cathay Pacific

Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu


Television New Zealand

Happy Valley Nutrition

Tamaki Regeneration

Wellington Water

Nelson City Council

Tasman District Council

QBE Insurance

Fletcher Building (Placemakers)

Aon New Zealand


Restructuring and insolvency Tier 2

'The team is very knowledgeable in this space and able to provide robust advice in an easily understandable manner', notes a client of DLA Piper New Zealand. The firm has a multi-disciplinary restructuring group that advises banks, insolvency practitioners and corporates on high-value and complex insolvency matters. It is currently acting for the liquidators of CBL Insurance in the largest insolvency currently on-going in New Zealand. Finance partner Michael Thompson and litigator Alicia Murray co-lead the practice from Auckland. Head of litigation Iain Thain and, in Wellington, partner Emma Moran, who is 'a consummate professional providing  a high level of engagement and excellent customer service', are also central to the practice.

Other key lawyers:


‘Team is very knowledgeable in this space which is not always the case in legal practices and able to provide robust advice in an easily understandable manner. Timely, accurate service provided along with building a sound business relationship.’

‘Litigation partner Emma Moran is a consummate professional, with a high level of engagement, excellent customer service and of course excellent legal advice and service.’

Key clients

Kare Johnstone and Andrew Grenfell of McGrathNicol as liquidators of CBL Insurance Limited

GE Financial Services and GE Renewable Energy

China Construction Bank

Heartland Bank


Thorn Group Financial Services

DUAL NZ Limited

Banking and finance Tier 3

DLA Piper New Zealand's Auckland office is home to a finance, projects and restructuring practice that 'covers all of the bases and has exceptional technical knowledge in specialist areas, including those outside traditional banking and finance'. The firm is recognised for its skills in cross-border and acquisition finance transactions, in part due to the firm's global office network. It is increasingly focusing on fintech and emerging financial technology, including peer-to-peer lending, alongside regulatory matters, financial product development and securitisation. Michael Thompson, whose 'knowledge of banking and finance law across multiple jurisdictions is immense', leads the practice. Katie Carson is now a consultant, with a growing focus on the fintech market.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘The firm provides strong communication and is easy to work with. There is regular followup and discussions are not confusing. Turnaround time is excellent. Work tends to stick to budget or fair reasons are provided for any cost overrun.’

‘Michael Thompson has an excellent understanding of banking finance and can view docs from a commercial position. He is easy to discuss items with and provides sound feedback. He goes the extra mile to assist.’

‘The practice provides extremely quick responses and thorough advice. It understands clients’ needs and provides timely and excellent solutions and unfailing support. Its fees are reasonable. It is a “go to” firm for banking and finance.’

‘The DLA banking and finance team covers all of the bases. They have exceptional technical knowledge across a broad base of areas including those outside of the traditional banking and finance specialties. The team also has a more personal touch than its peers and fits in the trusted advisor role in addition to being technical experts.’

‘Michael Thompson’s knowledge of banking and finance law across multiple jurisdictions is immense. There is no job that is too big or too small for him and he tackles tricky problems with an enthusiasm and pragmatism that spreads to others involved.’

‘DLA Piper is a well-known law firm in the New Zealand market. It is also one of the few law firms that has an obvious global reach and service. It provides a quality of service that is expected from a law firm of its standing in the market.’

‘I have worked with Michael Thompson the most in the last 12 months. He is attentive to details and provides constant and constructive feedback on matters under engagement. Michael doesn’t just do the work, he provides added value to his clients.’

Key clients

ASB Bank

Westpac New Zealand



Heartland Bank

Foodstuffs North Island


Accel-KKR (and its portfolio company, Seequent Holdings Limited)

FlexiGroup New Zealand

New Zealand Guardian Trust Company

Bank of China

TSB Bank Limited

China Construction Bank

Tax Tier 3

DLA Piper New Zealand has a strong corporate transaction practice, which requires the input of its tax group in high-value domestic and cross-border M&A deals. This work encompasses transaction structuring, as well as negotiating the tax aspects of sale and purchase agreements. As part of a global firm, the tax practice calls upon expertise across its office network to handle cross-border matters, including corporate transactions, employee share plans and fund structuring. The practice led by newly promoted partner David Johnston in Auckland also has a strong track record in advising warranty and indemnity insurers on M&A tax issues and due diligence.

Practice head(s):


‘DLA Piper offers tax expertise in Australia and New Zealand and has supported us as underwriting counsel (tax and non-tax) on a wide range of deals.’

‘David Johnston is a commercial, client-focused adviser who understands well the product we offer and the tax considerations that apply to us.’

‘Because my business is a financial service provider taking a completely novel approach to B2B payments, a firm understanding of our legal position was a pre-requisite to bring our innovation to market. Lawyers are often perceived as slowing business transactions down. I was referred to David Johnstone in DLA Piper and the tax issue was approached in a pragmatic, practical way, with the right level of detail and support required for the job.’

‘They are effective communicators that point out and resolve the important issues and understand commercial realities.’

Key clients

Sean Parker


Foodstuffs North Island Limited

Accel-KKR / Seequent

Discovery Communications, LLC




TMT Tier 3

DLA Piper New Zealand has a highly skilled intellectual property and technology practice, which frequently handles large outsourcing transactions, as well as handling technology procurement projects for global banks and asset managers. Newly promoted partner Nick Valentine in Auckland is the lead TMT lawyer. His broad skill set includes specialist expertise in broadcasting rights deals and content licensing. Consultant Katie Carson in Auckland is a key advisor to fintech clients on banking and finance matters. A number of corporate partners, among them Wellington-based Rachel Taylor, handle technology-focused M&A transactions.

Practice head(s):

Other key lawyers:


‘I have found DLA Piper NZ to be comparable to other NZ top-tier advisors regarding their work on sports media rights agreements. Their guidance and approach has been of a very high standard.’

‘Nick Valentine is my main contact at DLA Piper NZ. Nick has overseas experience with sports media rights agreements and is very good at applying a commercial lens to the contract negotiation guidance he provides. Nick is thorough and has very good attention to detail in his work. He is collaborative in his approach to working with clients.’

Key clients

Foodstuffs North Island




Auckland Council

Trustees Executors


New Zealand Green Building Council

PB Technologies

Tend Health Limited

Global Co-Chairs: Roger Meltzer and Andrew Darwin
Co-Chief Executive Officers: Simon Levine and Cameron Jay Rains
Number of partners: 1,500
Number of lawyers: 5,000
Languages: The firm speaks over 60 languages
Offices: Lawyers located in more than 60 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Please see for further information about the firm.

Photo Name Position Profile
 Heath Brunton photo Heath Brunton
Ms Katie Carson  photo Ms Katie Carson
Mrs Tracey Cross  photo Mrs Tracey Cross
 Brad Cuff photo Brad Cuff
Ms Diana Hartley  photo Ms Diana Hartley
 Misha Henaghan  photo Misha Henaghan
Mrs Caroline Laband  photo Mrs Caroline Laband
Ms Nicole MacFarlane  photo Ms Nicole MacFarlane
Mr Justin March  photo Mr Justin March
 Alicia Murray photo Alicia Murray
Mrs Laura Scampion  photo Mrs Laura Scampion
Mr Iain Thain  photo Mr Iain Thain
Mr Michael Thompson  photo Mr Michael Thompson
Mr Martin Thomson  photo Mr Martin Thomson
Mr Nick Valentine  photo Mr Nick Valentine
Mr Mark Williamson  photo Mr Mark Williamson
Mr Martin Wiseman  photo Mr Martin Wiseman
Mr Reuben Woods  photo Mr Reuben Woods

Global Co-Chairs: Roger Meltzer and Andrew Darwin
Co-Chief Executive Officers: Simon Levine and Cameron Jay Rains
Number of partners: 1,500
Number of lawyers: 5,000
Languages: The firm speaks over 60 languages
Offices: Lawyers located in more than 60 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific.

Please see for further information about the firm.

At DLA Piper we are firmly committed to diversity and inclusion. For us, diversity isn’t just about visible differences, it’s the unique blend of talents, skills, experiences and perspectives that makes each of us an individual and we know it’s crucial to have a culture and environment where those differences are genuinely valued. As a global business law firm, with a diverse client base, we know that our clients expect our people to represent the communities in which we work and value our ability to advise them on both local and global cultures and markets. We believe that our approach to diversity and inclusion enables us to attract the best talent, build the most effective teams and deliver the highest level of client service.

For more information on our specific D&I initiatives please see