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Published on 17/01/2019
Legal 500 and Chambers and Partners Asia Pacific directories have again recognised Wynn Williams as a leader in its field with many of its lawyers recognised within their particular discipline.

Legal 500 full rankings can be seen here:

Legal 500 highlights:
  • Corporate and M&A: ranked tier 4 and Nick Kovacevich recognised as a next generation lawyer
    • Wynn Williams is highly recommended for private M&A transactions and it is active in established sectors such as transport and logistics, as well as handling major deals in growth industries such as food and technology. Its work for innovative companies includes acting for Snowball Effect, which is New Zealand’s first licensed equity crowdfunding platform, as well as equity capital raisings for numerous start-up and growth-stage companies. Hayley Buckley in Auckland leads the practice and is a respected for her work in the equity crowdfunding market. Her work in other sectors included advising Smart Environmental on its sale to Maui Capital. M&A specialist Ash Hill also worked on that deal, and his other highlights included assisting Egmont Honey with the NZ$30m sale of a controlling interest to GO Healthy. Stephen Lowe is also recommended. One client rates the firm '10/10' and praises partner Nick Kovacevich, who is 'a rock star - fast, responsive, very good at what he does - he is passionate about his clients and always gives good advice'. One client believes that he is 'probably the best lawyer in New Zealand for high-growth, emerging companies'.
  • Dispute Resolution: ranked tier 3 and Jeremy Johnson recognised as a leading individual
    • Wynn Williams is 'incredibly dynamic, strategic, innovative and flexible', according to one client. The firm is known for the high quality of its in-house advocacy and its experience in commercial, trusts, insurance and employment disputes. Head of dispute resolution Jeremy Johnson, who works in both Christchurch and Auckland, is recommended for 'outstanding service' and is described as 'creative in his approach and highly strategic' and as having 'an excellent intellect and a wealth of knowledge'. He acted for Sargon Capital as the purchaser of shares in Complectus Ltd, in the defence of a claim brought by the vendor following the collapse of the sale. He is also defending Craig Wireless in a derivative action brought by Cayman Spectrum that alleges breaches of a shareholders’ agreement. Joshua Shaw is also recommended.
  • Insurance: ranked tier 2 and Emily Walton recognised as a leading individual
    • At Wynn Williams, practice head Jeremy Johnson, who works between Auckland and Christchurch, focuses predominantly on commercial, insolvency, equity and trust disputes, but works closely with the firm's specialist insurance litigators to handle the firm's growing caseload of earthquake and natural disaster claims, professional indemnity cases, and claims arising from fidelity, fraud, health, life and travel issues. Johnson has 'a huge intellect and the client-handling skills to make a top-class litigator'. Key partner Emily Walton in Christchurch 'has a superb insurance practice – honed on a steady diet of Christchurch earthquake insurance matters – and she is a hands-on practitioner, always on top of her brief and close to her clients who trust her'. She advised a building contractor involved in the construction of a school on a leaky building claim, in a case that raised important issues about the liability of co-defendants. 'Personable, technically sound' associate Richard Hargreaves also plays a key role in the practice. In Auckland, key partner Richard Hern is 'very practical and commercially sensible, particularly in real estate PI matters'.
  • Employment: ranked tier 3
    • Wynn Williams is known for its work in complex employment disputes, particularly in the areas of contracting, construction and road transport. Partner Amanda Douglas in Christchurch is the key practitioner and frequently advises local authorities on employment law and health and safety matters. Clients note that she has 'great understanding of employment law and is very savvy and direct'. For Gordon Handy Machinery, she handled the employment aspects of the sale of the company and its six branches in the South Island. Litigation partner Anthony Drake in Auckland, who joined from Kensington Swan, has more than 20 years' experience in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment work, including dismissals, discrimination, redundancy, and industrial disputes. He acted for Turuki Health Care in a dispute with an employee whose advocates breached the confidentiality and non-disparaging remarks provisions in a mediated settlement. 
  • Resource Management: ranked tier 2 with Philip Maw recognised as leading individual, Kirstie Wyss and Michelle Mehlhopt as next generation lawyers.
    • Wynn Williams in Christchurch climbs the ranking on the strength of its client roster, which includes Greater Wellington Regional Council and the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as the reputation of its key lawyers. Philip Maw leads the practice and is 'fantastic - thorough, concise and responsive'. Lucy de Latour specialises in resource management as well as environmental and local government law, focusing primarily on freshwater management and the Canterbury rebuild, as well as retail, commercial and industrial development projects. Maw and de Latour acted for the Environmental Protection Authority's Board of Inquiry to examine resource consent and designations for the East West Link Motorway Extension in Auckland. They also advised Canterbury Regional Council on the development of and hearings on changes to the Canterbury Land and Water Regional Plan. Senior associate Michelle Mehlhopt and associate Kirstie Wyss (who is 'friendly, professional and incredibly clear and competent') are rising stars.

Chambers and Partners full results can be seen here:

Highlights include:
  • Dispute Resolution: band 4, recognised lawyer in band 3 - Jeremy Johnson
    • A comprehensive offering of expertise in employment, insurance, and trusts and estates litigation. Also recognised for its work in environmental prosecutions and enforcement actions under the Resource Management Act 1991. Its clients include private businesses, government entities and charitable trusts.
    • Sources say: "We find the firm to have a strong depth and breadth of experience in trust advisory matters, both in terms of litigation and day-to-day queries."   A client also describes the team as "reliable and incredibly good at what they do, from the top down."
    • Head of department Jeremy Johnson is identified as an "excellent strategic litigator and thinker," by a client who adds: "He is very responsive and well regarded by other practitioners, which makes negotiations more streamlined." His experience includes advising overseas clients on New Zealand commercial disputes, and a second interviewee says: "He is extremely creative and goes the extra mile."
  • Insurance: band 3, recognised lawyer Richard Hern.
    • An experienced team of litigators operating from Auckland and Christchurch. Noted for its work in resolving earthquake and natural disaster claims for commercial and domestic firms and its substantial expertise advising estate agents and financial advisers on professional indemnity matters and fraud claims.
    • A client applauds the team's "fantastic approach to resolving issues," and another source describes it as "a modern and lean firm."
    • Richard Hern advises insurers on professional indemnity and health and life insurance issues. He is also noted for advising on matters concerning insurance fraud, and a client describes him as "highly intelligent and very knowledgeable in this field."
  The firm is very proud of its achievements in both of these international directories. 


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