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The Legal 500 international directory has again recognised Wynn Williams as a leader in its field, with many of its lawyers being recognised for excellence within their particular discipline.  The independent and impartial directory bases its rankings on feedback from clients and industry peers, and an assessment of the work carried out during the preceding year.  It’s a proud achievement to be included in the directory for consecutive years and receive such wonderful client feedback.  See below for this year’s rankings:


Ranked tier 2 and Emily Walton recognised as a leading individual 

Wynn Williams has 'a strong team that has dealt with some very large earthquake claims and is great to work with', according to one client. The firm is well known for its work in earthquake and natural disaster claims, particularly those arising from the Canterbury earthquakes, and is also a prominent player in professional indemnity, fidelity, health, life and travel claims. Richard Hern in Auckland and Emily Walton in Christchurch lead the practice. Hern is an experienced trial lawyer who regularly represents insurers in professional indemnity, risk management, health, life and statutory liability matters. Walton is a leading light in domestic and commercial earthquake insurance claims.



  • Emily Walton is commercial, easy to get along with, and has an excellent understanding of the law and legal practice.  She Is a real standout partner”.
  • Emily is an outstanding lawyer.  An intelligent, strong advocate with sound judgment and compassion”


Resource Management

Ranked tier 2 with Philip Maw recognised as a leading individual, and Kirstie Wyss and Michelle Mehlhopt as next generation partners.


‘The firm's administration of complex, multi-party cases and the respect it gets from the Court is the best I have seen', says a client of the resource management and environment practice at Wynn Williams. The firm is a prominent player in resource management, environmental and natural resources matters, particularly in the South Island. The practice is led from Christchurch by Philip Maw and resource management specialist Lucy de Latour. Maw is a recognised advisor of regional councils, with particular expertise in freshwater planning policy development, and clients describe him as 'an excellent presenter and communicator'. Up-and-coming partner Kirstie Wyss is 'approachable and yet very professional' and Michelle Mehlhopt is recommended for district and regional planning, resource consents, enforcement and strategic advice to local authorities. Alongside freshwater management, the firm frequently advises on energy and natural resources matters.



  • Philip Maw’s advice is always well though out and he provides considered responses to questions”. 
  • “The team as a whole is exceedingly competent.  Philip Maw and Lucy de Latour are unflappable and provide calm, measured advice.  They are always available to us and respond well even under tight timeframes”
  • Michelle Mehlhopt has the ability to go deep into the detail but never loses sight of the big picture issues. She is a skilled and talented advocate.
  • Imogen Edwards is incredibly organised, always available and I was really impressed with the speed and quality of work.”


Dispute Resolution

Ranked tier 3 and Jeremy Johnson recognised as a leading individual


At Wynn Williams, 'the team is efficient, empathetic, commercially savvy and focused on achieving good results'. Known for the strength of its in-house advocacy skills, the firm handles commercial disputes, contentious trusts and estates, insurance and employment matters. Jeremy Johnson and Anthony Drake in Auckland, along with Joshua Shaw in Christchurch, are the lead partners. Clients describe Johnson as 'intellectually strong with very good emotional intelligence, which helps his client make good decisions in the face of ambiguity'. The recruitment of relationship property partner Andrew Watkins in Christchurch from Duncan Cotterill and construction partner Rebecca Saunders in Auckland from Lane Neave has helped the firm expand the range of its litigation practice.



  • Jeremy Johnson is patient, quietly determined and gives his clients a strong feeling that they are in a safe pair of hands. I cannot recommend him highly enough. In terms of overall value for money, his advice was worth every cent.”
  • Jeremy Johnson prepared extremely well for negotiations and mediations and left a leading QC in the shade. His reasonable and courteous approach was undoubtedly a factor in the successful resolution of the dispute. His strong intellect and street smarts helped navigate some difficult issues. His writing and advocacy skills are first class.”
  • Jeremy Johnson displays tact and courtesy to all involved and has outstanding advocacy skills. He is easily a match for the leading QC in the field and should be recognised as a leading practitioner in trusts and relationship property himself.”
  • Jeremy Johnson has a high level of intelligence overlaid with commercial practicality, and he is very articulate.”



Ranked tier 3


At Wynn Williams, employment law is handled by the firm's dispute resolution group, though practice heads Amanda Douglas in Christchurch, who 'brings an excellent sense of commercial reality to the table', and Anthony Drake in Auckland focus exclusively on employment and health and safety matters. Douglas focuses on disputes, while Drake has more than 20 years' experience in all aspects of contentious and non-contentious issues including advisory work, dismissals, discrimination, and employment implications for commercial transactions, redundancy, restraint of trade, confidential information, and industrial disputes. One client remarks that 'we found them very effective - not only well versed in the law, but able to advance effective strategies to help us achieve our desired outcomes'.



  • Amanda Douglas is a standout lawyer. She is able to intuitively see the issue and advance great solutions that balance risk and commercial pragmatism effectively. She is extremely good in face-to-face situations with the other party and knowing how to manage their expectations downwards.”
  • Anthony Drake has been my go to employment relations legal counsel for years. I trust him unequivocally. He is a completely seasoned professional and knows ER law inside and out. I have also learned a great deal from working with him.”
  • “Given his busy schedule, Anthony Drake never seems too busy to respond to queries for assistance and he always responds in a timely manner. I cannot fault the service I have received from him.”


Corporate and M&A

Ranked tier 4


'This team gets the balance just right between their approach when dealing with other advisors, applying pragmatism during the dealmaking process and being responsive and knowledgable', says a client of Wynn Williams. The firm's broad scope of work includes complex acquisitions and divestments in the growth industry areas of honey and food, as well as private equity and venture capital transactions in a range of sectors. In Auckland, the 'smart, commercial and efficient' Ash Hill leads the practice and is 'easy to work with and gets the deal done'. He handles complex M&A transactions for major corporates and private investors including Reddy Group and the Ports of Auckland.



  • "Ash Hill is a standout partner with whom we have developed deep trust and commitment. The value he adds is not only legal, but he is also able to understand the commercial rationale and cut to the issue quickly, solving it with pragmatism.”
  • Tom Corkill is an associate destined to become a successful partner. He is ahead of his years and confidently navigates a deal process, often negotiating and working with advisors across a wide spectrum of low-to-high seniority with ease. He is becoming my ‘go-to’ more and more.”
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