Wynn Williams is one of New Zealand’s leading and most respected law firms. The firm was established in 1859 and continues to serve clients from large corporations to private individuals. The firm has the unique distinction of having produced three High Court Judges and a Supreme Court Judge within the last 50 years. Wynn Williams is widely acknowledged as a leader in the following twelve core areas of law: Litigation and Dispute Resolution; Resource Management; Agriculture; Company and Commercial Law; Insurance Law; Property; Local Government; Private Client; Trusts; Relationship and Family Law; Investing in New Zealand and Immigration; and Exporting Legal Services.
Agribusiness & Rural Law
Banking & Finance
Contentious Trusts & Estates
Financial Services & Compliance
Health & Safety
Investing in New Zealand
Local Government Strategy & Advisory
Prosecutions, Enforcement & Regulation
Relationship Property & Family Law
Resource Management & Environmental Law
Restructuring & Insolvency
Wills, Trusts & Asset Planning
May 2020: Wynn Williams is delighted to announce three promotions within its national team. The firm would like to congratulate Katherine Binsted, promoted to Senior Associate in the Corporate & Commercial Team, and James Anson-Holland and Courtney Donaldson both promoted to Associate in the Dispute Resolution Team. Click here to read the full announcement.
April 2020: Wynn Williams is pleased to announce a recent promotion, as well as an exciting new addition to our national legal team. Congratulations to Michelle Mehlhopt who has been promoted to special counsel in the resource management team and welcome to Cecil Hanafin who joins us as a senior associate in the dispute resolution team. Click here to read the full press release.
February 2020: Josh Taylor, a senior associate on New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams’ national dispute resolution team has been named a “rising star” on the inaugural New Zealand Lawyer Rising Stars List 2020. The list recognizes standouts in the legal profession who have demonstrated leadership and exceptional achievement early in their legal careers. As well as his work at the firm, he also contributes to the legal industry as a member of the disciplinary tribunal for the Canterbury Rugby Football Union and as a volunteer at Community Law Canterbury.
November 2019: New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams’ corporate advisory team recently advised the major shareholders in Auckland-based Agility CIS on their share sale to London-based private equity firm SilverTree Equity and Auckland-based Pioneer Capital. Founded in 1988, Agility is a market-leading utility customer information and billing systems software provider for energy retailers in Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East, and the United States. Partner Ash Hill and senior associate Tom Corkill acted as lead legal advisers to the Agility shareholders.
October 2019: New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams’ corporate advisory team is representing ASX-listed Orora on the sale of its Australasian fiber business to Nippon Paper for A$1.7 billion. Orora is a major supplier of packaging solutions to a range of industries across the globe. Its Australasian fiber business is responsible for several functions including cardboard recycling and carton and bag manufacturing. Orora’s remaining Australian operations will now focus on its market-leading beverage business, which includes the manufacture of wine bottles and aluminum cans. Founded in 1949, Nippon Paper is one of the largest paper and packaging companies in the world and is listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange. The deal, which is expected to be finalized next year, will be the group’s largest investment outside of Japan and will see it expand its operations into box manufacturing.
June 2019: Phoebe Davies has joined New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams as a partner on the national corporate and commercial team in the firm’s Christchurch office. Ms. Davies advises on a comprehensive variety of corporate and commercial law-related matters, including overseas investments, mergers and acquisitions, corporate structuring, shareholders’ agreements, corporate governance and commercial contracts. Also at Wynn Williams, national managing partner Philip Maw and the firm have both received recommendations in the 2019 edition of Doyles Guide for environment and resource management lawyers and law firms, respectively. Doyles is an independent organization that rates and recommends law firms based on interviews with clients, peers, and relevant industry bodies.
March 2019: New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams has added two new partners and two senior associates in its offices in Christchurch and Auckland. Andrew Watkins has joined the firm as a partner on the dispute resolution team. Based in Christchurch, he has over 25 years of experience handling complex relationship property estate matters. Rebecca Saunders also joins the firm as a partner on the dispute resolution team. She is based in Auckland and focuses her practice primarily on resolving construction-related disputes. Greg Simms has joined the firm in its Auckland office as a senior associate on the dispute resolution team. He has extensive experience in commercial litigation matters, arbitration proceedings and regulatory investigations. And Kimberley Wong has joined the firm’s corporate and commercial team as a senior associate, also in Auckland. She focuses her practice on mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital investment. Additionally, five of the firm’s associates have been promoted to senior associate, including Richard Hargreaves, Tiana Ritchie and Nicholas Lawrence on the dispute resolution team and Kirstie Wyss and Kate Woods on the resource management team. The firm has also recently become a sponsor of the New Zealand String Quartet. Formed in 1987, NZSQ is New Zealand’s leading chamber ensemble, which performs over 60 concerts in New Zealand annually, as well as international concerts across Europe, North America, and northeast Asia. The firm also hosted an event for its clients with the Honorable Julie Bishop MP, who was the first female to serve as Australia’s minister of foreign affairs. Before she began her career in politics, she was a commercial litigation lawyer and managing partner of a law firm in Perth. She has represented Curtin in the House of Representatives in 1998. Ms. Bishop spoke on leadership, governance and her political career. Finally, the firm recently collaborated with Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler partners Henry Bubel and Andrew Beame to help its client Invivo obtain a celebrity engagement contract with Sarah Jessica Parker. Invivo is one of New Zealand’s leading wine producers and in 2015 became its first equity crowdfunded wine company. Invivo recently expanded its portfolio of beverage offerings to include Graham Norton Gin and now looks forward to adding Ms. Parker to its list of celebrity stakeholders who will help curate a unique new wine collection.
November 2018: Andrew Watkins and Mike Doesburg have joined New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams. Mr. Watkins is a nationally recognized relationship property lawyer and will be joining the dispute resolution team in the firm’s Christchurch office. He has been involved in many high profile cases, regularly providing media comment nationally on issues relating to family law. Having completed advanced courses in negotiation and mediation at Harvard, he has conducted over 70 successful mediations during the course of his career. Mr. Doesberg will join the resource management team in the firm’s Auckland office. His experience has been in infrastructure, industrial, residential and coastal projects, as well as district and regional planning matters. He also specializes in local government and public law including liquor licensing and alcohol policy.
September 2018: Philip Maw of New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams has been appointed national managing partner following the retirement of Jared Ormsby. Mr. Maw has been a partner in the firm since 2011 and has led the nationally renowned resource management and environmental team since 2012. He joined the firm in 2004 as a law clerk. He is recognized by both Chambers & Partners and Legal 500 as a recommended and recognized leader in his field. Mr. Ormsby will retire from the firm next month.
July 2018: The corporate advisory team at New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams has recently acted for Bendon on its merger with Naked Brand and its stock exchange listing on the Nasdaq. Bendon is an iconic New Zealand intimate apparel business that is host to brands such as Heidi Klum, Stella McCartney, Frederick’s of Hollywood, Hickory, Fayreform and Davenport. Naked Brand is a U.S.-based intimates and sleepwear business that has previously also been listed on the Nasdaq, and is sold at such major retailers as Saks Fifth Avenue, Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. The New Zealand aspects of the transaction involved raising capital in advance of the listing and a scrip-for-scrip rollover of the New Zealand shareholders in Bendon into a new Australian company named Naked Brand Group Limited. The core business of Bendon will remain in New Zealand, with its main distribution center based in Auckland.
May 2018: New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams’ corporate advisory team represented New Zealand Warriors Limited, the company that owns the Vodafone Warriors, in the sale of the club to a consortium made up of the Carlaw Heritage Trust and Autex Industries. The firm’s team was led by partner Nick Kovacevich. The Carlaw Heritage Trust is an arm of Auckland Rugby League, with Cameron McGregor the chairman of both bodies. It acquired a 67% share of the club, with manufacturing company Autex Industries, a longstanding supporter of the rugby league in New Zealand, acquiring the remainder. The transaction was completed via a competitive sales process, with the Carlaw Heritage Trust and Autex Industries being chosen ahead of other bidders, including an American investment consortium led by Hawaiian Richard Fale.
April 2018: New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams has announced the following promotions. To senior associate are Tom Corkill (corporate & commercial); Jenny Turner (private client services); Hayden Baird (commercial property and projects); Josh Taylor (dispute resolution); and Shane Campbell (dispute resolution). To associate are Tiana Ritchie (dispute resolution) and Nic Lawrence (dispute resolution). Also at Wynn Williams, Ellie Harrison has joined the firm’s national dispute resolution team as a senior associate, focusing primarily on insurance law.
January 2018: Charlene Sell and Nick Kovacevich have been named partners at New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams. Both are members of the firm’s corporate team. Ms. Sell focuses her practice on assisting with business acquisitions and sales, drafting and providing advice on commercial contracts and terms of trade, dealing with employment matters and helping clients’ protect their brand, while Mr. Kovacevich specializes, among other things, on public and private mergers and acquisitions, private equity and venture capital investment, startups and growth-stage businesses, joint ventures, shareholders’ agreements and constitutions, commercial contracts, and franchising.
December 2017: New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams has been ranked in the areas of corporate and mergers and acquisitions, dispute resolution, insurance, labor and employment and projects and resource management in the 2018 Asia Pacific edition of The Legal 500. In addition, Jeremy Johnson has been singled out for his expertise in dispute resolution, while Nick Kovacevich (corporate and mergers and acquisitions), Michelle Mehlhopt (projects and resource management), and Kirstie Wyss (projects and resource management) have all been named “next generation” lawyers. The Legal 500 assesses the strengths of law firms in over 100 jurisdictions around the world, with a comprehensive research program revised and updated every year to assure readers of the most current profile of the global legal market. Also at Wynn Williams, Anthony Drake will join the firm January 1, 2018, as a member of its employment and dispute resolution practices. He is internationally recognized in Chambers Asia Pacific 2018 as a leader in the field of employment law. Mr. Drake’s arrival takes the partnership to 20 and continues the expansion of the firm’s Auckland office, where he’ll be based.
February 2017: Lucy de Latour, Stephen Lowe and Matthew Couch have been named partners at New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams. Ms. de Latour is a resource management and local government specialist. Since joining the firm in 2013, her practice has focused primarily on issues associated with freshwater management, the Canterbury rebuild and a range of retail and industrial developments throughout New Zealand. A member of the corporate advisory team, Mr. Lowe has over 30 years’ legal experience helping leading enterprises and entrepreneurs undertake transactions and resolve legal issues. He has been cited as a “leading lawyer” in mergers and acquisitions by independent legal directory IFLR1000. Finally, Mr. Couch has extensive commercial property experience both in New Zealand and the U.K. His practice is focused on large-scale property acquisitions and disposals, commercial leasing, unit title developments and property financing. He is a member of the firm’s commercial property and projects team. Also at Wynn Williams, the firm has been ranked a leading firm in Chambers’ Asia Pacific 2017 guide. Additionally, Jared Ormsby and Jeremy Johnson have been ranked individually in dispute resolution in the Chambers’ Asia Pacific 2017 guide; Richard Hern, in insurance; and Philip Maw, in environment.
January 2017: Stephen Lowe has been made a partner at New Zealand member firm Wynn Williams. Mr. Lowe specializes in corporate and commercial law, with particular expertise in mergers and acquisitions and securities and energy law. He has over 30 years’ legal experience and advises clients on all aspects of commercial law including corporate governance, contract law, trade practices, overseas investment, competition and securities. Mr. Lowe has been named a “leading lawyer” in mergers and acquisitions by independent legal directory IFLR1000, and is included in NZ Lawyer’s Hot List.