New Zealand

IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate
Dentons Kensington Swan

In August 2019, Kensington Swan combined with global firm Dentons in a rare international entry into New Zealand’s legal market, easily becoming the largest international firm in the country. The firm has offices in Auckland and Wellington.  

 

Focusses / specialisms 

When it comes to transactional matters, Dentons Kensington Swan is solid across the board. The firm’s corporate and finance practice is diversified, and it has a specialised China business group that assists Chinese entrants into the New Zealand market. 

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include ANZ Bank, HSBC, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Akora ResourcesAllectus Capital, and SHE Software 

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

During the research period, the firm kept busy with capital raisings, sales, private equity, and technology acquisitions.  

The restructuring and insolvency team handled STA Travel Group companies’ liquidation among a number of further receiverships in dentalcare, tanneries, financial services, oil and gas, and the wine industries 

The capital markets practice acted in property bonds, convertible bonds, capital raisings, securitisations, and IPOs in the automotive and natural resources sectors. 

The projects practice were busy with transport mandates, landfill extensions, wastewater projects, PPPs, geothermal projects, and land acquisitions, while the finance team handled real estate refinancing, acquisition finance, telecommunications financing, and hotel development financing. 

In the research period, the firm brought in lawyer Ana Coculescu from the Environmental Protection Authority, but lost partner Marija Batistich to Tompkins Wake and Mark Broad to C&F Legal. 

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Clinician Holdings series A-2 capital raising 

FE Investments insolvency 

New Zealand Automotive Investments NZX IPO 

Northern Corridor improvements project 

STA Travel Group insolvency 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking

Their level of knowledge and ability to drive the process was outstanding from all partners and assistants. Their opinions were sound & well researched. The entire process exuded a quiet confidence that they were totally in control.” 

Fair quotes and honouring quotes even if billable hours exceed quotes (as per recent transaction). Key strength is they are approachable and can explain complex issues simply.  

Fast, responsive. 

I've been very happy with the service Liz Lim and her team provide me. In the last 6 months, Liz has delivered me a range of legal work, which has been completed within a quick timeframe and to an excellent standard. She and her team's work played a crucial part in a high value settlement with tight timeframes in late 2020. Dentons prepared a full set of lending documents within two days (rather than adding clauses to the bank's internally prepared docs). Not having to wait for the bank's internal team for docs made a big difference to us in the time-critical transaction.  Out of our panel solicitors, Liz is my go-to lawyer to call also because she has taken the time to get to know me and my work, and always makes herself available to discuss legal matters as they come up. 

Highly astute. Extremely responsive. First class under pressure.” 

Professional, timely and provide great comms throughout the transaction. 

Very thorough, great attention to detail. Friendly and helpful, accurate, very good at managing the process so that the transaction completes on time and with everything I need in the documentation. Absolute confidence in their work.’ 

They are good with property, finance and contract law. I need people that we verse in financing and property law as I primarily deal with property and project financing. 

Pauline Ho, we normally dealt with has ensured the efficient communications and clear instructions to all the parties are achieved and the bank position has been protected all the time.  Her thorough knowledge, professional advice on all the legal matters with enthusiasm is impressive. 

Chose Dentons because of their international capabilities.” 

DKS are great value for money, considering the prompt/efficient service provided and access to experienced/capable people. They seem very "nimble" - able to change tact as/when required to overcome a hurdle and/or strike a commercial outcome. 

DKS provide prompt, clear and commercial advice.  They're also notably proactive and nimble - able to change tact if needed to overcome any hurdles that arise. 

Proactive, attention to detail, competent, focused.” 

DKS are prompt, capable and notably nimble in their dealings - proactively able to to change tact/troubleshoot as issues arise.  I expect this is lead/taught from the top, as Liz Lim (partner) is industry-renowned for her helpful and "commercial" approach. 

 

Capital markets 

Wook was knowledgeable, accessible and understandable to his client. The client (who we worked with in the past) gave feedback to us that he really appreciated Wook's attributes and thanked us for introducing Wook and Dentons KS. 

Commercial but highly knowledgeable.” 

 

Investment funds 

Staff are efficient, pleasant and are good timekeepers. Senior staff are well versed in the issues at hand. Fees appear to be going rates. 

 

M&A 

In depth knowledge of the processes involved and experience with dealing with the central government agency. Timely delivery of services including during Covid 19 lockdown.  Reasonable fee structure. 

Excelled in M&A investment including cross-border ones; outstanding in client care; resourceful in public and sectorial fields.” 

Excellent service orientation. Attention to detail.” 

They provide first class client care. Always take the time to understand our business and commercial objectives. They are easy to work with and really professional. 

The firm provided an excellent level of service on the transaction, particularly as a result of their knowledge of the business sector that the target operates in. 

Linda Clarke gives strategic, nuanced advice and is very effective in the regulatory area.” 

 

Project development 

Responsive and understand what we need. They help the technical experts with their statements of evidence. They also help provide some training to our engineering consultants to lift their understanding of evidence needed at formal hearings. 

Strong technical knowledge. Collaborative. Pragmatic. Generally, performs well in terms of value for money. Some stand-out individuals who are leaders in their field. 

Pragmatic client focused advice.  Dedicated to high customer service.  Understand our business, people, and stakeholders. 

Practical solutions. Great technical knowledge plus client focus.   

They have an up-to-date knowledge of the Resource Management sphere of works and provide sound advice and guidance in relation to this field. 

 

Restructuring and insolvency 

They are responsive and provide me with practical advice as required.” 

Efficient and cost-effective. Prompt service.” 

 

Chris Parke 

Gets to the nub of the issues quickly. Is pleasant and well-mannered. Introduces all staff properly. Provides good advice promptly by phone and report. Enjoys good support from his peers. 

They understand their brief is fully understood & provide direction & impetus to ensure the project is completed to my satisfaction in a timely manner. 

 

Christina Sheard 

Great attitude, leadership and client focus. 

“Technically strong. I enjoy working with Christina on the recent consenting matter she acted on for us, I could rely on Christina to be across the necessary details, flag risks and issues, give good strategic advice and help keep the project team on track. She kept me in the loop well and had a collaborative approach.

 

David Shillson 

Deep knowledge of our business.  High level of understanding of our strategic goals for this project.  Knowledge of the law.  Knowledge of the central government agency we were dealing with. 

 

Heida Donegan 

She is highly client-focused, commercially astute and always provides excellent legal advice.   

Extraordinary client care, resourceful networking, and high-level wise guidance.” 

 

James McMillan 

Available and provides practical timely advice.”  

James provides practical, on point advice. He has an excellent understanding of his practice area. In addition, we found him friendly and approachable. 

Good responsiveness.” 

 

Liz Lim

Approachable - could easily pick up the phone if we had any queries. Great turnaround time.  

Approachable. Would easily be able to pick up the phone if we had any queries. Very reliable at reverting to any questions promptly. 

Fast, easy to deal with, doesn't overcomplicate things. 

Liz and her team provide me excellent quality property finance lending documentation reliably and quickly.  She is also very approachable and easy to discuss with. In my work, questions with a legal aspect come up often and Liz makes it easy for me to pick up the phone to discuss these. I feel like a valued client when I deal with her. 

Liz is one of NZ's preeminent finance lawyers. She knows it all and is extremely calm and clear under pressure. 

Liz is reliable, professional and hard working.  Her timeliness, attention to detail and solution focus gives me the confidence in the task at hand. 

Organised, always available, attention to detail, willing to back her customer for the right outcome. Patient, deep knowledge of financing sector and well connected.” 

They are professional and easy to engage in new matters.  

Liz is the true definition of a "trusted advisor" in the banking & finance legal space in NZ. Vast transactional experience, a genuine/friendly and proactive/commercial approach, and a cool/level head regardless of situation/issue arising - you want a lawyer like Liz on your side delivering for you. 

Proactive. attention to detail, competent, focused.” 

 

Nicky McIndoe 

“Responsiveness, Risk management, providing juniors to help technical experts write statement of evidence.” 

“Friendly, great communicator, open, consistent, knowledgeable and dedicated to deliver excellent outcomes. 

 

Wook Jin Lee 

All the comments in the previous section relates to Wook. He is accessible, knowledgeable, and clear.  

Best of the best. Commercial and highly knowledgeable. Massive value added every time you deal with him. 

Wook has a sound commercial approach to M&A work and is very responsive. 

Outstanding abilities, amazing energy, great attention to detail yet incredibly strategic and totally focused yet all delivered with great personality and humour. 

 

Tompkins Wake

Tompkins Wake is a Hamilton-based independent mid-sized law firm with over 65 lawyers and further offices in Auckland, Tauranga and Rotorua. 

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is best known for corporate and commercial work including corporate financing, construction projects, commercial developments, health and safety and commercial acquisitions, disposals and leasing, and for infrastructure projects, land acquisitions and PPPs in power, social infrastructure, transport and utilities. 

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Business Life Investment Fund, Zip Co, Danaher Corporation, Foster Construction, Hamilton City Council and Zambion Corporation.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Private equity

"Knowledge on a vast range of topics. Advisory skills. Partnering skills."

 

Project development

"Positive, pragmatic, commercial, know us, timely."

"Local firm, that understand my company and have empathy for others in the region. Timely turnaround, high-quality documents, good price point."

Anderson Lloyd

Anderson Lloyd is a mid-sized New Zealand law firm with over 150 professionals across offices in Auckland, Christchurch, Dunedin and Queenstown and is the only South Island firm on the national institutional banking panels for three of the four main trading banks.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is best known for its work in domestic project finance and high-end acquisition and real estate finance. Project development, energy, construction and infrastructure are core areas of the firm. 

 

Key clients 

Key clients for the firm include Tilt Renewables, Waimea Water, Dunedin City Council, Hiringa Energy, New Forests Asset Management and ANZ Bank New Zealand. 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Bank lending: Borrower side

"Efficient, focus on the issues that matter, commercial approach. Cost-effective."

 

Bank lending: Sponsor side

"Very accurate, very knowledgeable, well staffed. Always punctual in their delivery."

 

Banking and finance

"Experienced, pragmatic, seek to deliver long-term solution."

"Technically excellent - good value for money."

 

Project development

"Early feedback on the strength of our case gave us confidence to pursue it. Good guidance on how to prepare for arbitration."

"Prompt response in turning around work and providing pragmatic solutions or sound reasoning to push back on counterparty terms."

"Efficient service, attentive and responsive to requirements. Reasonably broad coverage of relevant practice areas."

Anthony Harper

Anthony Harper is an independent New Zealand law firm with 77 lawyers across offices in Auckland and Christchurch. 

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is focused on restructuring and insolvency and handles joint ventures, M&As, and restructuring mandates. It also is known for real estate finance and has experience in dealing with different banking transactions. 

 

Key clients 

Key clients for the firm include McGrathNicol, ASB Bank, BDO Christchurch, Scales Corporation, B.S.A. International, Rhenus Logistics Asia Pacific and Matvin Group. 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Bank lending: Lender side

"Anthony Harper have always been one of our top two panel solicitors to choose from due to their substantial legal experience which we value, quality of output, affordability, ability to meet turnaround times and easy to pick up the phone and contact when required."

"Time to response, cost estimate and fee structure, feedback in plain English and openness to discuss any item."

 

Insolvency

"Proactive, can-do, responsive, commercial, pragmatic, value for money."

"Superb, timely expertise - proactive and capability to do the heavy lifting with access to the right expertise."

"Very good knowledge of the law. Commercially pragmatic. Very good senior staff below partner level. "

 

M&A

"Anthony Harper, through their extensive experience in M&A provides sound advice throughout the process. This M&A was a challenging one through the methods and communication with the owner, their lawyer and consultants, often leaving things to the last minute and placing undue pressure on both Anthony Harper & Rhenus. Anthony Harper excelled under pressure, providing a calm influence and positive attitude to problem-solving, removing the emotion at times that risked impacting the process. The extensive knowledge of our contact (David Gould) transcending across all accounting elements of the process, which ensured that all levels of our business were able to engage well with him and work productively together on matters whilst limiting our number of contacts within the business."

"Expertise is second to none. Anthony Harper have a very capable commercial team that has a great breadth of expertise. They also have access to other experts across their business that we have utilised - property lawyers, overseas investment office experts, and litigation experts. In terms of client care, we get very well looked after and have both a partner and senior associate that are always available at short notice, no matter the hour of the day. Commerciality is excellent with our partner/associate having lots of experience and adding a tremendous amount of value to the transactions that we have completed. Value for money is excellent with fees never needing to be questioned - if anything, fees are adjusted proactively before being sent to us if they are considered to be too high. Overall, the strengths are the commercial knowledge of our team, access to other expertise as required, and good value for money. And humour - we're often engaged when it is really busy and it is always a pleasure."

"I find David Gould in particular to be the best M&A and structuring advice lawyer in the South Island. He is very smart but is also sure of himself so he feels no need to be long-winded and grandiose. Saving money and time. He is also good at keeping deals on track and seeing where a negotiation has weakness. Ipso facto his law firm Anthony Harper is very good, but to be honest David is why we use this firm."

 

Project development

"Our partnership felt that we were in very capable hands given the specialisation of the law partners in this specific industry."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Exceptional legal knowledge and timely, efficient advice. Approachable and in my experience is very good at applying the technical legal to commercial."

"Listened and took on board the bank's requirements in the transaction, provided additional advice and specifics relating to the overall transaction in a very professional manner to ensure the bank's position was fully protected."

Bell Gully

Founded in 1840, Auckland-based Bell Gully is among the Big Three and one of New Zealand’s largest firms with over 400 employees including 200 lawyers and a further office in Wellington. 

 

Focusses/specialisms  

In banking and finance the firm maintains a healthy balance between acting for borrowers and lenders and is a strong choice for New Zealand's blue chip companies, investment banks, retail banks and non-bank financial institutions.

The firm has a leading M&A practice and is also strong in securitisations and PPPs (public-private partnership), and it has been at the forefront of the market taking advantage of acquisition finance work and the continued interest in local debt markets by offshore issuers.

 

Key clients 

Key clients for the firm include Synlait Milk, Vodafone Group, New Zealand Infrastructure Commission, KordaMentha, Apax Partners, James Pascoe and Air New Zealand. 

Buddle Findlay

Formed in 1895, Buddle Findlay is an independent New Zealand law firm with 180 lawyers including 46 partners across offices in Wellington, Auckland and Christchurch.  

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The full service firm is strong across the board but excels with its finance practice and restructuring and insolvency team owing to its strong networks in banking and professional services.

 

Key clients 

Key clients for the firm include Brookfield Asset Management, Kinetic, Grant Thornton, McGrath Nicol, ANZ Bank, Westpac New Zealand and Sky Television. 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Bank lending: Borrower side

"(1) Partners and associates have both broad international experience and deep relationships in the NZ market. (2) Partners are very hands-on - nothing is ever missed and they are always looking out for their client's interests in a way that is unusual in the legal community. They take that responsibility very seriously. (3) Very good at delivering service as an integrated firm with all components of the firm acting as one team."

 

Bank lending: Lender side

"Absolutely excellent service, commercial and pragmatic approach, very responsive and stand-out partners and associates."

"Approachable, responsive, time and cost-efficient."

"Commercial views, speed to respond, innovative security structural solution."

"Prompt response, professional advice and efficient ways to achieve the desired outcome."

"The Buddle Findlay team are forward thinking, great communicators and commercial in their approach. Paul Farrugia and Dan Collins specifically displayed all of these attributes (and more!)."

"Thorough, professional, collaborative."

"Unique ability to form strong relationships through their personable partners and associates combined with equally strong technical ability in structuring debt transactions and handling these transaction processes with ease."

"Very commercial. Excellent service. Responsive. Very good advice."

 

Banking and finance

"Buddle Findlay are extremely responsive and know their clients so well they seem to anticipate our needs. They excel at 'getting the deal done' in a pragmatic and efficient manner providing advice that enables mutual agreement between lenders and borrowers to be swift and agreeable to both sides."

"Commercial, proactive, practical, technically astute, easy to work with, understand our business and commercial drivers."

"I have had very positive experiences with Buddle Findlay in the banking and finance space. Key attributes include: a high level of commercialism, assisting to get deals done while ensuring key protections are maintained for the bank; a strong team that will not only set out potential issues but will also provide an opinion and recommendation for us after setting out all of the facts."

"Proactive. Strong industry knowledge. Practical advice. Strong reputation."

 

Capital markets

"Very proactive. Very responsive. Very professional in services and advice provided."

"Organised, over the detail, technically astute, strong relationships with regulators."

"Professional, robust advice and practical."

 

Insolvency

"Very good technical advice with the appropriate commercial factors taken into account. Not afraid to reach definitive conclusions while pointing out the risks."

 

M&A

"A broad scope of capabilities within the firm allow Buddle Findlay to offer support on all levels of an acquisition. They make it easy for the client to work with one core team and yet have access to numerous specialists."

"BF quickly picked up my mood and motivation about what we wanted to achieve with a sale - and strongly advised me and kept me on track when I may have made lesser or poor decisions regarding the sale and especially the S&P Agreement. Their legal paperwork was thorough and very well explained to me. I was kept well on track. Grant Dunn came highly recommended and the result we achieved was top class - after speaking to others, it is clear that Grant Dunn is probably the best M&A lawyer in Auckland, probably NZ."

"Buddle Findlay has a number of highly skilled partners and lawyers, and a broad range and depth of expertise across key sectors and practice areas that are critical to the legal services that we require, both on a transactional and day-to-day BAU basis. They consistently deliver sound, relevant and timely advice, which stems from a deep understanding of our business. They are open to honest conversations about how best to deliver value for money whilst maintaining an excellent standard of service."

"Proactive, commercial, negotiate driven by outcomes rather than ego or positioning. Technically very sound. Up-to-date market acumen."

"Trustworthy, very reliable, pragmatic, clear communicators, genuinely care and take pride in the work that they do."

 

Project development

"Deep understanding of how complex projects work - collaborative and client-focused advice - timely and well-considered advice - work well as part of a larger team."

"Clear communications; understanding of strategic context and client requirements; depth of project team."

"Highly knowledgeable trusted advisers. Great to work with. Committed and willing to do the hard work."

"I have had very positive experiences with Buddle Findlay in the project finance space. Key attributes include: a high level of commercialism, assisting to get deals done while ensuring key protections are maintained for the bank; and not only setting out the facts surrounding potential issues with commercial documentation but also providing an opinion and recommendation based on the severity of the point in relation to the transaction. "

 

Project development: Energy

“Very easy to communicate with, responsive and provide sound advice.”

 

Project development: Transport

"Easy to work with, excellence in legal knowledge, bold approach."

"Understanding of local government operating environment and existing public transport contracting models and access to Australian expertise via teaming with Allens."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Good client service. Efficient and timely advice. Cost-effective."

"Scott Abel is a fantastic lawyer, one of NZ's top insolvency lawyers."

"Very responsive to the firm's needs. Technical excellence. Pricing very reasonable."

Chapman Tripp

Established in 1875, Auckland-based Chapman Tripp is traditionally among the market’s Big Three law firms with 60 partners and 200 legal staff across offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.  

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is strong across the transactional board but is particularly known for its capital markets—more recently in developing green bond and sustainable finance markets—and securitisation work and restructuring and insolvency practice. It also has one of the largest M&A practices in the market. 

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Napier Port, Kathmandu Holdings, Infratil, Fonterra Co-operative, ANZ Bank, InfraRed Capital Partners and KordaMentha.

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

The firm had a very active year in M&A advising on top acquisitions in the telecommunications, private equity, insurance, retail, real estate, materials, hotels, and social infrastructure sectors. 

The capital markets team kept busy advising on the largest IPO in the market, corporate, retail and capital bonds and securitisation transactions; while the finance team were engaged in convential lending mandates and PPP work. 75% of all equity capital raisings by NZX listed companies in 2019,

The restructuring and insolvency practice acted on liquidations in the insurance, construction, offshore oil, real estate, timber processors, marketing and technology industries. 

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-CBL Corporation insolvency

-Napier Port NSX IPO

-Resimac NZ$250 million RMBS

-Synlait Milk NZ$50 million ESG facility

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“Very strong banking partnership across New Zealand. Strong teams in Auckland and Wellington who work together to provide commercial and a responsive service to their customers.”

“People are approachable and easy to deal with whilst retaining a high level of professionalism. Also very experienced.”

“Commercial, fast responses and turnaround, experience in the sector.”

Capital markets: Debt

“Perfection.”

“Strong communication, fast turnaround of work, clear setting of expectations.”

“Sound commercial understanding of the client and industry. Highly responsive with depth of coverage of team.”

M&A

“Smart, hardworking team; act like they care about us as a client, make efforts to provide add-on services and work on the relationship.”

“Excellent clear advice and guidance. Excellent industry knowledge of both the domestic and international market. Provision of a comprehensive cross functional service.”

Mayne Wetherell

Mayne Wetherell is a boutique Auckland-based independent law firm.  

 

Focusses / specialisms 

It is among New Zealand’s strongest finance firms and enjoys a particularly strong reputation in securitisation work, and for its debt capital markets and leveraged finance work. 

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include Auckland International Airport, ASB Bank, Calibre Partners, Avanti Finance, Deutsche Bank, and ASB Bank.

 

Research period review: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

During the research period, the firm was busy with acquisition financing, aviation finance, securitisations, refinancing, restructuring, capital raising, distressed sales and exits, and joint ventures. 

 

Deal highlights: 31st edition (2020/2021

Abano NZ$285 million acquisition financing 

Avanti NZ$50 million capital raising  

Jucy Group restructuring 

UDC NZ$2 billion auto and equipment finance-backed syndicated securitisation programme  

Tahua Partners acquisition of Burger King New Zealand 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Restructuring and insolvency 

“Commercial approach, strategic, attentive to our needs, and proactive.” 

 

Will Tipping 

 

Strategic, pragmatic, commercial, sound advisor.”  

 

MinterEllisonRuddWatts

With offices in Auckland and Wellington, MinterEllisonRuddWatts is part of the Australia-based MinterEllison Legal Group that has 1700 employees across offices in Sydney, Perth, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Darwin, Canberra, Brisbane, Adelaide, London, Beijing, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Ulaanbaatar.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is best known for its restructuring and insolvency team and financing practice but also has expertise in M&A, private equity and project development work.

 

Key clients 

Key clients for the firm include ANZ Bank, Next Capital, Brookfield Capital (Australia), Brookfield Asset Management, Goldman Sachs Australia, Westpac New Zealand and Rabobank New Zealand. 

Russell McVeagh

Established in 1863, Auckland-based Russell McVeagh is one among the New Zealand legal market’s Big Three with over 250 lawyers and an additional office in Wellington. 

 

Focusses/specialisms  

Russell McVeagh's finance team is one of the leading experts on financial regulation in New Zealand and transactionally, it specialises in the capital markets, bank lending, structured finance and securitisation and derivatives. Public-private partnerships (PPPs) have remained a focus for infrastructure funding in New Zealand and the firm's finance team has advised financiers to such projects.

 

The firm also has a dominant presence in the corporate bond market acting for issuers, arrangers and supervisors and its M&A and restructuring and insolvency teams are routinely involved in the market’s leading mandates.

 

Key clients 

Key clients for the firm include Westpac New Zealand, Argosy Property, Inspired Education, KPMG, Wellington Water, Trade Me Group and Woolworths. 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"Commercial, practical and leading edge."

"Responsive, commercial and thorough."

"Timely responses with trusted high-quality work produced."

 

Capital markets

"Russell McVeagh takes a client-centric approach, has a commercial approach to challenges, interacts with its clients promptly, and all team members are easy to work with."

"The partners are very knowledgeable and experienced in capital market transactions. They understand the industry and practices and add value to the transactions. They are available, quick to respond and always a pleasure to work with."

 

Capital markets: Equity

"Across latest market developments and takes a practical attitude to deal progression."

"Excellent understanding of the market and market approach. Commercial and pragmatic. Very timely and responsive. Attention to detail. Solutions-focused."

"High-quality legal advice provided in a manner that reflects the needs of the various stakeholders in the business. Quick turnaround and proactive approach to problem solving."

"Technically excellent while being very commercial."

 

Capital markets: Structured finance and securitization

"Breadth of knowledge in their respective areas of banking & finance and tax. A willingness to work with us to understand our business - our loan agreements are a varied mix of consumer-related agreements and bespoke commercial arrangements. Making sure that each and all of our agreements could fit into the typical constraints of a securitisation programme was a testament to this. Were open to our ideas about various structuring ideas and took the time to work through these with us - often they made us aware of nuances that we were not aware of and would not work in the structure we were proposing. This saved us a lot of time and heartache. Breaking down complex legal issues into a form that made it easy for me, as a non-lawyer, to understand the concept and make decisions on these issues."

"Commercial, practical, client-focused and user-friendly."

"We have had excellent service from Russell McVeagh on project finance work. The documents are complex and as subject-matter experts they do a brilliant job of assisting the diverse lender group understand the pertinent issues as they arise."

 

Insolvency

"They have a very skilled team and are able to provide resources and advice when required. Personnel easy to work with."

 

M&A

"Strong understanding of our business and sector. Large team that can cover a range of areas. Easy to deal with."

"Great service, can-do attitude and commitment to the transaction."

"M&A - incredibly strong team with quality leadership. Very quick to grasp complex issues and propose simple solutions. Easy to deal with and communicate well. Effectively an extension of our team! Financing - as above, incredibly detailed and very confident in their managing of complexity in the transaction financing. Excellent leadership and again support by a strong junior team."

"Market leaders, very responsive, commercial, true partner, clear drafting."

"Outstanding commitment to the project. Great advice and kept our best interests at heart."

"Proactive, agile, responsive, smart, fully aware of market trends and practice - particularly in W&I insurance."

"Russell McVeagh take a client-centric approach, have very good technical capability, are responsive to client requests, and approach challenges with a commercial lens."

"They were always available to answer questions. They provided excellent advice and would talk us through the issue covering all possible ways to proceed. They had good experience from previous work and were happy to outline any benefits/pitfalls they'd seen before. Our contracts tend to be quite long so no one on the team had previous experience which made the experience Russell McVeagh provided that much more valuable."

 

Project development

"Good knowledge of RMA matters. Good at keeping client informed of matters and progress."

"RM were excellent at navigating through complex and antiquated legislation. Open and honest communication, understanding of our commercial drivers, simplifying complex matters and, above all, setting a clear and ultimately successful strategy."

"Russell McVeagh are subject-matter experts in the project development space, with the expertise and capability to provide extremely high-quality advice that is also pragmatic and commercial."

"The calibre of the staff is excellent. They pause at the appropriate junctures to recheck the strategy and seek to involve the relevant people/expertise as required. They are at the higher end of market rates, but are conscious of not going down every rabbit hole and are good at keeping to estimates, or alternatively advising when we are going out of scope and why."

 

Project development: Infrastructure

"Excellent submission drafting skills and very good understanding of the law-making process."

"Provide great draft submissions, great understanding into central government, and future trends/possible change."

 

Restructuring and insolvency

"Highly knowledgeable but practical and commercially focused. Work very hard in their clients' interests. Reasonable to deal with."

"Russell McVeagh is a top commercial firm that consistently produces high-quality work."

"The firm is client-focused, commercial, pragmatic, responsive and a pleasure to deal with."

TWA Legal

TWA Legal is a boutique Auckland-based independent law firm that was established in July 2020 by Jennifer Tunna, Mike Whale and Michael Anderson following the dissolution of corporate and commercial law firm Lowndes.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is the only boutique restructuring and insolvency firm in New Zealand but also has experience in banking and finance, M&A and capital raising.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include BDO Tauranga and Gilligan & Company. 

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Banking and finance

"TWA came up with a solution which even our national trading bank at first had trouble understanding - once their legal team had looked at it they signed off immediately, and praised us for presenting a solution that not only was cost-effective but also time-efficient."

 

Insolvency

"Technical expertise. Friendly and approachable. Good customer service."

"Knowledgeable. Concise and understandable."

"Proactive and commercially appropriate solutions, backed with strong legal reasoning. Delivered with relatable language and empathy. Overall helped us to avoid numerous pitfalls and kept pace on progress."

"The firm had a requisite industry knowledge, experience and expertise to provide the required advice."

"Expert knowledge. Timeliness. Professionalism."

"High technical knowledge, timely reporting and a precise response to the issue."

"TWA, being Jennifer Tunna, Mike Whale and Mike Anderson, possess a wealth of experience over decades of practice in the insolvency and restructuring space. TWA provide clear and concise advice to their clients which helps distil complex areas of law into useful advice that can be implemented in practice. Despite being a boutique firm, TWA can offer a service level equivalent, if not better, than most large law firms in NZ. Their approach is personable and that helps the delivery of their specialist advice."

Vince & Rice

Vince & Rice is a boutique independent Auckland-based law firm that was formed by lawyers Kyra Vince and John-Paul Rice in December 2018. 

Focusses / specialisms

The firm is focused on finance and restructuring matters that spans across banking, debt capital markets, acquisition finance, project finance, real estate finance, structured finance and financial services regulation.

Key clients

Key clients of the firm include Centuria Capital, Orams Group, Manuka Health New Zealand, Icon Property Group, China Construction Bank New Zealand, Freshmax Global and Douglas Pharmaceuticals.  

Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)

During the research period the firm kept busy advising on acquisition financing mandates and other deals involving project finance, restructuring matters, real estate finance and refinancing.   

Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)

-Airedale Apartment restructuring

-Augusta Capital NZ$204 million acquisition financing 

-Manuka Health NZ$140 million refinancing

-New Ground Hobsonville development

-Orams Marine NZ$70 million refinancing 

Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)

Banking

“Deep experience, proactive, very commercial, transparent on fees.”

“Good communication, very pro-active and very responsive. Great legal knowledge.”

“Astute, well connected, great expertise and very responsive (all hours of day and night).”

M&A

“Hands on partner involvement, extensive bank contacts and commercial acumen.” 

Webb Henderson

Webb Henderson is a boutique independent law firm with offices in Auckland and Sydney comprised of a team of five partners and 13 lawyers.

 

Focusses/specialisms  

The firm is best known for its corporate and M&A work and a finance practice that is gaining traction. It has expertise in the energy and telecommunications and media industries.

 

Key clients 

Key clients of the firm include SilverTree Equity, ANZ Bank, 9 Spokes International, Kentucky Fried Chicken International Holdings and Fonterra Co-operative Group.

 

Client feedback: 31st edition (2020/2021) 

Bank lending: Lender side

"They are very prompt in their replies and in clause negotiations and rewording. We found them to be flexible and approachable. They understand risks to the bank and highlighted this to us with clarity, and offered us solutions on how these risks can be minimised. They worked very well with our in-house solicitor, and took on board what he recommended. Webb Henderson have a very strong commercial understanding and insight. Both Nicole Xanthopol and Elizabeth Ogle are superb. Highly recommended."

 

Banking and finance

“Proactive, attention to detail, competent, focused.”

 

M&A

"Webb Henderson worked closely with all parties to pull the deal over the line. They understood the personalities in the deal and communicated clearly and firmly with all individuals to ensure a clear and concise result."

 

Private equity

"Collaborative and flexible. They maintained legal prudence whilst retaining commercial viability."