The LawFuel 2020 Power List
The 2020 LawFuel Power List
The LawFuel Power List has continued to reflect the increasingly dynamic nature of the New Zealand law profession, as corporate and government law roles continue to grow in power, while senior barristers also continue their dominance, as yet largely unmoved by the newer cadre of emerging advocates.
Similarly, the growth in power for women lawyers, exemplified by LawFuel’s Lawyer of the Year Tiana Epati who has made a dramatic rise propelled not only by her role heading the professional body but also by her unique story and communication abilities.
Although two of the Power List members who have climbed or entered at high level are women, there are only 13 women of the 50 on the list. Although we see more women entrants each year, the numbers still have a way to go before reaching parity.
The List is once again compiled following feedback from senior members of the New Zealand legal profession and our own research into the roles and power rises and falls of a profession facing some unique challenges both from within and from outside.
The Power List Sponsors
The Top Echelon: The 10 Top Ranked
1 David Parker
The man who is minister of many things, but whose legal role for the profession means he can change anything from RMA reform to the appointment of Silks.
2 Dame Patsy Reddy
A Constitutional role to beat them all . . she may be Her Majesty’s figurehead, but therein lies some real power. Think: constitutional crisis or hung Parliament, for instance.
3 Rob Everett
FMA Chief Executive
He’s up. We’ve had the GFC, but with the Australian Royal Commission enquiry, the Hisco fiasco, the Australian Westpac drama . . Rob Everett is riding shotgun for the kiwi bank and finance sector.
4 Una Jagose
Running an 800-person legal team atop Government’s Crown Law, as well as providing a face and following for the profession provides real power.
5 Tiana Epati
Law Society President
Star Power has elevated the young President to Jacinda-style heights, putting a fresh face to a profession that spent months being hung out to dry. Can she sort it?
6 Matt Whineray
CEO, NZ Super Fund
Not a lawyer in the usual sense, but in control of the billions that make a difference.
7 Andrew Kibblewhite
Chief Executive, Ministry of Justice
He’s not a lawyer, but he wields major influence over the profession and the administration of justice through the 900-person Ministry.
8 Rebecca Kitteridge
She puts a pleasant face on an often unpleasant and difficult role keeping tab on people who would do us harm . . and helping keep the Five Eyes clear.
9 Sir Geoffrey Palmer
He may be a former PM, law professor and current barrister, but the 77-year-0ld continues to influence thinking and debate across a variety of issues, the latest being climate change.
10 Chris Finlayson QC
Former Attorney General
Quiet he may be, but power lies in the clout he wielded successfully as AG, with a cache he retains from his Auckland Chambers
Tier Two: The Heavy Hitters
11 Alan Galbraith QC
Leading Commercial Silk
Protestations of a slowing practice are belied by ongoing power cases that see him retain top Silk spot.
12 Anna Rawling
Chair Commerce Commission
The new market regulator and watchdog
13 Brendan Horsley
A strong voice in criminal law and appeals issues, the low profile, high power Crown lawyer
14 Peter Boshier
Expanded powers, more reports, greater say in how central and local government works.
15 David Williams QC
Major League Mediator
16 Michael Heron QC
Risen . . and Rising Again Star
Former Solicitor General and current in-demand barrister and mediator
17 Martin Smith
The most powerful lawyer you never heard of
18 Aedeen Boadita-Cormican
Treasury Chief Legal Adviser with solid Crown credentials
19 Mai Chen
Profile public lawyer, academic, director, author.
20 Phil Newland
The Litigation Funder
Litigation funding chief
21 Nick Kynoch
22 Geoff Sharp
23 Brian Dickey
The Crown’s man in Auckland. Rising profile.
24 Nigel Hampton QC
25 Jack Hodder QC
Power commercial silk
26 Mark Weenink
Big role at the Government’s bank backed by his solid legal credentials
27 Robert Fisher QC
Quieter on the work front, but quiet power retained.
28 Simon Watt
Sitting firmly in the climate change hot house.
29 David Bricklebank
It may have been their annus horribilus but they’re still the biggest bank in New Zealand and he’s their lawyer.
30 Nick Wells
31 Nicola Sladden
32 Andrew Cordner
It’s been an off year for Fonterr and General Counsel Cordner takes a milk shed slip in ranking.
33 Jonathan Eaton QC
Senior criminal lawyer Jonathan Eaton provides some heft to the criminal bar at a time of need.
34 Jessica Palmer
Otago Law School
35 Pip Greenwood
Former Russell McVeagh kingpin turned powerhouse company director.
36 Anna Buchly
Head honcho, Bell Gully. A major female move for the former male bastion.
37 Brian Henry
Winston Peters Blood Brother
Key power behind the Peters throne.
38 Ron Mansfield
Grace Millane murder sensation to the Comanchero raids see him maintaining the leading criminal law role
39 Michael Friedlander
Small Law, Big Money
The Keegan Alexander consultant presides over a property empire worth as much as $1 billion with philanthropic and significant influence beneath his low key exterior
40 Raynor Asher QC
Hitting the mediation & advisory ground running.
41 Peter Hutchinson
42 John Edwards
From data breaches and Facebook to the proposed Terrorism legislation, John Edwards has an increasingly significant voice.
43 Ann Brennan
MBIE’s law leader and key bureaucratic law voice.
44 Andrew Stockley
Auckland Law Dean
Presiding over the largest law school in the country
45 Deborah Chambers
Matrimonial and relationship property silk – heavy duty clients, heavy charger.
46 Stephen Franks
Public Lawyer and Influencer
47 Jim Farmer QC
Long time commercial law must-have silk with power links.
48 Warren Alcock
Sports influencer and power broker
49 Julian Miles QC
Remaining a key influencer despite a much-reduced schedule, Jim Farmer’s street crred at the Bar has few equals.
50. Bruce Gray QC