The LawFuel 2020 Power List

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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

Attorney General

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.  

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Dame Patsy Reddy

Governor General

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. 

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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. 

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Una Jagose

Solicitor General

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. 

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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? 

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Matt Whineray

CEO, NZ Super Fund

Not a lawyer in the usual sense, but in control of the billions that make a difference.   

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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. 

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Rebecca Kitteridge

Spy Chief

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.

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9 Sir Geoffrey Palmer

Eminence Grise

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. 

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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

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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.

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12  Anna Rawling

Chair Commerce Commission

The new market regulator and watchdog

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13  Brendan Horsley

Crown Law

A strong voice in criminal law and appeals issues, the low profile, high power Crown lawyer

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14  Peter Boshier

Ombudsman

Expanded powers, more reports, greater say in how central and local government works.

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15  David Williams QC

Major League Mediator

Globe-girdling mediator.

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16  Michael Heron QC

Risen . . and Rising Again Star

Former Solicitor General and current in-demand barrister and mediator

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17  Martin Smith

Tax Man

The most powerful lawyer you never heard of

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18 Aedeen Boadita-Cormican

Treasury

Treasury Chief Legal Adviser with solid Crown credentials

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19  Mai Chen

Public Lawyer

Profile public lawyer, academic, director, author.

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20 Phil Newland

The Litigation Funder

Litigation funding chief 

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21  Nick Kynoch

MFA Enforcer

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22  Geoff Sharp

Global Mediator

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23 Brian Dickey

Prosecutor

The Crown’s man in Auckland.  Rising profile.

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24 Nigel Hampton QC

Senior Silk

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25 Jack Hodder QC

Commercial Litigator

Power commercial silk

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26 Mark Weenink

Westpac Legal

Big role at the Government’s bank backed by his solid legal credentials

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27  Robert Fisher QC

Mediator

Quieter on the work front, but quiet power retained.

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28 Simon Watt

Climate Law

Sitting firmly in the climate change hot house.

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29  David Bricklebank

ANZ  Lawyer

It may have been their annus horribilus but they’re still the biggest bank in New Zealand and he’s their lawyer.

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30 Nick Wells

Chapman Tripp 

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31 Nicola Sladden

Banking Ombudsman

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32 Andrew Cordner

Big Milk

It’s been an off year for Fonterr and General Counsel Cordner takes a milk shed slip in ranking.

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33  Jonathan Eaton QC

Senior criminal lawyer Jonathan Eaton provides some heft to the criminal bar at a time of need.

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34 Jessica Palmer

Law Dean

Otago Law School 

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35 Pip Greenwood

Heavyweight Director

Former Russell McVeagh kingpin turned powerhouse company director.

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36  Anna Buchly

Head honcho, Bell Gully. A major female move for the former male bastion.

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37 Brian Henry

Winston Peters Blood Brother

Key power behind the Peters  throne. 

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38 Ron Mansfield

Criminal Lawyer

Grace Millane murder sensation to the Comanchero raids see him maintaining the leading criminal law role

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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

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40 Raynor Asher QC

Jurist-Turned-Mediator

Hitting the mediation & advisory ground running.

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41 Peter Hutchinson

Public Defender

PDS Chief

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42 John Edwards

Privacy Czar

From data breaches and Facebook to the proposed Terrorism legislation, John Edwards has an increasingly significant voice.

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43 Ann Brennan

Beltway Power

MBIE’s law leader and key bureaucratic law voice.

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44 Andrew Stockley

Auckland Law Dean

Presiding over the largest law school in the country

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45 Deborah Chambers

Silk Supremo

Matrimonial and relationship property silk – heavy duty clients, heavy charger.

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46 Stephen Franks

Public Lawyer and Influencer

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47 Jim Farmer QC

Leading QC

Long time commercial law must-have silk with power links.

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48  Warren Alcock

Sports influencer and power broker

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49 Julian Miles QC

Senior Silk

Remaining a key influencer despite a much-reduced schedule, Jim Farmer’s street crred at the Bar has few equals.

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50.  Bruce Gray QC

Litigation powerhouse

Holding strong after all these years, Bruce Gray continues with a full roster of heavy duty clients.

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