Elite Woman Power Lawyer To Leave Minters For New Role

One of MinterEllisonRuddWatts top corporate lawyers is to leave the firm to join investment bank Jardens in a move that will leave a gap in her old firm, even though her husband remains there.

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Silvana Schenone was named New Zealand Deal Maker of the Year in 2021 at the Australasian Law Awards and has extensive experience across M&A, takeovers and schemes of arrangement.

With clients ranging from the Government to The Warehouse and Infratril Chiliean-born Schenone is a Power List lawyer who headed Minter’s corporate law department.

Her international background has seen her practice law in New York, Chile, and New Zealand and permitted her a powerful position as a corporate lawyer, where she has also been a board member of the New Zealand Takeovers Panel, is a current board member of Sky City and has frequently liaised with regulatory authorities including the Financial Markets Authority, the New Zealand Stock Exchange, and the Overseas Investment Office.

She moves to Jardens as Managing Director and Co-Head of the company’s Investment Banking together with Sam Ricketts. The firm has ambitious plans to become Australasia’s leading investment banking and advisory bank.

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Married to MinterEllisonRuddWatts partner Lloyd Kavanagh (left) who met in Chile when Kavanagh worked as a senior executive at Fonterra. He is himself a prominent financial services and corporate lawyer having Lloyd set up MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ Financial Services Team and is also a former Chair of the firm.  

She has also played a prominent role as a diversity champion and is a member of Global Women and a founding member of On Being Bold, an online collective for empowering women. 

A Harvard graduate who had been offered scholarships at Oxford and Cambridge as well as the US Ivy League law school, she moved to New Zealand with her husband-to-be in 2007. She previously worked in New York for leading firm Sullivan & Cromwell.

She had also previously worked in a male-dominated Chilean law firm, which shaped her views on women working in a tough, competitive environment like M&A work. In an interview with The Herald she said:

“Growing up in that environment, I never wanted to be like the men, but a lot of women, particularly one generation older than me, the way they saw their success as an M&A corporate lawyer was to pretend to be a man – to wear a black suit, to be tough as a man, not to show your feminine side, that you care about people because they wanted to be a man.

“I look at it and I am thinking, well, I have a massive competitive advantage because I am so different, because I can think from different perspectives, I can look at things differently.”

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