It’s not often that partners in major law firms anywhere get to hang around much past their sixtieth year, but for Chapman Tripp veteran Arthur Taylor, 87. his firm involvement has been an astounding 65 years.
His legal career commenced on his admission as a solicitor in 1957 and he became a junior partner at Chapman Tripp founding firm Sheffield and Young in 1959.
His sixty years as partner, celebrated in 2019, saw him say in a Law Society report, that the law had changed significantly, but he was enjoying the “second half” of his career.
“It is incredible to reflect on the past 60 years and how the legal landscape has changed. Early on, it was the days of stamp duty and death duty, and trying to trim those down, going to the Land Transfer Office in person to have the memorials written up in the great heavy ledgers, turning up to have the registrations, and you had to get there at 8am to be ahead of the queue,” he says.
“Lots of law has changed enormously, but actually much is the same. Our work involves dealing with people, and human nature, if it changes at all, is only gradual in its change.”
After being admitted to the bar, on 1 April 1959 he became a junior partner in Sheffield and Young – one of the founding firms of Chapman Tripp as it is today. That partnership record is believed to be the longest in New Zealand today.
Representing major property projects like Auckland’s Vero Centre and ANZ Centre, he has handled major projects and has also acted for some of the country’s leading business families.
Chapman Tripp Precursor
His work with Joe Sheffield at Sheffield and Young as a two-man commercial law firm saw the Stratford-born Young holding a private ambition.
He told the Law Society’s Law Talk – “Joe Sheffield and I had an ambition to build a notable standout commercial law firm. It was a little private ambition we had. I’ve never said this to many people before.
“That ambition has always been at the back of my mind, and while these mega law firms are so different to a two-man or smallish partnership, the ambition for the firm has always been part of me.”