Last Year – 49
A long time Bar leader and one of the country’s most experienced and capable litigators, Jim Farmer KC continues to live a busy professional life that would put paid to many litigators half his age. Suggestions of taking things quietly are readily refuted with a busy caseload, albeit perhaps more measured in terms of travel and other interests that provide the balance to a busy professional life.
While we had the senior counsel towards the bottom of the list last year, we were also unaware of the workload he continued to carry, as well as a firm indication that ‘winding down’ was not a term he is acquainted with.
A keen yachtsman, who has previously raced his yacht Georgia (pictured above) in regattas in Australia, Hawaii, San Francisco, Hong Kong, Italy, Belgium and England he worked to retain the America’s Cup regatta in New Zealand, including working with investor and lawyer Mark Dunphy to retain the regatta in home waters, where he forcefully advocated given the funding New Zealand provided and the local interest.
“There is also the fact pointed out by “The Secret Sailor” (NZ Herald 2 April 2022), a long-time America’s Cup participant, that as the defender “this is Dalton’s game. He designed the class rule, decided on the protocol [and] holds the commercial rights to everything”. He determined the operating cost, the Secret Sailor continues: “it’s his game. He has done it [and] so for Team NZ to say it’s all too expensive and we’ve got to go offshore is no excuse”. His conclusion is unarguable: “Loyalty, parochialism, patriotism, all that stuff Dalton has rammed down everyone’s throats over the past 10 years, is all bulls***.”
From JamesFarmer Blog post, April 2022
And prior to an extensive overseas trip to see family (he has a lawyer son, Hugo, an Associate with Debevoise & Plimpton in London) and others in 2022 he had also completed a 10 day hearing in the Court of Appeal followed by two days in the High Court. He also visited the University of Oslo where he attended an Economic Planning and Public Administration course some decades ago.
His active interest in legal, business and sporting affairs continue unabated, including pertinent observations made through his blog, JamesFarmerKC.
His academic and legal credentials are impressive, with books on Government, Tribunals, Creditor and Debtor law, Industrial Relations, CER and many articles in many publications.
His practising career included 6 years as a partner at Russell McVeagh until 1979 when he joined the New South Wales Bar in Sydney, practising there for 10 years and being appointed as a Queen’s Counsel in New South Wales in 1985. That appointment was followed in 1986 by similar appointments in Victoria, the Australian Capital Territory and New Zealand.
President of the New Zealand Bar Association from 1991-1995 and also from 2004-2008 he has also served as an Air New Zealand Deputy Chairman and his continued status as both an authority on commercial law matters combined with his ability to identify key issues affecting the profession see his status on the list belatedly lifted.