New Zealand’s Most Powerful Lawyers: The LawFuel Power List

New Zealand's Most Powerful Lawyers: The LawFuel Power List 2

The 2022 LawFuel Power List of the most powerful lawyers in New Zealand

The latest LawFuel Power List of New Zealand’s 50 most powerful lawyers displays
an ongoing trend for women power lawyers to continue to dominate the high rankings of the list, as well as four new entrants to the top 50 group but the 2022 list also has a record dozen new entrants to the List, reflecting a continuing trend towards a new, mostly younger generation of lawyers making their impression upon their profession.

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No. 1 Lawyer, Una Jagose

The top lawyer on the rankings is Solicitor General Una Jagose (pictured left) but of the 52 names on the list (which includes two equal-ranked lawyers), there are 20 women (down by three from the 2021 Power List) with four of the top 10 power names being women, down from six in last year’s list.

The top lawyer on the rankings is Solicitor General Una Jagose (pictured left) but of the 52 names on the list (which includes two equal-ranked lawyers), there are 20 women (down by three from the 2021 Power List) with four of the top 10 power names being women, down from six in last year’s list.

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But the list includes a record 12 new entrants, ranging from recently appointed Law Society President Frazer Barton (coming in at no. 4) to cartel-busting Commerce Commission chief Grant Chamberlain (no. 15) new Bar Association president Maria Dew KC (16),academic and opinion-leader Dr Dean Knight (36), in-house legal innovator Helen Mackay (39), Bar leader Paul Radich KC (40),crusading barrister Tudor Clee (41=), human rights lawyer Frances Joychild KC (41=),Maori property heavyweight Paul Majurey (45=), Olivia Wensley (45=),SFO boss Karen Chang, pictured right. (46).

Among the list are 15 barristers, of whom four are women this year.

>> The Full Power List Here

Growing In-House Power

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The growth of in-house lawyers, accounting for around 30 per cent of the New Zealand legal profession is also reflected in the legal power players on the local scene with five lawyers working in the in-house sector, including Fonterra in-house counsel chief Andrew Cordner, IRD head of legal Michelle Redington (left) and ANZ in-house counsel David Bricklebank.

However, key lawyers play a role in numerous regulatory and public organisations,
including the Commerce Commission, Ombudsman, Banking Ombudsman, Security Services and NZ Superannuation.


Generational Change Occurring

LawFuel’s Power List is based on research and interviews with senior counsel, in-house lawyers and others, as well as contributed feedback from the profession and it reflects some significant changes occurring within the profession.

It is clear that a generational change is now occurring in the law, which will certainly see a tectonic shift in favour of a new generation of lawyers, including more women, who far outnumber males in law graduations and who continue to advance up the law firm and Bar scale representing ability and a greater emphasis on diversity by the firms.

Some of the older hands in commercial law and in particular areas like M&A work are now being replaced by a new, younger generation of lawyers in the large firms and boutiques.

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Former power lawyers who occupied centre stage in deal-making and major transactional work, such as Roger Wallis and John Strowger (Chapman Tripp) pictured, Dave Wetherell (MayneWetherell), Cathy Quinn (MinterEllisonRuddWatts), Pip Greenwood (formerly Russell McVeagh) and Garth Sinclair (Webb Henderson) are now seeing new names enter this space as rising stars in the heavyweight commercial law sector.

LawFuel will be looking at some of the up-and-coming commercial law stars in an article shortly, along with in-house legal talent that is making its mark and closing in on the Power List Top 50.

>> >> The Full Power List Here

The KC’s Expand

The list of KCs – now having added numbers with the new ‘KC’ branding – continue to have highly experienced Bar leaders continue to handle major cases, such as Nigel Hampton (48), Ron Mansfield (44) and Bruce Gray (27), pictured below, in the criminal law space.

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The commercial KCs have Jack Hodder (13=), Alan Galbraith (25) Davey Salmon (33) who has handled some major environmental, civil and criminal matters and and Jim Farmer, whose rankings have significantly increased to 37 after we equally significantly under-estimated his ongoing workload and commitment to a major case load.

Also notable for her role in major divorce actions is Deborah Chambers KC (42) who has also handled major trust and relationship property issues, among others.

The growth and diversity in those practising law in New Zealand at different levels, along with the growing significance of in-house legal power, including NGO and government legal influence is a significant and ongoing trend that is only set to continue.

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The Power List Sponsors –

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New Zealand's Most Powerful Lawyers: The LawFuel Power List 10

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