I have set up my practice to focus principally on being available to:
- with general commercial / corporate work;
- with specific projects or issues;
- by acting as in-house counsel, on a part-time or project driven basis;
- by consulting in relation to the legal risks associated with their business(es) and what systems and processes (or modifications to existing systems / processes) could be put in place to mitigate those risks;
- by consulting on the appropriateness of an in-house legal resource for their business(es);
- by consulting on the use of external counsel and ways to maximise the effectiveness of the legal spend.
Assist In-House Counsel:
- with any urgent or other project needs;
- with any overflow of general commercial / corporate work;
- in relation to peer review matters / issues / documents;
- by acting act as a sounding board on issues;
- by providing locum / cover support arising from maternity leave, sickness or while a full time replacement is being found.
Assist Start-up / New Venture businesses:
- by helping them get "legal traction" on the fundamental legal issues confronting start-ups;
- by acting as in-house counsel, on a part-time basis; and
- by assisting with general commercial / corporate work.
and generally to provide the services of a:
- corporate / commercial lawyer;
- Notary Public.
Background and Expertise
- 22+ years of experience as in-house counsel (of which 16+ was in a General Counsel capacity);
- 13+ years private practice experience (New Zealand 5+ years; Canada 2 years; and Hong Kong 5 + years);
- 10+ years public company (NZX and ASX) experience (Carter Holt Harvey Limited);
- 5+ years major private company experience (Rank Group - a multi-national group of companies owned by billionaire Graeme Hart);
- 3+ years working as part-time General Counsel for a small start-up venture; and
- 3+ years working as part-time legal counsel for an NZX public listed company.
has given me exposure to a wide range of opportunities and issues across a number of businesses and jurisdictions. These have included:
- Advising the board of directors and senior management in relation to a wide range of both strategic (including the public takeover of Carter Holt Harvey) as well as day to day business related issues;
- Managing a wide range of legal issues across a number of businesses and jurisdictions, including multi-million dollar litigation issues;
- Being a member of the NZX Disciplinary and Regulatory Committee and also of the NZX Special Division;
- Being president of the Corporate Lawyers Association of New Zealand
- Managing the legal aspects of a significant number of both large and small business acquisitions and dispositions (both assets and share deals);
- Managing, negotiating and overseeing numerous commercial contracts:
- Significant procurement, services and supply arrangements;
- Joint site service arrangements;
- New venture businesses, start-up agreements and associated documents;
- Joint venture agreements;
- EPC and other contracts for significant construction projects associated with pulp and paper and timber mills;
- Outsourcing of maintenance activities;
- Outsourcing of IT services;
- Significant funding arrangements.
Problem solving / dispute resolution:
Managing a broad range of big and small dispute / litigation issues across a broad range of issues including:
- People issues; Product / Service issues;
- NZ Commerce Commission issues;
- Other regulatory issues;
- Competitor issues;
- Criminal issues;
- Construction related claims;
- Breach of warranty / indemnity claims;
- Class action claims.
Managing a number of mediations, arbitrations, judicial settlement conferences - in various jurisdictions
Governance, Compliance and Risk:
- Managing a broad range of regulatory compliance issues, including ones arising out of being: publically listed on the NZX and the ASX; a subsidiary of a USA listed company (which was subject to Sarbanes Oxley requirements); subject to financial reporting requirements in various jurisdictions;
- Managing general compliance issues, including ones arising out of: contractual arrangements; debt obligation arrangements (covenants etc.); undertakings given to third parties;
- Managing the provision of company secretarial services to the Board of Directors and across numerous subsidiaries in various jurisdictions
- Developing and implementing delegated authorities for use across the businesses and integrating them with business case approvals and contract library systems;
- Developing a Code of Conduct and advising on various company policies, in line with industry best practice;
- Developing, implementing and overseeing effective legal compliance policies and training programmes focused on up-skilling employees and contractors in relation to key legal issues, compliance with laws, regulations company policies and ethical behaviour generally;
- Assisting with the placement and renewals of insurances
- Managing the provision of quality legal advice and services across all relevant levels of the organisation;
- Developing and implementing systems and processes to promote and manage the effective provision of legal services across the businesses, to up-skill employees and contractors in respect of legal issues and to enhance the overall level of legal compliance and ethical behaviour;
- Developing, implementing and managing a legal matter management system, enabling the tracking of legal issues across the businesses and enhanced reporting and transparency of issues;
- Developing precedent documentation, to promote a more consistent approach across the businesses to legal and other risks;
- Developing and implementing a contract lifecycle processes – from the business case development, through approvals to lodging in the contract library and subsequent renewals;
- Managing the relationship with external legal service providers, to ensure the provision of timely and cost effective external legal services;
- Being recognised by the Australasian Legal Business (ALB) magazine as one of the “Hot 10 in New Zealand” in 2003;
- Developing and managing an in-house legal team that was recognised as the New Zealand In-House Team of the Year at the Australasian Legal Business Australasian Law Awards – in both 2005 and 2007;
- Being appointed as a Notary Public (MANZCN).
- Being appointed as a Fellow of the Chartered Secretaries of New Zealand (FCIS).