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Simpson Grierson

This firm appears in the Who's Who Legal 100 2014

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Simpson Grierson - The Who's Who Legal 100 2014

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Simpson Grierson is one of New Zealand’s leading law firms and in 2013 it consolidated its dominant position in the legal market with a high-profile hire to its Christchurch office, epitomising the firm’s plans for continued growth in New Zealand’s commercial sector.

Banking 2 Labour & Employment 2
Capital Markets 1 Life Sciences 3
Commercial Litigation 1 M&A 2
Corporate Tax 1 Mining 3
Energy 2 Product Liability Defence 1
Information Technology 1 Project Finance 1
Insolvency & Restructuring 3 Sports & Entertainment 1
Insurance & Reinsurance 1 Trademarks 1

The firm also demonstrated its commitment to strengthening its practice across a number of areas as well as employee development with the hires of eight new senior associates in February 2014. Four of the newly hired associates focus on various corporate matters including M&A, joint ventures, corporate restructuring and asset financing. A further two recruits are well regarded commercial litigators reflecting the firm’s emphasis on appointing and retaining experts in both the transactional and contentious spheres.

Total Listings in WWL 26 Established 1887
Home jurisdiction New Zealand Total size of firm 220+
Number of partners 47 Number of offices 3



The firm is recommended for its “strong” insolvency and restructuring practice and advises banks and other major financial institutions, corporate and leading accountancy firms on recovery processes including debt restructuring and arrangements with creditors. Michael Robinson heads the banking and finance department as well as the security enforcement, insolvency and restructuring group. Widely acknowledged as a “phenomenal litigator”, he regularly represents banks, receivers and liquidators in significant cases at all levels. The “absolutely outstanding” Steve Flynn advises prominent corporate insolvency practices when they are appointed as receivers, liquidators and administrators and is described as an “undisputed authority” on all aspects of insolvency law. James Caird is a “sharp advocate” in the field and places particular emphasis on complex restructurings, cross-border insolvencies, directors’ duties claims, and asset tracing and fraud claims.

Simpson Grierson is “renowned” for its work on mining projects and exploration, providing legal advice to many organisations including two of the largest gold mining companies in New Zealand. Don Holborow is a “greatly respected figure” in the sector, and as co-head of the equity capital markets group and head of the Wellington ICT team, he specialises in procurement process design and finding commercially viable solutions to mining projects issues. Dave Trueman is a “first-class” commercial lawyer who focuses on energy and natural resources. He brings to bear “valuable” experience from his experience as legal counsel at Solid Energy New Zealand and is praised by clients for his “nuanced and intelligent approach”. The “extensively experienced” Robert McLean specialises in mining-related corporate transactions and regularly advises multinationals, government organisations and smaller New Zealand-based companies.

The firm’s M&A team has an “outstanding track record” and the broad practice covers public takeovers, private sales, contested bids, mergers, and other business restructures. Kevin Jaffe is the chairman of the firm and a partner in the corporate team. Widely recognised as “one of New Zealand’s leading M&A specialists”, he counsels on business acquisitions, takeovers, mergers, corporate restructurings and contract negotiations, with a focus on the health, energy and transport sectors. Stephen Ward is a “fantastic strategist” and provides advice on the corporate governance and statutory compliance implications of major mergers and acquisitions.



Simpson Grierson is passionate about working in local communities and has a dedicated pro bono practice which is led by commercial partner Michael Wood. The firm strives to ensure that those without adequate resources can gain access to legal advice and justice, and supports a number of organisations throughout New Zealand including Youthline, Auckland Division of the Cancer Society, Child Cancer Foundation, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Auckland & North Shore, Preventing Violence in the Home and Refugee Family Reunification Trust.



In 2014, Simpson Grierson will focus on maintaining and enhancing its position as one of the country’s foremost commercial law firms through a strategy of utilising the firm’s large resources to ensure that clients always receive advice from an experienced specialist in a designated practice area. The firm will also continue to strengthen its international connections, capitalising on its status as the only New Zealand-based member of Lex Mundi, a leading cross-jurisdictional association of independent law firms.

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