The 2016 New Zealand Power Lawyer List . .

Power Contenders

Jonathan Coates

coatesThe co-founder of medico-legal specialists Claro Law, Jonathan Coates completed a PhD in health law in the early 2000s and for 7 years was a litigation partner with Buddle Findlay where he headed the firm’s health sector team.

Claro was set up in 2012 with law partner Anita Miller who had also been at Buddle Findlay and the firm has expanded with three offices and handling high level work for District Health Boards, insurance companies, indemnifiers and others.

As he explained in a LawFuel interview, the firm has specialised in an entire sector (the health sector) rather than a legal specialty and has made the major commitment to opening offices in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to handle its national clients in the sector.



 Dr Chris Gallivan

chris-gallivanCanterbury University’s former Law School dean Dr Chris Gallivan has become a central voice in many discussions on the courts, justice and legal issues generally.

As a youthful and often provocative observer of the legal system, Dr Gallivan has also become something of a media darling with his usually observant and incisive observations.

From the St Bedes airport carousel rider case  to issues of self representation in court, Dr Gallivan has been happy to provide a counter-point to prevailing views and place issues in appropriate context.

An expert in issues of consent and culpable homicide, having written the book Evidence and completed his PhD in criminal law, Dr Gallivan finished his 10 years as law school dean at Canterbury and became pro-Vice Chancellor at Massey’s School of Humanities and Social Sciences in October 2015.

Sue Simons

suesimonsEnvironmental and resource management lawyer Sue Simons, principal of BerrySimons in Auckland, recently picked up a couple of Property Council awards including its excellence award, demonstrating her ongoing achievements in the RM and property arena.

Having handled a number of innovative consents on everything from a tidal power turbine consent to opposing developer contributions imposed by Auckland councils, she has an ability to think outside the square and aggressively assert her clients’ objectives.  A recent case of note involved her representing Fletcher Residential in their proposed development of Mangere’s Otuataua Stonefields subdivision. One to watch.

 Jo Appleyard

joappleyardA strong contender from the South Island, Jo Appleyard is a Christchurch-based Chapman Tripp partner (formerly Buddle Findlay) who has some highly influencial clients including Meridian Energy and Christchurch International Airport, as well as acting for major employers like Ryman Healthcare and Silver Fern Farms and acting as a key advisor to Fonterra.

Recognised with various awards and highly regarded for her work across a range of commercial areas and civil disputes, she recently advised Meridian on the Waitaki issues relating to the North Bank Tunnel Power Station and Hunter Downs irrigation scheme, along with Christchurch Airport’s various consents, including bird strike issues.

Phillipa Muir

phillipamuirOne of New Zealand’s leading employment lawyers with a raft of awards and some major clients to handle, Phillipa Muir’s role advising Fonterra’s senior executives alone creates a powerful influence upon New Zealand’s legal and business landscape.

She also provides employment advice to several Boards fo Directors and has acted for both the Auckland Council and the University of Auckland on major employment cases and issues, as well as handling the first employment case to go to the Supreme Court.  A guest lecturer, employment text author and wife of Justice Kit Toogood, Phillipa Muir is nudging the list.

 Claudia King

claudiaClaudia King’s Legal Beagle online legal service business, combined with her late father’s law firm Dennis King Law, has shown what can be done when ‘old school’ firms are married to a savvy, new economy law firm with strong social media skills.

Her innovative and entrepreneurial approach to the law demonstrates what many small practices need to do to survive and prosper – move their market from the local to the national.  Claudia King’s pioneering work in this area has perfectly demonstrated something that many firms have still to grasp.  A key player destined for full List membership.

Davey Salmon

davey-salmonPrincipal of litigation boutique LeeSalmondLong, co-founded in 2002, Davey Salmon is developing a substantial reputation as a trial and appellate lawyer with corporate clients as well as private cients with relationships property issues and defamation and media law work, including acting for journalist Jon Stephenson in his defamation lawsuit against the Defence Force.

He has also acted for Greenpeace, such as in their opposition to the oil drilling off the East Coast by mining giant Petrobas.


Susan Hornby-Geluk

susan-horby-gelukAn energetic and highly capable employment lawyer who set up her practice in Wellington after parting ways with Power Lister Mai Chen’s law firm, Susan Horby-Geluk has built up a strong practice handling a range of public entities, corporates and private individuals.

A regular contributor to Fairfax newspapers on employment-related issues, the pint-sized lawyer has built an increasingly sizeable reputation as a go-to lawyer in employment and related fields.

Greg Newbold


Criminologist and associate professor Greg Newbold is a frequent commentator on criminal law issues and has carved a narrow-and-deep niche of specialty in the criminology arena that remains important at a time when gang and drug crime continues to create societal, economic and criminal justice waves.

A voice of both experience and reason, but tinged with insider knowledge and real life experience, Greg Newbold’s pronouncements and observations continue to hold sway in the criminal justice field.

Jo Hosking

Jo Hosking – Family Law Barrister, Counsel throughout the Clayton litigation and now acting (with me) for Mona Dotcom. An up and comer…

Grant Shand

grant-shandChristchurch-based insurance litigator Grant Shand has been at the forefront of litigation following the Christchurch earthquakes with more cases in the High Court earthquake list than any other lawyer and who has marked up some significant victories in the various cases.

Running a firm with nine legal support staff his work continues to make waves in both earthquake, earthquake remedial work claims and the ever-present leaky homes claims.

His continued efforts to represent an array of clients affected by these issues sees his pre-eminence in the area continue to grow.


Steve Cottrell

steve-cottrellCambridge law graduate and former Minter Ellison lawyer Steve Cottrell has carved an interesting niche in the sports law arena as principal of his Cottsport company, building the largest and most successful sports law business in the country.

Having spent five years as General Counsel at the NZ Rugby Union, Steve Cottrell is well placed to handle sports management and related contracts and negotiations and has been doing so with considerable success.

His business handles all the major sporting codes in New Zealand and he is also a Sanzar judicial officer.

Mark Lowndes

A long-time mover and shaker on the legal scene, Mark Lowndes


Mark is a highly experienced corporate and commercial lawyer. He advises New Zealand and international companies on a range of matters such as mergers and acquisitions, securitisations, capital raising, private equity, venture capital, technology, telecommunications, corporate recovery and international investment.

Apart from the M&A and transactional work, Mark leads the firm’s technology, media, telecommunications and IP practices, acting for a wide range of clients from start-ups to global brands on local and international matters.

Mark commenced practice at Simpson Grierson. After a period as in-house counsel for BP Oil NZ, he founded Lowndes Jordan in 1986 as New Zealand’s first ’boutique’ law firm. In 1997 he founded Lowndes, combining the partner accessibility and client-focus of a boutique firm with the knowledge and expertise of a large commercial firm.

Alongside his corporate advisory work, Mark holds various company directorships and trusteeships in NZ and internationally. He is a Certified Member of the Institute of Directors and has served as a mentor for the Institute of Directors’ New and Aspiring Directors Programme.

Recently Mark acted as Chairman of Multilaw, a leading global association of over 8,000 lawyers practising in 150 commercial centres, ranked as ‘Elite’ by Chambers Global. He is also active in leading international networks Legalink and INBLF, and in the Inter-Pacific Bar Association.

In 2016, Mark was recommended as a leading lawyer by prominent industry directories Chambers Asia-Pacific and Asialaw Profiles.

David Cooper

david-cooper-profileDavid has a broad range of commercial litigation experience. He has particular expertise in company and securities law issues, competition law claims, and complex contractual disputes. He regularly appears as counsel in the courts at all levels, in commercial arbitration proceedings and before specialist tribunals such as the Takeovers Panel. David acts for clients across a range of industries including aviation, agriculture and the oil and gas industries.

David is ranked as a leading individual for dispute resolution by The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016, with the previous edition stating he “operates at the highest level.”

Chambers Asia Pacific 2016 awarded David a top tier ranking for dispute resolution, stating David is admired by peers and clients, who observe that “he is very capable, measured and a skilled litigator.” David is also ranked for his competition work, and clients report that he is “technically brilliant, patient, understanding and highly credible…. [In a] highly stressful situation, having legal counsel of David’s calibre provides significant comfort and support.”

David is also named as a local disputes star in Benchmark 2014.

He is the co-author of the Thomson Reuters publication Company and Securities Law in New Zealand.


Geoff Busch

geoff-buschBanking and finance lawyer Geoff Busch has handled a range of major domestic and international deals and become a central figure in many insolvency, financial, banking and debt restructuring issues..  Having spent time with Clifford Chance (London) and Mallesons (Sydney) and working previously as a partner at Russell McVeagh he has

Geoff is a senior banking and finance lawyer with particular expertise in acquisition, project, corporate, structured, and property finance and debt capital markets transactions.

Geoff acts regularly for international and domestic banks, financial institutions and borrowers on high profile transactions across a range of sectors. He also provides general banking and finance advice, including advising on debt restructuring and insolvency and financial services regulatory issues.

Geoff joined Anderson Lloyd as a Partner in 2014, after 21 years with law firms in Auckland, London (Clifford Chance) and Sydney (Mallesons). The last 10 of those years he was a partner, most recently with Russell McVeagh.

Geoff is rated as a leading New Zealand lawyer in banking and finance or project finance by Chambers & Partners, Legal 500, IFLR 1000, Who’s Who Legal, and Asialaw Profiles.

Chambers & Partners 2016 (rating “Band 1” Banking and Finance lawyer) states that Geoff is praised by clients as a “very experienced banking lawyer who is always effective at getting the deal done, and is responsive and calm under pressure”, and that peers report “He is a strong, technical and user-friendly lawyer.”

Geoff is a member of the New Zealand Committee of the Asia Pacific Loan Market Association, the Banking and Financial Services Law Association, the Institute of Finance Professionals New Zealand and the Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association of New Zealand (RITANZ).

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