Our teams

Animate

We are only as successful as our people.

Our lawyers bring a diverse range of perspectives to collaboratively produce leading strategic and commercial advice. As a law student, we know it can be confusing to understand the different teams and practice areas that make up a corporate law firm, let alone know which teams you’re interested in trying out! Although no two days are the same and can vary across each office, we thought it would be helpful to give you first-hand insight into what a typical ‘day-in-the-life’ could look like for juniors in each team.

“Two main things have struck me about Chapman Tripp over the course of my winter and summer clerkship. The first is how genuinely friendly and welcoming everyone is – it sounds cliche but it’s true. It’s the kind of place where people will hold the door open for you, deliberately include you in conversations and ask how your weekend was. The second thing is the time that the lawyers and partners have for you. Despite being incredibly busy they will go out of their way to explain the context and big picture of the project or client that you have been tasked to work on. I’ve found this incredibly helpful while learning the ropes – and it’s also further stimulated my interest in commercial law.”

Charlie BarkerSummer Clerk

Auckland

  • Construction & major projects
  • Corporate & commercial
  • Environment, planning & resource management
  • Finance
  • Financial services regulation
  • Litigation & dispute resolution
  • Private client & trusts
  • Property & real estate
  • Tax
  • Te Waka Ture

Wellington

  • Competition & regulatory
  • Corporate & commercial
  • Finance
  • Litigation & dispute resolution
  • Property & real estate
  • Tax
  • Te Waka Ture

Christchurch

  • Corporate & commercial
  • Environment, planning & resource management
  • Litigation & dispute resolution
  • Property & real estate
  • Te Waka Ture

Corporate & commercial

Written by
  • Eleanor Burkin - Auckland
  • Stephanie Knowler - Christchurch
  • Will Shaw - Wellington
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Morning

When I get into the office, I'll catch up on emails that have come in overnight before heading out for coffee with the team. Some of the work I do includes drafting documents relating to a current transaction, such as board and shareholder resolutions. I may also need to call the solicitors on the other side of a transaction to negotiate the terms of a sale and purchase agreement.

Lunch

I love meeting friends for lunch, especially when there are so many food options near the offices!

Afternoon

In corporate, we'll often review a client's website terms and conditions, or consider a client query in relation to a Companies Act process, such as issue of new shares.

“We chose corporate because it provides the opportunity to develop core legal skills such as drafting documents and providing written advice to clients, whilst also providing exposure to more general concepts in relation to running a business. Our work intersects with a number of other teams in the firm, and occasionally we have to understand other areas of law that are important to the matter or project we’re working on, which we really enjoy. It’s very exciting working in a transactional team for a firm of this size!”

Eleanor Burkin, Will Shaw & Stephanie KnowlerSolicitors

Morning

I love heading to the gym before work – there are plenty of gyms close to each office and often people who are keen to do a group class together. Once I arrive at the office, I spend some time catching up on my emails and responding to any urgent client queries or giving a client a call if they need immediate guidance. On a Monday we go out for a team coffee with our supervising partner as a chance to see what everyone has on their plates and to check that the work is distributed sensibly within the team – and of course to catch up on what everyone did on the weekend! Sometimes we’ll walk down to court to watch a hearing that our team has been involved in. There’s plenty of work to do in the lead-up to a hearing so when it finally happens it’s very exciting!

Lunch

We have quite a social floor so you’ll often find the litigation juniors and other teams on the floor having lunch together in the kitchen, otherwise I like to spend my time outside or at a local cafe.

Afternoon

My afternoons are sometimes spent delving into a research task or drafting a court document. Our team will also get together to do the Stuff quiz, aiming to get the perfect score! Towards the end of the day, I’ll check in with my supervising partner. If we have a large discovery or other urgent court deadline we might discuss progress and work late to get things done. On other days, some of the juniors might get together after work and head down to the waterfront.

Litigation & dispute resolution

Written by
  • Jake Henderson - Wellington
  • Katherine Eichelbaum - Auckland
  • Mikaila Claughton - Christchurch
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“I really enjoyed being a part of the litigation team during my summer clerkship and knew that it would be a great start to my career. We do a huge range of work for different clients and every day presents a new challenge. A highlight included being involved in the behind-the-scenes aspects of a proceeding– especially when you then get to watch it unfold in Court!”

Mikaila ClaughtonSolicitor

Finance

Written by
  • Bronwyn Bailey - Auckland
  • Chanuka De Silva - Wellington
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Morning

The start of my day usually includes a bike ride into work, followed by breakfast and looking through emails that have come in overnight. Our team's daily ritual is our morning 'tea time' where we all enjoy a cuppa together before getting stuck into work. I'll then set myself up for the day and meet with the team to discuss the day ahead and projects we are working on, before cracking into something like a deed of company arrangement, or a settlement deed.

Lunch

I enjoy having lunch with people on the floor or outside with juniors as a chance to catch up with people in other teams.

Afternoon

Our work tends to vary, but you'll often find me reviewing a contract granting a security interest, or considering a client query relating to liquidator duties. It's always something different!

“Finance is a global practice area and gives you a lot of scope for the future. Responsibility to run some of your own transactions – even though these are small day-to-day jobs – has been very rewarding.”

Chanuka De SilvaSolicitor

Morning

I always start my day with a good coffee and spend about 15 minutes catching up on emails and items that have arrived from clients overnight. This allows me to organise my to-do list for the day, prioritise my work items and ensure all deadlines are met. Then I’ll usually get stuck into drafting advice for a client, assisting with regulatory submissions, attending client meetings, or catching up with partners on matters that are currently in progress.

Lunch

I like to take a walk especially when the sun is out to get some fresh air and relax after what can often be a busy morning.

Afternoon

The afternoons can go by very quickly! There will be times where work items come directly to you, and often it will come with a pressing deadline. My biggest tip is to have an organisation method that works well for you – like a list or digital work stream – and keep adding or ticking off items as the day progresses. This means you are always on top of everything and if a piece of work comes in urgently, you are able to re-prioritise quickly.

Financial services regulation

Written by
  • Janet Liu - Auckland
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“Much of our work is at the forefront of legislative reforms and we are often engaged to provide advice to clients who are trying to navigate their way through this highly regulated industry. Coming from a banking background, I am genuinely interested in the reforms affecting our financial services sector, and how we are able to help clients with our legal knowledge.”

Janet LiuSolicitor

Private client & trusts

Written by
  • Gabby Gatland - Auckland
  • Stephanie Kalburgi - Auckland
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Morning

I always make myself a coffee in the morning before I start my day. Once I’ve settled at my desk, my supervising partner will usually come over and ask how I am and what work I have on for the day. I’ll often be given a few tasks to get through, which could include drafting a trust document, preparing a will, or doing some research for a current matter. Our team will regularly go for a coffee together (usually my second!), which is a nice way to break up the morning and catch up with others in the team.

Lunch

Most days I try to bring my lunch and sit with others on our floor, otherwise I treat myself to one of the many delicious options that the local cafes have to offer.

Afternoon

If I have completed the tasks that I have been set in the morning, I will get myself up to date with any files that have been handed over to me. Other days, I will sit in on relevant meeting or conference calls so I can stay up to date with matters the others are working on and can offer any opinions I may have. At the end of the day I always check in with supervising partner – if nothing urgent needs to be completed then I will walk home to get some fresh air at the end of the day.

“Although I only recently started at Chapman Tripp, I already feel incredibly welcomed and excited for what this firm has to offer. I am really enjoying being part of the private client & trusts team as they work closely together on very practical and current matters.”

Gabby GatlandSolicitor

Morning

After cycling along the bays to work, I’ll look over my emails and decide on a rough plan of action - usually I’ll find myself working on a range of different tasks. As a junior, I’ll often be helping the seniors in the team so it’s likely I’ll have a meeting or two where they explain the tasks to me. These are great opportunities to spend time with more experienced lawyers and learn about the interesting work going on in the team.

Lunch

During my lunch break, I’ll either meet with friends outside, or go for a run. The offices are in great locations so it’s easy to get out and enjoy the fresh air.

Afternoon

If I’ve spent the morning working on a task, I’ll often send it to a senior so I can then sit down with them and discuss how I’ve done. These informal feedback sessions provide you with a great opportunity to learn and soak up more information. Around 3:30pm, we have a daily quiz – this short break is a fun way to socialise and get to know the other members of CT! By the end of the day, I always leave the office feeling like I’ve gained a little bit more experience in the law!

Property & real estate

Written by
  • Ben Smalberger - Wellington
  • Joseph Barclay - Christchurch
  • Lauren Greig - Auckland
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“I chose property because it is such an important area of law – every business uses property to create wealth and minimise risk. Property is not just about conveyancing – it is a hugely diverse area of law which enables you to work with clients on a variety of projects. It is exciting to look outside the window and see significant developments going on that I have worked on.”

Lauren GreigSolicitor

Tax

Written by
  • Tim Austen - Wellington
  • Alexandra Bensemann - Auckland
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Morning

I enjoy running to work or doing a gym class in the morning - it's a great way to get ready for a busy day ahead. I often start my day looking through legal updates and having a quick catch up with the team to allocate new work, and touch base on progress. In the morning, I might do some research on aspects of a cross border tax structure or draft advice for clients and discuss with others in the team.

Lunch

When the weather is nice, I'll go for lunch on the waterfront with friends.

Afternoon

After lunch, I'll get into more mahi such as reviewing contracts, drafting submissions on proposed law changes or putting together a variety of different IRD applications for clients. Our team loves an afternoon biscuit - so you'll often catch us having a quick break in between the hard work!

“Tax is everywhere – as a junior working in tax, no two days are the same! You get to collaborate and work closely with others in the team and across the firm on a variety of complex issues. At Chapman Tripp, the tax team is a great place to start your legal career. You’ll learn from and be mentored by the best and brightest in New Zealand, while honing your legal skills and having a lot of fun along the way.”

Alexandra Bensemann & Tim AustenSolicitors

Morning

My morning usually consists of different work, sometimes I'll be preparing the evidence of expert witnesses for an upcoming hearing. We regularly deal with expert witnesses specialising in a diverse variety of areas such as landscape, economics, lighting, water ecology, transport, noise, or marine mammals. I enjoy these tasks as they give you an insight into a line of work you might not have known about otherwise. To break up the morning, we'll sometimes go out for a team coffee with our supervising partner and whoever else wants to join!

Lunch

Before lunch I might do some legal research on aspects of the Resource Management Act - this could include research on plan changes, resource consents, questions of interpretation, case law or commentary. The Riverside Market down the road from the Christchurch office provides some great lunch choices with different restaurants, food trucks and fresh produce!

Afternoon

I am regularly meeting with clients, both with partners and on my own, and enjoy getting to know the clients to understand their needs and expectations. In the afternoons we do the daily Stuff quizzes. Other bits of work I might do during the afternoons include preparing legal advice for a client. It always surprises me how much strategic advice we provide - not all law is strictly legal!

Environment, planning & resource management

Written by
  • Charlotte Aspin - Auckland
  • Lucy Forrester - Christchurch
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“At university, I was never certain on the type of law I wanted to practice. I was very happy to be offered a job in Chapman Tripp’s Christchurch environment, planning & resource management team and now I couldn’t imagine doing anything else. Even as a junior, I work directly under partners and I’m given a significant amount of freedom to run and manage my own files with direct client contact. The clients we work for are varied, which means the work we receive is never the same. I enjoy working on high profile projects that will contribute to Christchurch’s redevelopment and make it an even more amazing city to work, live in and visit. I am able to challenge myself every day and know I have an excellent support and supervisory network around me.”

Lucy ForresterSolicitor

Competition & regulatory

Written by
  • Brittany Reddington - Wellington
  • Georgia Whelan - Wellington
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Morning

At the start of the week, I'll arrive at the office and get straight into our team meeting to discuss what everyone got up to in the weekend, touch base with partners about work, and to check in on everyone's work capacity. I'll then get into preparing information for an application to the Commerce Commission or Overseas Investment Office (always fueled by my morning coffee and Marmite on toast).

Lunch

I'll often spend lunch outside by the waterfront with other juniors or meet with friends who work close by!

Afternoon

In the afternoons you'll sometimes find me researching regulations, helping prepare advice to a client on compliance, or attending a call with a client to confirm their instructions. You never know when a client meeting might come up, so my top tip is to always have a blazer in the office (even on casual Fridays!). After work, I'll play some social netball or tennis with friends, or on a Friday night I might catch up with others in the office at the staff social night.

“We both chose the team primarily for the people. We had summer clerked in the competition and regulatory team and knew we would enjoy coming back to the team as law clerks – no matter the type of work. We enjoy that the team does a mix of advisory, advocacy and corporate work as we get to develop skills across a broad range of practice areas.”

Brittany Reddington & Georgia WhelanSolicitors

Morning

My morning always starts after a coffee and a chat with the team in our office pod. The first thing I do is check over my emails and to-do list and then have a think about which work should be prioritised and how I should best spend my time. I might begin to work on drafting and reviewing construction contracts, or assisting with due diligence.

Lunch

During my lunch break I like to head to the gym. I love being able to fit some exercise in during the day and it always makes me feel more energised and focused in the afternoon.

Afternoon

In the afternoon I usually reassess my tasks on my to-do list and have a think about what work needs to be done before the end of the day. I might have a chat to the seniors in the team to see if there’s anything they need help with, or if I’ve sent them work throughout the day, we might have a catch up on that.

Construction & major projects

Written by
  • Megan Proctor - Auckland
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“No day in the construction team is the same. We act for a wide range of clients and get to work on really interesting deals that vary so much across the board! It’s awesome working alongside such a fun and inclusive group, who are very supportive and knowledgeable.”

Megan ProctorSolicitor

Te Waka Ture

“It’s exciting to be able to use your understanding of te ao Māori and your legal expertise to help ensure that clients get the best possible outcome.”

Findlay Jacob-SauerSolicitor

E anga whakamua ana te waka (Forging a new path)

Te Waka Ture, our Māori Legal Group, specialises in providing commercial legal advice to iwi, hapū, Māori landowners, Māori businesses, and those looking to work with them, focusing specifically on:

  • post-Treaty settlement transactions
  • joint ventures, and
  • collective iwi arrangements.

The Māori economy is growing rapidly as a result of the creation of large, asset-rich Māori corporates from Treaty of Waitangi settlements, and with the development of partnerships and joint ventures with Māori and non-Māori partners.

By drawing on our expertise and experience, our core team of iwi-focused lawyers can assist iwi and Māori organisations to maximise their commercial assets, helping them to achieve not only their commercial objectives, but providing a means to achieve their social and cultural objectives as well.

Te Waka Ture involves members from several different teams across our Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch offices. Being a member of Te Waka Ture allows you to be involved in several areas of work beyond your standard practice area, and deal with unique and interesting Māori legal issues. Some areas you might be involved in if you are a member of Te Waka Ture include Corporate, Resource Management, Property, Tax and Litigation.