Here at GQ we believe that attracting fresh, committed and passionate lawyers results in businesses benefiting from the best in world-class legal talent.
Attracting the best in legal talent isn't easy. With top-tier firms in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch calling for the best in new lawyers, GQ needs to be a pretty special place to offer these young professionals the same professional challenges and opportunities, without compromising on the things that really matter.
We are lucky to have a vibrant region continuously heading in a brave direction. The natural landscape around us, family ties, the lifestyle on our doorstep, and the unique opportunities are only a few of the reasons why these lawyers chose to forge their legal careers in our region.
Below we speak with each individual to discover their reasons for making Taranaki, and GQ home.
Miaana Patene - Associate
"Deciding to return home to Taranaki to work and live was a no-brainer. The Taranaki lifestyle is impossible to match and being closer to my family and friends here in Taranaki was another major drawcard. I was fortunate to find my perfect fit at GQ early on in my legal career. Our healthy work-life balance allows me to make the most of exploring the outdoors and giving back to my local community, which contributed so positively to my formative years.
There are so many exciting commercial and community initiatives happening around Taranaki at the moment. Some of my community involvements include being a committee member of He Toronga Pakihi ki Taranaki (Taranaki Māori Business Network), a Big Sister Mentor through the Big Brother Big Sister programme, a trustee of Priscilla Sandys Wunsch Trust which provides scholarships to students to study at Otago University who suffer from extreme financial or social hardship, being the West Coast Regional Representative for the New Zealand Māori Law Society and other general involvements with local sports clubs. I am fortunate to be a Board Member of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and an Associate at GQ in our commercial and Te Tira Hau Ture Māori Legal Services teams. I am interested in a broad range of commercial matters, with a particular interest in providing governance advice to our corporate and commercial clients, not-for-profit organisations, individuals, w’anau, hapu and iwi. As a member of our Māori legal services team, we pride ourselves on finding unique culturally driven solutions for our clients. There is also a growing desire for businesses to have advisors with a broader understanding of Māori aspirations, tikanga and Te Reo Māori which I am passionate about."
Rebecca Eaton - Associate
"After a stint in both Wellington and Auckland I returned home to Taranaki to take up a position at GQ. I was drawn back to Taranaki by the lifestyle, particularly the beautiful Taranaki coastline and the stunning parks and walkways within the region. I believe that Taranaki offers a unique opportunity for professionals – with exciting clients, projects and developments yet short commutes and a family-focused community. The work-life balance offered by GQ and the Taranaki region enables me to spend quality time with family, friends and my many animals.
I am an Associate here at GQ in our Environment & Planning, Employment and Litigation teams. I practice primarily in the resource management area and have experience advising and representing clients in relation to a number of RM matters, including resource consent and plan change applications and district plan reviews. As a part of the Environment and Planning Team, we also provide advice in relation to local government matters, marine consenting and a broad range of environmental law issues. The Environment and Planning Team pride ourselves on providing strategic and pragmatic advice and assisting clients through what is at times, a very complex legislative framework. I am currently the chair of the Taranaki branch of the RMLA, an organisation that brings together resource management lawyers, judges, planners, architects and environmental consultants. In addition, I also undertake civil litigation and employment law work. I regularly present and facilitate seminars and presentations to the business community as a member of our Employment Law team."
Rochelle Farmer - Associate
"In 2019 I moved from Wellington to New Plymouth to continue my legal career at GQ. I was impressed by the culture and lifestyle in Taranaki and the opportunity to work with the respected and experienced commercial lawyers at GQ.
GQ is future-focused, innovative, and has a culture of excellence and world class clients. Living in Taranaki with its beautiful beaches, Taranaki Maunga, and great people is the icing on the cake.
I appreciate the many ways GQ contributes to the Taranaki community and supports each of us to get involved. I am on the board of Sport Taranaki and also serve on Sport Taranaki’s Audit and Risk Committee.
My work at GQ focuses on commercial structures and relationships, company law, corporate advisory, and governance advice. From working closely with business management, I understand the practicalities of commercial operations. I enjoy collaborating with businesses, building trust with clients, and using my skills and experience to help businesses achieve their goals."
Priyaanka Khatri - Lawyer
“I love the lifestyle here in Taranaki. The arts and cultural scene was a huge draw card to come back to the region I grew up in. When GQ offered me the opportunity, I couldn’t turn it down.
I'm a lawyer in the GQ property team and I enjoy working collaboratively to find the best solutions for our clients. Interestingly, taking into account each team member’s years of experience practicing in property law, our team has over 90 years of property law experience.
With this experience comes specialist knowledge and the ability to give pragmatic and sound advice. What I really value about the team is their proactive client focus as well as the effort put towards actively training newer members (of the team). I have also had experience working in GQ’s commercial team and in February 2019 I made the switch to the property team. My professional focuses are conveyancing, refinancing, leases, and providing advice more generally on all property related matters. I'm passionate about getting to know my clients, finding out what they consider important and tailoring my service to meet their needs."
Jack Hutchinson - Lawyer
"I wanted to live in Taranaki because I enjoy regional New Zealand and the unique opportunities that come with it. Working for GQ was the obvious choice because of the wealth of experience within our team, and the endless opportunities to grow my career in that environment. I am originally from Northland but instantly grew to love Taranaki. Especially due to the surf breaks.
In my two years at GQ I have worked alongside a team with a huge wealth of knowledge. I am constantly learning and growing my expertise. I assist the family team in a wide range of matters, including child care disputes, guardianship issues, and domestic violence matters."
Rhiannon Stannard - Lawyer
"I grew up in Taranaki and jumped at the chance to move back to my beautiful home.
GQ is unique; it hosts a strong team with a wide range of legal expertise to learn from while offering a modern and personal approach to providing legal services.
As part of the excellent GQ family law team, I can assist with all family-related matters, and have a particular interest in disputes involving children. I believe that my calming nature and passion for helping people implement pragmatic solutions to resolve their concerns makes me a valuable asset to the people I work with."
Annie Prosser - Lawyer
"Why Taranaki? What’s not to love – great beaches, café culture, the maunga, and walkways on our doorstep. I am able to have a rewarding career in an awe-inspiring environment.
Why GQ? I chose to work at GQ because I was (and continue to be) impressed by the highly capable and passionate people in the GQ team. GQ also has the largest legal team in Taranaki, who are experienced specialists that work for a range of clients from around New Zealand. The team itself consists of supportive, charismatic and diverse people which makes working at GQ immensely enjoyable.
I am a specialist in our Personal Planning and Corporate and Commercial Teams. Due to the introduction of the new trusts legislation this year I currently specialise in all things trust, including; trust formations, wind-ups, variations and trust reviews. I enjoy acting for families and corporates alike and I am relishing the opportunity to develop my legal expertise in these areas.
I am actively involved in our local community and I currently volunteer in my spare time at the Citizens Advice Bureau. I am also on the Executive Committee of the Taranaki Young Professionals where I act as the Secretary/ Vice President.”
Beatrice Chamberlain - Lawyer
"Taranaki offers a unique experience for all practitioners due to the variety of clientele the region attracts. Having worked at GQ since a graduate, I’m grateful to have worked alongside skilled senior practitioners on matters I might not have been exposed to until much later in my career at a larger inner-city law firm. A particular highlight has been a period on secondment working as an in-house legal advisor from within one of our clients’ businesses.
GQ has given me the opportunity to develop a range of skills across the areas of property law, commercial and corporate law, energy law, and more recently, trusts law. My areas of expertise now encompass overseas investment, contractual review and drafting, contractual risk management, and personal planning (particularly in light of the new Trusts Act 2019).”
Cameron Hart- Lawyer
"Returning to Taranaki after several years in Christchurch and some time in Auckland was an easy choice. The lifestyle is second to none and nothing is too far away. While New Plymouth may not be large in size, it is rich in life and opportunity with forward thinking developments and exciting initiatives from companies of all size.
When considering the move from a national law firm I was interested in two main attributes: great people within the firm and interesting clients. GQ ticks both of those boxes and more. I have a keen interest in the oil and gas industry as I worked in this field for several years prior to becoming a lawyer, and as a general interest (maybe due to my love for food and coffee?) I enjoy working with our hospitality sector. I highly value the relationships I build with all our clients at GQ and admire the work and contributions that they provide to our community.
I enjoy being a member of the corporate and commercial team and I’m always excited to visit clients and witness their business thriving whether it is through a scheduled visit, or simply because I enjoy their coffee, dine at their restaurants, or use their services in general. Genuinely being interested in business generates excitement in my work and my practical working background allows me to understand and consider some of the more practical and technical issues that other lawyers may not have been exposed to."
Sade Sadd - Lawyer
"Having grown up in sunny Nelson and then spending several years in cities, the move to Taranaki and back into the regions was a welcome and refreshing one for me. I think being a young professional there’s a perception that you have to be in a major city to be competitive. I’ve found that in Taranaki you can balance an uncompromised career and fulfilled lifestyle quite effortlessly.
Govett Quilliam is a living embodiment of old meets new. GQ is reputable and long serving to the Taranaki region and beyond. I believe one reason the firm continues to prosper is due to its continued ability to be forward thinking and progressive. The team at GQ are supportive and make a concerted effort to promote and foster a strong culture for both staff and clients. The entire team are a group of absolute professionals and it’s a real privilege for me to be a lawyer in the family team.
I am in the Family Team here at GQ and predominantly work on matters concerning child care disputes, guardianship issues, and domestic violence matters. I am passionate about protecting peoples assets, particularly at the beginning stages of their relationships. I appreciate the importance of family and structuring your affairs in a way that practically suits each individual.”
Jaye Atkin - Law Clerk
"Everything is right on your doorstep – beautiful beaches, walkways and of course the maunga. The lifestyle offered by the Taranaki region is hard to beat, and having made the move here fairly recently, I can’t wait to explore Taranaki further. As a new law graduate, the interesting range of legal work offered by GQ due to its regional location attracted me to the firm.
GQ offers a work-life balance which can be difficult to find in the legal profession. This is something which is important to me, as I can have a sustainable and enjoyable career while still being able to pursue my passions outside of work. GQ is a great combination of being well-established with highly experienced legal practitioners, while also being future focused and innovative.
I am involved in the Resource Management, Employment and Litigation Teams here at GQ as a Law Clerk. I am currently completing my Professional Legal Studies and plan to be admitted to the bar in July this year."
"We genuinely respect our relationships with our young people and the things that are important in their lives. By always reflecting on our culture and environment, we have a firm where people feel included, inspired and purpose-driven in their work”" says CEO Sophie Braggins.
With Taranaki providing the perfect environment for action, sport and culture, we have worked to provide a similarly diverse and challenging professional environment for our team.
To find out more about our team, please see our entire team page here.