The Rising Talent in Taranaki

Meet the young lawyers of Govett Quilliam

A rising tide lifts all boats and when it comes to legal services in Taranaki we believe that attracting fresh, committed and passionate lawyers results in local businesses benefiting from the best in world-class legal talent.

Bringing in a new generation of lawyers isn't just about having the latest in legal knowhow in the GQ offices but is also about our 140 year-old law firm ensuring we have the skills and expertise to thrive in the next 140 years. It's in this new generation of lawyers that the future of our firm lies, and the legacy continues.

But attracting the best in legal talent isn't easy. With top-tier firms in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and even overseas clamouring 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 to a new generation of professionals.

We are lucky to have a vibrant region heading in a brave direction. The natural landscape around us, family ties, the lifestyle on our doorstep and the unique opportunities ahead are only a few of the reasons why these lawyers chose to forge their legal careers in our region. In this article we speak with each to discover their reasons for making Taranaki, and GQ home.

Miaana Walden - Associate

Miaana's expertise is Māori legal services and commercial law"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

Rebecca's legal passion is resource management matters"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 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."

Priyaanka Khatri - Lawyer

Priyaanka is a property lawyer specialising in conveyancing and general property law matters"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

Jack is a member of our family law team and specialises in a range of family law matters"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 assist the family team in a wide range of matters, including child care disputes, guardianship issues, and domestic violence matters."

 

Rhiannon Stannard - Lawyer

Rhiannon is a lawyer in our family law team "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 legal services.

I enjoy being a  member of the GQ family law team - I assist in all family matters, and have a particular interest in relationship property. I like to think that my calming nature and passion about helping people implement pragmatic solutions to resolve their problems helps me become a valuable asset to the people I work with."

Paige Hellier - Lawyer

Paige's legal expertise are in both family law and employment law"Why Taranaki? What’s not to love – great café culture, ocean, the maunga, and beautiful walkways on our doorstep. I am able to have a fulfilling career, in an unbeatable environment.

Why GQ? GQ has the largest legal team in Taranaki, who are experienced specialists in their area. Our team is instructed from all around New Zealand. Our team is diverse, passionate and supportive.

I am a specialist in our family and employment law teams at GQ. I specialise in all matters family law related and am most passionate about protecting peoples assets at the early stages of their relationship. I understand the importance of structuring property and personal affairs in an orderly and practical way. Having previously worked for small to medium sized businesses as a human resources advisor, I am also able to advise both employees and employers on all employment related matters.

I am actively involved in our local community with a passion for supporting local social service providers. I volunteer in my spare time at citizens advice bureau and am currently a council member of the Taranaki Law Society.”

Beatrice Chamberlain - Lawyer

Beatrice is a member of our commercial law team and can assist with contractual review, negotiating contractual terms, commercial property purchases and leases, business and share purchase agreements, company law, property law, and other general commercial law matters. "Taranaki offers a unique experience for commercial practitioners due to the variety of clientele the region attracts. Having worked at GQ since a graduate, I’ve gained experience working on a range of matters I wouldn’t have been exposed to until much later in my career at a larger inner city law firm.

I'm experienced in reviewing and drafting commercial agreements; ascertaining where business risks lie and how to allocate them. I've also spent time on secondment, working as an in-house legal advisor from within our clients’ businesses."

Nic Croft - Lawyer

Nic’s areas of work include advice on corporate structures, contractual review, negotiations, corporate and personal refinancing, as well as advice on all areas of property law. "I moved to Taranaki to enjoy the enviable lifestyle and epic surf, without compromising my career. Taranaki has a lot to offer and is a real hub of great people doing really interesting things.

I chose to work at GQ because of the wide range of clients that we work for – from multinational corporates to first home-buyers, and because the firm’s values of working with clients to achieve the best possible results resonate with me.

I really enjoy helping clients to get the best out of their business and do so through my areas of expertise – commercial transactions, financing and restructuring.”

Rochelle Farmer - Lawyer

Rochelle's work focuses on commercial property transactions, drafting and reviewing commercial agreements, selling and purchasing businesses, and other matters."Last year I moved to GQ from a Wellington law firm. I was drawn to the culture and lifestyle in Taranaki and the opportunity to work with the respected and experienced commercial lawyers at GQ. GQ offers the best of both worlds – interesting, challenging work for world-class clients, along with great beaches, Taranaki Maunga, and a vibrant town at our fingertips.

My work at GQ focuses on company law, commercial property transactions, drafting and reviewing commercial agreements, selling and purchasing businesses. Often 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."

 

As a firm, GQ is aware that the traditional model of a law firm, perceived as stuffy and rigid, is unlikely to attract the types of lawyers that the people and businesses of Taranaki require. When dealing with a personal matter, a trusting and open relationship is key, and this needs to be part of the culture of the firm to attract the right type of lawyer.

"We push the boundaries in terms of an inclusive culture by ensuring that partners, and myself are at desks alongside the team because everyone is valued the same, and it supports learning and innovation" says CEO Sophie Braggins. The new offices feature a kids area so parents and caregivers can bring children into the office when needed. Along side a strong and locally connected cultural theme, there are mixed work environments to suit everyone's style of working.

With Taranaki providing the perfect environment for action, sport and culture, GQ has worked to provide a similarly diverse and challenging professional environment for its team.