Former IAG claims counsel founds boutique firm in Wellington

The firm will specialise in insurance, civil disputes and litigation

Former IAG claims counsel founds boutique firm in Wellington
Emma Gabor

Former IAG claims counsel Emma Gabor has founded Gabor Law, a boutique firm based in Wellington.

The firm will focus on insurance, civil disputes and litigation and professional complaints and disciplinary proceedings. It is built, Gabor told NZ Lawyer, on two values: excellence and no-nonsense.

“In other words, be the best we can be, be upfront, lean, fast. The aim is create a modern law firm which provides specialist services that enable clients to have problems resolved and be in control of their legal spend,” she said.

Prior to her stint with IAG New Zealand, Gabor worked for seven years with DLA Piper, where she was a senior solicitor. She has advised leading insurance companies on issues involving material damage, business interruption, statutory and public liability policies, and was deeply involved with litigation related to the Canterbury earthquakes. As an in-house claims counsel, she has handled professional indemnity claims, general liability, D&O, statutory prosecutions, employment dispute claims and disciplinary complaints against professionals.

Having worked within large organisations throughout her career, Gabor said she found the idea of going into a small practice “daunting.” However, her love of litigation and going to court drove her to form her own practice.

“After five years in-house, I had to consider my future going forward, whether I was going to stay there forever or I was going to do something else. The job I had was amazing: great team, incredible work experience, workplace flexibility. But somehow I knew I didn’t want to be in-house forever so I started thinking about going back into private practice,” Gabor said. “Having my own practice gives me the freedom to do other things I love, like presenting or writing articles or giving small tidbits of knowledge on insurance on social media.”

In establishing Gabor Law, Gabor opted to utilise a fixed-fee business model.

“A fixed-fee model empowers a client to make decisions based on value. For example, they can count the cost of litigation and decide that they can take a case to court without having to settle due to escalating legal fees. The power of decision moves to the client,” she said. “Fixed fees also encourage brevity, innovation and efficiency, very much in line with our values.”

Gabor believes that her career path thus far has accorded her with a wealth of experience that will benefit clients when it comes to insurance matters.

“When you work in a national law firm, you have a chance to work on some of the most complex cases in the country. My clients were large insurance companies and there was no shortage of interesting claims,” Gabor said. “And personally, I think there is no experience like in-house – you see everything under the sun, every scenario. You are a consumer of legal services to an extent as well, so you learn what clients want. You also learn how insurance companies work and how they think, and what is important to them.”

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