The special counsel will be focused on advising clients in dealing with central and local government and the wider state sector
Leo Donnelly is joining Chen Palmer Partners.
Donnelly will be a special counsel in the firm’s Wellington office starting 2 July. He comes from his post as the nation’s ombudsman, an office he has held since 2016.
The senior lawyer earned his LLB from Victoria University of Wellington and was admitted to the High Court of New Zealand in 1981. He has held various roles in the Office of the Ombudsman and the Parliamentary Counsel Office, including assistant ombudsman and senior investigating officer. He was also New Zealand’s deputy ombudsman from 2004 to 2016.
The new special counsel bolsters Chen Palmer Partners’ expertise with his leadership in the profession and his extensive experience in public and administrative law. He will focus on advising clients in dealing with central and local government and the wider state sector, the firm said.
His work will include counselling on matters related to the Ombudsmen Act, the Official Information Act, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, and the Protected Disclosures Act. He will also provide advice on education law and law reform, as well as guide District Health Board and local authorities, the firm said.
In addition to his practice, Donnelly is an advocate for diversity in the public sector. At Chen Palmer, he will advise private- and public-sector clients on managing the challenges and opportunities of a diverse society, the firm said.
He will be working as a principal advisor with the Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business. In this capacity, he will advise clients on diversity and inclusion strategies, delivering cultural intelligence training, and assisting in the study of the implications of superdiversity on workplace health and safety, as well as other areas of law and policy, Chen Palmer Partners said.