Top tier veteran of 32 years jumps to new ship

A leading New Zealand lawyer who stayed with one of the country’s biggest firms for 32 years and was a partner there for 24 years has just jumped over to a new firm

An independently recognised leading lawyer in New Zealand and veteran of Chapman Tripp has just been announced as the latest partner to join corporate and commercial firm Lowndes Associates.

Michael Anderson is an expert in banking and finance, securities, corporate recovery and insolvency law, and sharpened his teeth in the market during his 32-year career at Chapman Tripp, which included 24 years as partner.

He had joined the top tier straight out of university, and stumbled upon his areas of expertise thanks to the economic conditions in New Zealand at the time.

“I certainly didn’t leave university thinking I’d be a banking lawyer,” he told NZ Lawyer. “I started at the Chapman Tripp Wellington office in 1982, and got into banking and finance after the huge economic shake up in the New Zealand market post 1984.”

But his first years at the firm provided him with other learning experiences too, and Anderson fondly remembers being the butt of a cruel partner prank during a rotation to the litigation department.

It was around the time that Prince Charles and Princess Diana were to wed.

“They sent me to a woman who claimed to already be betrothed to Prince Charles and wanted legal advice about how to deal with [Diana],” he laughs. “She did a check of the walls beforehand to see if they were bugged…”

After learning much of the roots of his trade in the Capital City, Anderson made the move up to Auckland and arrived at the Chapman Tripp Auckland office on the morning of Black Monday.

He promptly had to turn his issuing skills into recovery skills.

Since then, he hasn’t looked back, and has been recognised as a leading lawyer by independent legal directories Chambers Global, Asia Pacific Legal 500, IFLR 1000, and PLC Which Lawyer? and advised on a wide range of restructuring and insolvency matters, including acting for the receivers on two of New Zealand’s largest receiverships.

After such an impressive term with Chapman Tripp, Anderson says he simply felt it was time to step on to the next rung of the career ladder.

“I think in these large partnerships you get to a stage where 32 years is a long time. With larger law firms your role is always to plan for succession and bring people through, and I’ve done that - it’s time to move on,” he says. “It’s the next progression on from being a partner in a large law firm.”

Lowndes was an attractive choice because it provides a structure that is "great" for those who are transitioning from a large firm and into something closer to solo practice, but that still has the backing a good brand name and good people, Anderson says.

Managing partner Mark Lowndes agrees. Previously, he told NZ Lawyer that the current “new law” view of the profession means many are leaving traditional constructs behind.
“We are all refugees from the very large law firms looking to get back to responsive service and advice from our senior and mid-level team,” he says.
Currently, Anderson is keeping a keen eye on the implications of the new Financial Markets Conduct Act
“There is a whole new disclosure regime and it’s quite a prescriptive one. How issuers and trustees respond to that will be interesting,” he says. “I have a particular interest in it because I’m a chair of a new start-up management fund company.”
The company, Forté Funds Management, launched in May and was established by former AMP fund manager John Phipps and company director David Mair.  
And if that doesn’t keep Anderson busy enough, when he’s not practising law he’s a passionate football fan and board member of New Zealand Football.
He’s also the deputy chairperson of the men’s U-20 FIFA World Cup, which will be held in New Zealand next year.
Anderson says he was happy with the result of this year’s FIFA World Cup, and Germany was a deserving overall winner.

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