Buddle Findlay's special counsel roster swells with eight new additions

The firm elevates lawyers across its offices in Auckland, Wellington, and Christchurch to the role

Buddle Findlay's special counsel roster swells with eight new additions
Lara Wood, Benjamin Sutton, Rebecca Green, Bassam Maghzal, Fiona Heiford, Damien Steel-Baker, Frances Wedde, Bridie McKinnon

Buddle Findlay has bolstered its roster of special counsel with eight new additions.

The firm elevated Lara Wood and Benjamin Sutton from Auckland; Rebecca Green and Bassam Maghzal from Christchurch; and Fiona Heiford, Damien Steel-Baker, Frances Wedde and Bridie McKinnon from Wellington to the position. The promotions took effect on 1 January.

Wood focuses on matters related to funds management and financial product design. She provides regulatory advice on issues involving financial services, products and markets.

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She has a wealth of experience in domestic and international banking, financial services and corporate transactions, having worked with a major bank in Australia. She counts financial institutions, regulators, financial service providers and fintech companies among her clients, and has advised names like Ernst & Young and ANZ.

A corporate and commercial law specialist, Sutton has worked on M&A, private equity and venture capital, joint ventures, restructuring, corporate governance, commercial contracting and cross-border transactions. He has handled issues in industries like FMCG, financial services, healthcare, agriculture and rural services, forestry and manufacturing.

He spent some time working in London with Charles Russell Speechlys prior to his tenure in Buddle Findlay. His experience covers company and limited partnership structuring, shareholder agreements, investment agreements, distribution agreements and research and development arrangements.

Green is a specialist in financial markets regulation. She has handled matters related to Financial Markets Conduct Act disclosure and compliance, consumer credit, financial adviser and financial service provider regulation, financial reporting, anti-money laundering obligations, privacy and general corporate compliance and governance.

She has assisted on and offshore banks, non-bank lenders and non-bank deposit takers, insurers, brokers, remittance providers and issuers of all FMCA financial products. She was part of the team that advised the Infratil and Brookfield consortium on the landmark $3.4bn acquisition of Vodafone NZ.

Maghzal concentrates his practice on infrastructure and construction projects in a variety of sectors, such as building (commercial and residential buildings, educational facilities, retail precincts and car parks), irrigation, ports, surgical facilities, bridges, wastewater, refuse collection and disposal and mining.

He has provided advice to universities and airports on building projects and contracts.

Heiford has over two decades of experience in tax law, and is experienced in matters involving the binding rulings regime and financial arrangements. She focuses on commercial transactions.

She recorded a stint with Inland Revenue before she joined Buddle Findlay.

Steel-Baker concentrates on commercial contracting and procurement matters, particularly TMT. He has taken on complex cases related to cloud computing, software implementation and licensing.

He has provided guidance to clients on information security and privacy, as well as on complying with public sector procurement and ICT obligations.

Wedde’s practice focuses on the Resource Management Act and Māori law. She has assisted Te Arawhiti (the Office for Māori Crown Relations) in Treaty settlement negotiations, and once worked with the central government on foreshore and seabed legislation.

She is also an expert in matters concerning consent on infrastructure projects. She has come before the Environment Court, the High Court, boards of inquiry and the Waitangi Tribunal, and has attended Council hearings on behalf of her clients. She has acted in Marine and Coastal Area (Takutai Moana) Act proceedings as well.

McKinnon is a litigator who has worked on contractual disputes, insolvency and credit recovery, insurance, securities enforcement, property law disputes, negligence and trust law matters. She has acted as sole and junior counsel in proceedings before the Court of Appeal, High Court and District Court. Her clients include the Reserve Bank of New Zealand.

“The promotions to special counsel is a significant milestone and achievement. We acknowledge that achievement and congratulate these individuals,” Buddle Findlay said.

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