Ex-ombudsman ascends to Chen Palmer partnership

A former health and disability commissioner also joins the firm as special counsel

Ex-ombudsman ascends to Chen Palmer partnership
Leo Donnelly

Ex-ombudsman Leo Donnelly is set to ascend to the partnership at Chen Palmer.

Donnelly specialises in matters involving the Ombudsmen Act, the Official Information Act, the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act, the Protected Disclosures Act and the Privacy Act, among others. He has acted for a wide range of clients, including corporations and businesses, government agencies, statutory bodies, local government, education providers, employers and unions.

He also provides advice to tertiary educational institutions on engaging with the New Zealand Qualifications Authority and Tertiary Education Commission, handling reviews and investigations by regulatory agencies and ensuring that TEOs undergo a fair and just process.

Prior to his tenure at Chen Palmer, Donnelly held various roles at the Office of the Ombudsman. He served as ombudsman for a two-year term (2016-2018) and was deputy ombudsman for more than a decade. He also acted as assistant ombudsman, senior investigating officer and investigating officer.

He joined Chen Palmer as a special counsel in July 2018, and was promoted to principal a year later. Presently, he heads the firm’s education team alongside Marina Matthews, and is a principal advisor with the Superdiversity Centre for Law, Policy and Business.

Donnelly will officially become a partner effective 1 February.

Anthony HillMeanwhile, Chen Palmer has also welcomed to its special counsel ranks Anthony Hill (pictured left), who has spent the past decade serving as health and disability commissioner. Like Donnelly, he steps into the role on 1 February.

He recorded a term as deputy director-general of health, managing aspects of the New Zealand health and disability system including its funding and performance. He also served as the Ministry of Health’s chief legal counsel, and was a solicitor with the Ministry of Commerce.

Earlier in his career, Hill was also a private practitioner.

“Leo and Anthony strengthen the firm's depth of expertise in public and administrative law, health law, Information law, regulatory law, investigations and reviews, and Te Tiriti o Waitangi expertise,” Chen Palmer said.

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