Trio see future in Anderson Lloyd

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 27/07/2014
anderson lloyd

CHANGING FIRMS: New Auckland Anderson Lloyd partners David Holden, left, Chris Bargery and Geoff Busch, have left Russell McVeagh.

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One of the South Island's biggest law firms, Anderson Lloyd, wants to crack the large Auckland market and have taken on lawyers from rival Russell McVeagh to help take on new clients.

The entry into the competitive market will be led by three former partners of the high profile Russell McVeagh firm. The move will help Auckland link into Christchurch's quake rebuild, Anderson Lloyd says.

Those three partners, Geoff Busch, Chris Bargery and David Holden, have been joined by other more junior lawyers from Russell McVeagh, taking the total to leave that firm to nine.

Dunedin-based Anderson Lloyd chief executive Richard Greenaway said the three partners, backed by their teams, wanted a new challenge and had left Russell McVeagh on an "accepting" basis.

The firms continued with a good relationship and there could well be legal work referred between the two, as was common within the legal fraternity, Greenaway said.

Russell McVeagh chief executive Gary McDiarmid agreed the change was on friendly terms and that the three left with his firm's best wishes.

In an average year about 50 quality lawyers both left and joined Russell McVeagh to keep Wellington and Auckland total staff numbers at around 400, McDiarmid said.

Greenaway said the Auckland Anderson Lloyd office in High St would open on Monday and could in a couple of years have 25 staff.

Busch, Bargery and Holden had been attracted with the help of an intermediary consultant, a former managing partner from an Auckland law firm.

The three brought complementary, specialist knowledge to the firm in banking and finance, corporate, mergers and acquisitions and infrastructure projects, he said.

"This added horsepower will be valuable to many of our South Island clients, in particular commercial clients and those involved with very large projects in the Christchurch rebuild space."

Anderson Lloyd, with its Dunedin origins dating back to 1862, was established in Christchurch about 20 years ago, before that in Queenstown 30 years ago. In both expansions the firm was helped by existing client relationships.

While not on the scale of New Zealand's three largest firms, Russell McVeagh, Chapman Tripp and Bell Gully, it had 130 staff and partners had a say in the running of the legal operation, Greenaway said.

New Auckland partner Geoff Busch said the trio were attracted to Anderson Lloyd because of the way the firm operated co-operatively, forming expert teams for each project.

"Our clients will get the best of both worlds - the efficiency and attention of a smart boutique backed by the horsepower of a large national firm," Busch said.

Auckland District Law Society Incorporated Inc vice president Joanna Pidgeon said making lateral hires as Anderson Lloyd had done with the new employees was the best way to expand into a new market.

It gave the "quality" firm an existing client base and network.

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