Where do you work now?
I am a fourth-year solicitor at Fee Langstone and work at our firm’s main office in Auckland. We also have a Christchurch office as this city is significant to the insurance industry and is where some of our work stems from.
What career steps have you taken to get to this point?
Prior to joining Fee Langstone, I gained commercial dispute resolution experience at a specialist litigation firm. I worked at that firm part-time while studying. This provided an excellent steppingstone into full-time legal work and is where I developed a lot of core litigation skills.
What kind of work have you been involved with at Fee Langstone?
I have worked on a broad range of insurance litigation matters with a particular focus on professional indemnity and directors’ & officers’ liability. I have additionally acted on litigation involving regulatory compliance and construction disputes.
What do you enjoy about working at Fee Langstone?
Fee Langstone has a lot on offer for junior lawyers. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to work alongside some of the best lawyers in the industry. Our firm is headed by industry award-winning partners, who have a wealth of knowledge to pass on to our solicitors. The legal disputes we deal with at Fee Langstone are wide-ranging, meaning you get a taste for different areas of the law, which can be helpful in deciding which direction you want to take your legal career. In my first few years I have worked on numerous matters over the full litigation spectrum, with several matters going to mediation or to trial. I am usually given a lot of autonomy over my work, and receive ample guidance from the seniors and partners I work with. I have formed close bonds with my colleagues, and really enjoy the people at our firm.
What has been the most challenging part of working at Fee Langstone?
Adjusting to fulltime legal work can certainly be challenging. There is a steep learning curve when starting out, as well as learning how to best manage your time and competing demands. I was fortunate to have much support from the partners at Fee Langstone during my first couple of years. Particularly with my professional studies, teaching me core legal skills and professional practice, and ensuring I maintained a healthy work-life balance.
What is unique about working at Fee Langstone?
The best part about working at Fee Langstone is that the firm is pet-friendly – some of our beloved pets are featured in a recent Christmas video of ours.
What is the social life like at Fee Langstone?
The team at Fee Langstone get involved in plenty of social events. In addition to the standard Friday night drinks and Christmas party, each year we participate in events such as the State of Insurance touch rugby event, the Corporate Challenge, various industry networking events, and of course we have our own client function which is a blast. We generally celebrate significant wins by getting lunch or dinner with our clients, which can also provide a great networking opportunity.
What has been your favourite experience at Fee Langstone?
One of my favourite experiences to date at Fee Langstone was working on a pro bono matter. The dispute not only presented interesting legal issues, which I enjoyed working through and resolving, but it was also a great opportunity to give back to the community. This was also my first solo appearance, which was of course a special moment.
What is your advice to other students who would like to work with Fee Langstone?
While Fee Langstone is an insurance litigation firm, this doesn’t mean you need to be an insurance expert, or have even taken insurance law at university to join the firm. An ideal applicant would be someone who is passionate about litigation and has an eye for detail along with a strong work ethic. Should you get an interview with Fee Langstone, don’t be shy – the team here are down to earth people, and would love to hear about you and your interests.
About the firm
Fee Langstone is a specialist insurance and commercial litigation practice consisting of seven partners and approximately thirty staff. We act for most of the country’s major insurers and many overseas insurers.
As insurance lawyers we provide advice on insurance generally: policy interpretation, drafting policy wordings, acting for insurers in insurance disputes and so forth. However, a significant part of our practice is commercial litigation. In this regard, we are engaged by our insurer clients to act for their insured customers – usually professionals or companies – who are involved in civil disputes or professional disciplinary matters. These types of claims can be against lawyers, accountants, construction professionals, financial advisors, and other professionals. We also act for insured entities who are being investigated or prosecuted under various statutory bodies such as Worksafe, the Commerce Commission, and the Resource Management Act.
The lawyers at Fee Langstone have acted in some of New Zealand’s most complex cases. Our lawyers regularly attend Court, mediation, and other dispute resolution forums.
As litigation and dispute resolution lawyers, we are pragmatic, and resolution focussed. Our aim is to cut through the complexity and get to commercial clarity as quickly and cost effectively as possible.
We are ranked in The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific as a Tier 1 firm for Insurance and Tier 3 for Dispute Resolution. All our partners are recommended lawyers in the Legal 500, with Philippa Fee and Craig Langstone both being recognised in the Hall of Fame and Pauline Davies and Cecily Brick named as leading individuals. In Chambers Asia-Pacific we are ranked in Band 1 for Insurance.
Working at the firm
At Fee Langstone our solicitors enjoy the challenge and complexity of the type of high-end work that they might expert at one of the big firms. However, the firm’s smaller size provides a supportive environment with a strong focus on training and development, and staff well-being.
As an essential part of our team, you’ll work closely with many of the best lawyers in the industry, growing your knowledge and litigation skills. You’ll be involved in a wide range of matters, from claims relating to negligence, contractual issues, professional misconduct, to corporate governance and regulatory investigations.
Our insurance clients depend on us to provide timely, pragmatic advice, often regarding highly complex matters. The broad nature of insurance litigation means you’ll be involved in the resolution of claims with wide ranging factual scenarios and various methods of resolution including negotiation, mediation and court.
Fee Langstone has recently signed up to Diversity Works NZ and is proud of its inclusive culture, in which everyone is supported to reach their full potential. We are working towards obtaining the Rainbow Tick accreditation and have signed up to the NZLS Gender Equality Charter. There are opportunities for you to become involved in our Diversity, Charity, and Sustainability Committees, and to be involved in many social events.
Opportunities for students
Every year Fee Langstone welcomes law students from across New Zealand who are interested in insurance litigation to apply for graduate positions.
Location: Auckland. Satellite office in Christchurch.
Areas of expertise: Insurance, Dispute Resolution, Corporate and Commercial litigation, Maritime & Transportation, Construction Disputes, Professional Indemnity, Statutory Investigations
Staff: 7 partners, 3 special counsels
Contact: Kate Murray, General Manager, email@example.com
Disputes and resolution process.