Where do you work now?
I am currently a solicitor at Fee Langstone, a leading insurance litigation law firm.
What career steps have you taken to get to this point?
I initially completed a Bachelor of Commerce, majoring in marketing and management. I then went on to complete a Bachelor of Laws (Hons). In April 2021, I started my first legal role as a law clerk in the dispute resolution team of an employment relations firm. This sparked my interest in litigation and dispute resolution and led me to apply at Fee Langstone for a graduate solicitor role. My goal was to work across a range of disputes and build skills that would lay the foundations for my career as a litigator.
What kind of work have you been involved with at Fee Langstone?
I have been involved in a wide range of disputes, including claims relating to negligence, construction, contractual issues, professional misconduct, regulatory investigations, and corporate governance.
As a junior solicitor, I am a vital member of the team. I am involved in files throughout the dispute resolution process. This could include assisting seniors in drafting advice letters, response letters, or court documents. I also conduct extensive research on complex areas of law and how they apply in different factual scenarios.
In addition, I contribute to firm newsletters, where I draft articles on developing legal issues or interesting cases the firm has assisted on.
What do you enjoy about working at Fee Langstone?
Fee Langstone provides a supportive environment where you can grow and develop as a legal professional. I am involved in high-quality work and engage in meaningful tasks. On top of this, every day at Fee Langstone presents a different challenge. We are constantly working on new matters that requiring in-depth legal analysis; it makes my professional life very engaging!
Besides the great work you are involved in, I think the people at Fee Langstone set it apart as a law firm. The team is there to help. They understand how daunting life can be as a graduate and take steps to ensure you are comfortable. I always feel confident asking my seniors questions as I know the response will always be constructive. The team’s culture is inclusive, and it’s great to see people from all walks of life being accepted and celebrated for who they are.
What has been the most challenging part of working at Fee Langstone?
Of course, working on high-profile cases is exciting, but it comes with some added pressure. You need to be up for the task and focus on providing high-quality work to your seniors. Fee Langstone has an excellent reputation in the legal sector, and once you become part of the team, that expectation of excellence also applies to you. However, you should remember that no one expects you to be perfect. You are allowed to make mistakes; it’s all part of the learning process.
What is unique about working at Fee Langstone?
The firm has all the resources and perks of working in a large firm without many drawbacks. We have great databases and tools that assist you in completing tasks competently. However, we also have access to partners and senior staff members who are always willing to help. This one-on-one mentorship from partners is invaluable and may be harder to achieve in a large firm.
What is the social life like at Fee Langstone?
The social life at Fee Langstone is great! We have many events throughout the year, such as midyear parties, Christmas events, client functions, and in 2022 we were taken on a solicitors retreat to the Castaways resort!
Did anything surprise you while working at Fee Langstone?
One thing that took me by surprise was the responsibility given to juniors. We have all heard the stories in law school where juniors just “come along for the ride”. However, at Fee Langstone the team push for you to be involved in matters. Your work and efforts are always appreciated.
What has been your favourite experience at Fee Langstone?
My favourite experience was when I sat in a court hearing for one of our matters. I was lucky enough to attend the day when one of our partners, Virginia Wethey, was cross-examining a witness. It was a great experience, and the intensity of the courtroom got the adrenaline running! It reminded me exactly why I decided to pursue a career in law.
What is your advice to other students who would like to work with Fee Langstone?
My advice to law students is to research the firm and industry before applying. Find what the wonderful world of insurance litigation is about and discuss that in your cover letter.
If you have the opportunity to come in for an interview, I would suggest to be yourself. This way, the firm can assess whether your personality is a good fit here, and, you will be able to determine whether the firm, culture and opportunity is for you.
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 of 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
Insurance litigation matters.