I am currently a Solicitor in Webb Henderson’s Corporate and Finance team. Webb Henderson New Zealand (the firm has offices in both Auckland and Sydney) is a specialist corporate advisory firm with a focus on mergers and acquisitions, divestments and joint ventures, corporate governance, capital markets and general corporate advisory matters. In Sydney, the firm also specialises in Competition & Consumer law, Disputes / Litigation and Telecommunications and Media.
Since joining Webb Henderson as a graduate two years ago, I have been involved in a range of corporate matters and transactions, all of which have provided me with unique and invaluable learning opportunities. I have worked on M&A transactions (for both domestic and international clients and from both a buy-side and sell-side position), advised on a range of corporate governance matters (including for large NZX-listed companies), assisted with several initial public offerings and other capital markets work, and carried out extensive research on complex corporate and commercial matters.
The combination of the people and culture, paired with the incredibly high quality of work. Webb Henderson regularly acts on the top corporate transactions which has presented me with incredible learning opportunities and exposure right from the outset of my career. Being able to contribute in a meaningful way to this work has been a real highlight for me.
Prior to joining Webb Henderson, I summer clerked at a large Auckland firm, so I joined with something to compare the experience to. What stood out to me about Webb Henderson was the people – the working environment really is the most important aspect of a healthy and happy career. The team at Webb Henderson is supportive and close-knit and I always feel as though I can be myself. No one takes themselves too seriously which is great. I feel lucky to have met some very good friends at Webb Henderson and we all have a great deal of respect for one another.
Starting as a graduate during the pandemic was not easy – I had two weeks in the office before the first COVID-19 lockdown hit in 2020. Moving so quickly to a WFH environment felt isolating and I initially felt quite removed from my new work environment and colleagues. However, this didn’t last long – the team were very supportive and made this challenge much easier than it could have been – we had daily team calls, the juniors had regular virtual coffees, we had small group social catch-ups, and my partner called to check-in regularly.
As a junior still with a lot to learn, the COVID-19 working environment remains a difficult one to navigate – juggling between being in the office and WFH can be quite disruptive especially when it comes to asking questions and checking in with your colleagues. You just need to remember everyone is in the same boat and it does get easier!
The combination of a small team, top quality work and great people. As the only graduate in 2020 and one of only a few juniors generally, I have been exposed to a number of matters and learning opportunities right from the get-go. This is unique to juniors in boutique firms and a key reason I chose to join Webb Henderson. Further, working directly with colleagues at all levels, including partners, is something I have really valued. The ability to work directly with, and learn from, industry leaders is a fantastic opportunity.
I’ve had some great work experiences over the past two years including being part of the teams who advised Fonterra on its capital structure changes and Vulcan Steel on its initial public offering and ASX/NZX listing in 2021. I was also part-time seconded to Vulcan Steel during the IPO process which was an incredible experience for me. I have also really enjoyed the firm social events such as the Christmas parties (both staff and family events), Friday night drinks, firm anniversary celebrations and having my family invited to the firm to celebrate my admission.
Applying for jobs is an intimidating experience for everyone, however there is absolutely nothing to lose by putting yourself out there. Interviews and recruitment processes are great learning experiences in any event. The most important thing is to be yourself and enjoy yourself along the way! Webb Henderson looks for students with a positive can-do attitude.
Webb Henderson is a Trans-Tasman specialist law firm with offices in Auckland and Sydney.
The New Zealand office specialises in strategic legal advice for corporate and finance transactions, with significant experience in M & A, capital markets, banking / finance, and infrastructure matters. It also has expertise in TMT and competition law.
The 19 lawyer local team has been recognised as Boutique Law Firm of the Year for 2021 and previously from 2014 – 2018 at the New Zealand Law Awards.
Webb Henderson is a genuinely close team, where successes are celebrated, challenges are supported, learning, feedback and growth is constant, people are well rewarded and every individual makes a meaningful difference to the direction of the firm.
Clients and Work
The firm is proud to work with pre-eminent clients. If you join Webb Henderson, the egalitarian and collaborative team ethos means you will work closely with all partners and staff on:
- Major corporate transactions, such as acting for privately owned family businesses, private equity firms and corporates on their most significant transactions (across the full range of transaction sizes – from $15m to more than $1bn);
- Advising on a range of significant capital markets transactions, including IPOs and takeovers;
- Drafting and negotiating unique and sophisticated commercial contracts and agreements;
- Providing specialist advice on significant and complex corporate and governance issues; and
- Drafting and negotiating documents involved in significant infrastructure projects.
In New Zealand, five partners lead an experienced corporate and finance team, together with a specialist TMT partner.
The partners have attracted, and importantly retained, an outstanding team of lawyers at all levels. Lawyers have joined directly from law school, from other leading New Zealand firms or returned from major overseas firms to work at Webb Henderson. While people have diverse backgrounds and life experiences, they are strongly connected by shared values and aspirations, their drive and work ethic, their regard for one another and desire to genuinely enjoy working together.
The glue that binds Webb Henderson’s outstanding team, clients, and work is its distinctive values based culture. The partners are actively committed to creating a highly inclusive, increasingly diverse, engaged and rewarding work environment. This includes encouraging the team to live and work sustainably and well, by integrating their careers with the other things that are important to them – hobbies, health and wellbeing, family, learning/study, volunteering and other professional interests.
Examples of the culture in action include:
- Working flexibly (including pre-Covid) and taking time out after busy periods;
- Active, regular personal mentoring from partners and more experienced lawyers;
- Access to an external professional coach for team and individual sessions focussing on personal growth and soft skill development, along with access to external conferences;
- Quarterly career discussions and day-to-day development feedback;
- Provision of various types of support people may require to respond to life’s challenges from time to time;
- Social events to bring the team together to celebrate professional and personal successes;
- Team sessions to revisit the firm’s values, exchange feedback and continually shape the team culture;
- Firm wide training and development sessions and off-site retreats at which everyone from both offices comes together to learn and contribute to the firm’s strategy and goals;
- Regular insights to the “business of a law firm” with quarterly updates on the operational and financial performance of the firm so the team understands and is invested in the business and what makes individuals and the team successful; and
- Generous remuneration including contractual (rather than discretionary) bonuses, based on team and individual performance.
Environmental, Social and Governance
Webb Henderson recognises the responsibility and opportunity it has as an organisation, and is increasingly focussed on mitigating its impact on the environment, contributing to the positive evolution of the legal progression and proactively supporting a variety of socially responsible initiatives. Examples include:
- Becoming a Toitū Carbon Zero Certified Organisation;
- Being signatories to the NZLS Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy and extending the policy to apply to the engagement of all lawyers (as opposed to barristers only) which the firm regularly does as a specialist, rather than full service firm;
- The firm’s lawyers supporting a mentoring programme for University of Auckland law students with limited exposure to the legal industry;
- Providing a pathway for professional opportunities and mentoring for Maori and Pacific law students by participating in the TupuToa internship programme;
- Volunteering for Eat My Lunch, Ronald McDonald House, and for Variety – the Children’s Charity projects;
- Supporting a number of charitable appeals and events each year (Love Grace Handbag appeal, Te Wiki o te Reo Maori etc); and
- Undertaking a range of pro-bono legal engagements, where the firm’s experience and expertise can make a real difference.
If you are in your penultimate year, and you would like your career to be in corporate law, we welcome summer clerk applications from penultimate year law students who want to pursue a career in corporate law.
As you would expect, joining a high calibre team, your IQ, EQ, drive, work ethic, and interest in corporate law and business will be strong. Your values will also be aligned with those of the firm – your authenticity, integrity, commitment to excellence and innovation, generosity toward others, and modesty in relation to yourself, will ensure you thrive.
If you would like to discuss summer clerking, please telephone Victoria Fletcher on 021 300 982.
Alternatively if you are ready to apply, please email your cover letter, CV and academic transcript to firstname.lastname@example.org. Applications close on 28 March 2022.