Corporate Lawyer, MinterEllisonRuddWatts
“We have been involved in some of New Zealand’s most high profile deals, projects, and cases. It is always a great feeling to see something in the media and know that you contributed to it.”
I work in the firm’s Corporate team and have primarily been involved in advising on M&A transactions. This, very generally, has involved helping clients with all of the legal aspects of buying or selling businesses. I have also assisted with more general corporate law matters, including drafting memos of advice and advising international clients on entering the New Zealand market.
There is a constant stream of high quality (and often high profile) work, and everyone around the firm is incredibly smart and good at what they do. Combined, this is conducive to a great learning environment where every day you are encouraged to grow and become a better lawyer.
The shift from the relatively relaxed life of a university student to a full-time worker was a challenge for me. Working a full day was mentally quite exhausting at first, but you quickly adjust. Additionally, the practice of law is vastly different to university (especially in a transactional team like Corporate), so new skills need to be learned. Thankfully, MinterEllisonRuddWatts has a great graduate development programme with countless sessions aimed at helping the transition from graduate to legal professional. Many sessions are hosted by senior lawyers who are very open to sharing their war stories and tips for success.
The people. I genuinely enjoy spending time with the people that I work with. There is no Minters ‘type’ – everyone is unique and brings their own perspective to the table. This makes for a vibrant and welcoming workplace where it is very easy to be yourself.
We are also the only top tier firm in New Zealand with an international presence, with sister offices throughout the Asia-Pacific region. We work with our overseas colleagues regularly, providing the opportunity to get involved in multi-jurisdictional work that is often larger and more complex than the work available in New Zealand alone.
The firm’s social club does a great job of keeping our calendars full of events to look forward to. Amongst other things, they organise a monthly lunch, an annual firm trip to Waiheke, a mid-year ball and the end of year Christmas party. There are also numerous team-specific events to attend. My team are great at organising celebrations for important milestones (like a big deal closing, or when I got admitted to the bar). If you’re sporty, there are social sports teams you can join. I’ve played for our indoor netball team, which was a great way to get some cardio in and meet some new people.
I am constantly amazed at the quality of work. We have been involved in some of New Zealand’s most high profile deals, projects, and cases. It is always a great feeling to see something in the media and know that you contributed to it. I have also been surprised at how much of an effort everyone makes to get to know you as a person and invest in your learning. People are very open to taking time out of their day to answer your questions, give you constructive feedback, or even just grab a coffee and chat about your weekend.
My favourite work-related experience has been working on a particular deal where I was the sole junior involved, resulting in quite a lot of autonomy and trust being placed in me to get things done. This involved liaising with the client, various people from around the firm, and the other side’s lawyers. While this was a daunting experience at times, I learned a lot in a very short amount of time and am grateful to have been given this opportunity so early in my career.
Another experience I enjoyed was having the chance to get involved in our ‘Homework Help Club’, where I was able to take time off work to go to a low decile primary school and help students with their homework after school. This was a very rewarding experience and is just one example of the great community initiatives our firm is involved in.
Attend events where you get to meet our people, as this is your best opportunity to get a sense of what the culture is like. When it comes to the application process, tailor your cover letter and CV to show you have done your research, and that you understand the skills needed to be a lawyer (and show how you possess these skills). Finally, be yourself throughout the process. As I said earlier, there is no MinterEllisonRuddWatts ‘type’, so don’t try to be someone you are not just because you think that is what the firm would be looking for.
“We are proud of our industry-leading approach to encouraging greater diversity, and actively promote a healthy work/life balance – including mentoring, time management advice, nutrition and stress management, as well as a winter wellbeing allowance.”
About the firm
MinterEllisonRuddWatts is a leading full-service commercial law firm with offices in Auckland and Wellington. We are a New Zealand owned and operated partnership with 49 partners and almost 200 legal staff. Our firm’s rich heritage, dating back more than 130 years, is a robust foundation on which we have established a strong market reputation.
As a member of the MinterEllison Legal Group, MinterEllisonRuddWatts is part of one of the largest legal groups in the Asia-Pacific region having more than 200 partners and 900 legal staff worldwide, with offices in Australia, Hong Kong, mainland China, Mongolia and the United Kingdom.
Highlights from 2020 for the firm include:
- named New Zealand Law Firm of the Year at the Chambers Asia Pacific Awards recognising the firm’s notable achievements, outstanding work, impressive strategic growth and excellence in client service;
- named New Zealand Firm of the Year for Gender Diversity for the fourth year in a row for our leadership towards greater gender diversity and gender initiatives in the legal profession at the Euromoney Legal Media Group Asia Women in Business Law Awards;
- awarded New Zealand Deal Firm of the Year at the Australasian Law Awards for our work on some of the country’s most significant and iconic deals;
- the sale of McCarthyFinch to Onit, a leading international provider of enterprise workflow solutions. McCarthyFinch, a New Zealand legal tech AI start up, was co-founded by the firm in 2017 following our decision to explore AI for the legal profession, and was a first of its kind in New Zealand;
- named as a top workplace in the NZ Lawyer Employer of Choice list recognising the firm as leading the way with policies, programmes and initiatives;
- recognised as one of the country’s most innovative firms in the NZ Lawyer Innovative Firms Report that showcases New Zealand law firms at the forefront of change and innovation; and
- the Auckland office’s move into a new purpose-built work space in the PwC Tower at Commercial Bay.
MinterEllisonRuddWatts works with a full range of clients – predominantly large corporates, banks, government entities and substantial privately-owned businesses – on some of New Zealand’s most complex and technically challenging deals and cases. The firm also leads on numerous trans-Tasman transactions through its affiliation with the MinterEllison Legal Group.
We are proud of our industry-leading approach to encouraging greater diversity, and actively promote a healthy work/life balance – including mentoring, time management advice, nutrition and stress management, as well as a winter wellbeing allowance!
Through our integrated international connections, we offer secondment opportunities across the global network. When staff head off on their OE, we also connect them with networks and opportunities overseas.
Opportunities for Students
As a student, there are three ways you can pursue a career with MinterEllisonRuddWatts: as an intern, a summer clerk or a graduate.
We offer an Intern Programme for Auckland-based students in their penultimate year of study. Successful students spend one day a week on paid work experience at the firm during the academic year. This leads into a summer clerkship at the end of the intern programme.
Our Summer Clerk programme runs from mid-November to mid-February each year. Applications open on 11 March 2021 and close on 29 March 2021. Generally, applications are from law students in their penultimate year of law school, although some apply a year earlier. The firm does not take a fixed number, but usually employs between 15 and 20 summer clerks each year.
We also employ new graduates, however the summer clerk programme is our main source of graduate recruits. Graduate level candidates are encouraged to apply during the summer clerk recruitment round in March each year.
Find out more about our work opportunities at graduates.minterellison.co.nz
Location: Auckland, Wellington
Areas of Expertise: Full-service law firm with particular expertise in Banking and Financial Services, Corporate, Real Estate, Construction, Dispute Resolution and Insolvency.
Staff: 49 partners, and 280 total staff
Contact: Vanessa Syme (HR Manager) email@example.com PO Box 105 249, Auckland City 1143. PwC Tower, 15 Customs St West, Auckland 1010