History

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is one of New Zealand’s most established law firms. We are proud of our heritage dating back over 130 years.

We are part of the MinterEllison Legal Group, one of the largest legal groups across Australia and New Zealand and amongst the largest in the world, employing 1,700 people in 15 offices across five countries. Our global reach includes New Zealand, Australia, Asia, and the United Kingdom.

Our firm is a local and trusted advisor with offices in Auckland and Wellington. We are proud of our people, past and present, and their contribution to the community and New Zealand:

  • The Governor-General of New Zealand – Rt Hon Dame Patsy Reddy
  • President of the Court of Appeal (former) – Sir Ivor Richardson
  • High Court of New Zealand Judges – Justices Allan and Keane (now retired), Dobson, Thomas and MacKenzie
  • Inaugural Chairman of the Securities Commission (former) – Colin Patterson
  • Non-executive director of the Treasury – Cathy Quinn
  • Member of the Takeovers Panel – Silvana Schenone
  • Member of the Electricity Authority – Mark Sandelin
  • Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade (former) – John Allen
  • District Court Judges – Burnett and Crosby
  • Judical Conduct Commissioner – Sir David Gascoigne

Here is a snapshot of our journey so far. We invite you to join us.

2017

Named New Zealand Law Firm of the Year at the 2017 Chambers Asia-Pacific Awards.

Our firm enters into a joint venture with Goat Ventures to explore, and capitalise on, the application of artificial intelligence for legal services.

Partner Lloyd Kavanagh appointed to the role of Chair, following Cathy Quinn’s decision not to seek reappointment. Cathy Quinn continues in partnership with the firm, heading our M&A and China practices.

Mark Sandelin appointed to the Electricity Authority.

The firm achieves seven new rankings in the Chambers Asia-Pacific legal directory, with 36 senior lawyers ranked overall.

2016

Alumni Dame Patsy Reddy sworn in as the 21st Governor-General of New Zealand.

Chair Cathy Quinn recognised in the Queen's 90th Birthday Honours list as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM).

Chair Cathy Quinn appointed Non-Executive Director to the Board of the New Zealand Treasury.

The firm appoints Mike Schubert to the role of CEO.

Partner Stacey Shortall receives the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Award.

Partner Silvana Schenone announced as a member of the Takeovers Panel.

The firm is Highly Commended in the empowerment category at the Diversity NZ Awards.

2015

Partner Stacey Shortall named LawFuel’s Lawyer of the Year.

Partner Stacey Shortall wins Community & Not-For-Profit category at the Women of Influence Awards.

Partner John McCay appointed to the New Zealand Film Commission Board.

2014

MinterEllisonRuddWatts celebrates a significant milestone, marking 30 years since the joining of three great firms creating Rudd Watts & Stone and the beginning of our relationship with the MinterEllison Legal Group.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is selected by an independent judging panel as winner of the Business $20M-$100M Turnover Award in the AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards. Additionally, the firm wins the Supreme Award across all 11 award categories and 34 finalists.

2013

MinterEllisonRuddWatts wins Large Law Firm of the Year for the second year running at the New Zealand Law Awards, as well as taking out Community Service Law Firm of the Year.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts wins Best New Zealand Firm in the Euromoney Australasia Women in Business Law Awards for the second year in a row.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts reappoints Partner Cathy Quinn to the role of Chair.

Partner Lloyd Kavanagh is made a fellow of the Institute of Financial Professionals Inc. (INFINZ)

2012

MinterEllisonRuddWatts is recognised for diversity by winning Best New Zealand Firm in the Euromoney Women in Business Law Awards for both Australasia and overall Asia, followed by winning Best New Zealand Firm for the ALBERT Leadership in Diversity Awards.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts wins Large Law Firm of the Year at the 8th annual New Zealand Law Awards.

Sarah Sinclair is made a Board member of the New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development.

2011

MinterEllisonRuddWatts forms alliance with Christchurch law firm Lane Neave to leverage the strengths of each firm to better service clients in the reconstruction of Christchurch after the 2011 earthquakes.

2010

MinterEllisonRuddWatts named joint winner of the New Zealand Deal of the Year at the annual ALB Australasian Law Awards, for the 2009 Fisher & Paykel Appliances recapitalisation. The firm was also recognised as joint winner  of the Insolvency & Restructuring Deal of the Year for the ABC Learning Centres receivership deal.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts Chair and partner, Cathy Quinn, named 2010 winner of the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award.  The Award pays tribute to female achievers in business and industry around the globe, with criteria including corporate social responsibility, entrepreneurial drive, leadership skills and the ability to motivate and inspire others.

2009

MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ former partner, John Allen, appointed to the position of Chief Executive and Secretary of Foreign Affairs and Trade. John Allen takes up the appointment on 20 July 2009.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts appoints partner Cathy Quinn to the role of Chair, replacing David Patterson. David Patterson continues in partnership with the firm.

2008

MinterEllisonRuddWatts appoints Mark Weenink to the role of Managing Partner, replacing CEO Russell Hay.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts becomes the first major New Zealand law firm to create a Latin American practice group to serve the increasing number of New Zealand businesses conducting business in Latin America.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts named inaugural New Zealand Territorial Forces Employer Support Council (TFESC) Employer of the Year.

2007

MinterEllison wins Law Firm of the Year Award at the 4th annual Australia and New Zealand Insurance Industry Awards.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts forms strategic partnership with business growth centre, The ICEHOUSE (International Centre for Entrepreneurship) as part of our long term commitment to the development and growth of New Zealand business.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts partner Cathy Quinn named a  ‘Hot 40’ lawyer for Australasia in the “The Dealmakers” category in Australasian Legal Business (ALB) magazine.

2006

MinterEllisonRuddWatts wins International Law Office Client Choice Award (New Zealand).

2005

MinterEllisonRuddWatts moves to offices in Auckland’s new Lumley Tower on Shortland Street.

2004

MinterEllisonRuddWatts celebrates 20 years as legal advisors to the New Zealand International Arts Festival. Our support continues today with partner John McCay and consultant David Gasgoine in the role as Festival Foundation Trustees.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts appoints Russell Hay to the role of CEO.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts partner, Chris Allan, appointed as a Judge of the High Court.  A proud moment for our firm and a celebration of over 40 years of an esteemed legal career with us.

MinterEllisonRuddWatts appoints partner David Patterson to the role of Chair.

2003

John Brownlow Horrocks, one of the founding partners of Rudd Watts & Stone passes away at age 83.

Awarded ‘Special Merit ‘ in The National Business Review Awards for Sponsorship of the Arts, acknowledging creativity, commitment and vision in partnerships between business and the arts.

2001

Rudd Watts & Stone became MinterEllisonRuddWatts on 1 September, with a celebration at the National Portrait Gallery.

The name change reinforces the firm’s international profile and recognised the fifteen year partnership between Rudd Watts & Stone and the MinterEllison Legal Group.

The firm remains a partnership owned and operated business in New Zealand with strong trans-Tasman and Asia Pacific connections.

Awarded ‘Finalist ‘ in The National Business Review Awards for Sponsorship of the Arts.

2000

Awarded the ‘Creative New Zealand Award’ in The National Business Review Awards for Sponsorship of the Arts in acknowlegement of courageous sponsorship concerning the creating of a new work and the most inspirational new arts and our business partnership with the Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra.

1986

The Auckland office moves to BNZ Tower at 125 Queen Street, Auckland.

1984

The firm becomes Rudd Watts & Stone formed by a merger of Rudd Garland Horrocks Stewart Johnston in Auckland, Stone & Co and Watts & Patterson in  Wellington, creating the first of New Zealand’s ‘mega-firms’ with a significant presence in both Auckland and Wellington.

Rudd Watts & Stone forms an association with the MinterEllison Legal Group in support of the growing economic relationship with Australia and to enhance the firm’s international profile.

1982

Rudd Garland & Horrocks and Stewart Johnston Campbell Drummond & Co amalgamate their practices on 1st July. The new firm is named Rudd Garland Horrocks Stewart Johnston.

1981

Rudd Garland & Horrocks moves to Quay Tower, Corner Customs Street West and Lower Albert Street, Auckland on 2nd February.

1976

The Hon Justice Dobson becomes a partner in Stone & Co until 1990 when he is appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1998 and returns to the Bar. He was president of the New Zealand Bar Association from 2002-2004 and appointed a High Court Judge in 2007.

1974

Jack Garland (of the former Rudd Garland & Horrocks) passes away.

1973

Laurie Rudd (of the former Rudd Garland & Horrocks) passes away.

1971

Justice Alan MacKenzie becomes a partner of Stone & Co and continued as partner when the firm becomes Rudd Watts & Stone in 1984, 13 years later.

1970

Jack Watts, founding partner of Watts and Patterson, one of the founding firms of Rudd Watts & Stone circa 1960, passes away. He was an MP in the 1950s and served as Minister of Finance in the Holland and Holyoake governments.

Justice Chris Allan becomes a partner of Rudd Garland & Horrocks and continued as partner when the firm became Rudd Watts & Stone in 1984.

Stone and Co formed by Kempthorne Stone.

1963

Justice Christopher Allan joins Rudd Garland & Horrocks.

1960

Watts and Patterson, one of the founding firms of Rudd Watts & Stone formed in Wellington by Jack Watts and Colin Patterson.

Pamela Mitchell (one of the first women lawyers in New Zealand, having started as a Law Clerk in 1942) becomes a partner in Rudd Garland & Horrocks. Pamela Mitchell passed away in 1985, still in Partnership with Rudd Watts & Stone.  The firm library carries her name and continues her tradition with a high percentage of female partners including our Chair, Cathy Quinn.

1948

Rudd & Garland takes John Horrocks into partnership and becomes Rudd, Garland & Horrocks.

1944

John Horrocks wins the Military Cross near Casale, Italy, while serving as a Captain with the Royal New Zealand Artillery. After the war he becomes Commanding Officer of the 9th Coast Regiment and served as Aide-de-Camp to Governor-General Sir Willoughby Norrie. On his return to New Zealand, Horrocks establishes his talent as a lawyer, serving as a partner with Rudd Garland & Horrocks and succeeding practices for 40 years.

1938

Rudd & Garland formed by Jack Garland and Laurie Rudd.

From 1939-1946 Laurie Rudd serves overseas in the New Zealand Forces. For his overall wartime services he is awarded DSO (Distingished Service Order) for leadership and OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire), and attains rank of Colonel.

1880

Mr Stewart forms the practice that will become Stewart Johnston Campbell Drummond & Co with a proud history dating back to the 1880’s, and which influenced early New Zealand history.

Co-founder J B Johnston was a leading Auckland lawyer in the business and commercial area for many years in the 1920’s to 1960’s.

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