Sophie Braggins

Sophie Braggins

Chief Executive Officer
Govett Quilliam

Sophie Braggins

Chief Executive Officer
Govett Quilliam

Sophie comes from a strategic business and people background, with experience in human resource management and organisational change in the United Arab Emirates, people and marketing at TVNZ, and as Managing Director of an accounting and business strategy firm. 

She holds senior governance roles including Chair of the Taranaki Chamber of Commerce and Trustee for Taranaki Women’s Refuge.

Sophie's current role is CEO of the largest specialist law firm in Taranaki, Govett Quilliam.  She has a focus on the strategic vision and capability of the firm and is responsible for implementing progressive and innovative strategies. 

Outside of the office she likes to travel with her husband and two children and enjoys the disciplines of ocean swimming, boxing and running.  

Sophie is a strong advocate for inspiring and engaging with people to ensure innovation becomes a cultural mind-set.

Craig Columbus

Craig Columbus

Chief Information Officer
Russell McVeagh

Craig Columbus

Chief Information Officer
Russell McVeagh

Craig Columbus, currently CIO at Russell McVeagh, is a security researcher, company director and digital strategist, with years of international business experience.  Named to the NZ CIO 100 in 2017 and 2018 and a member of the NZTech Tech Leaders Executive, Craig and is actively involved in the New Zealand technology community, contributing as an author, trainer, public speaker, and industry advisor.  Craig is passionate about using technology in positive ways to build strong companies and a stronger society.  Craig's areas of specialty include corporate strategy, digital enablement, privacy, cybersecurity, and artificial intelligence.

Sasha Daniels

Sasha Daniels

Lead Legal Business Partner of Technology, Competition and Regulation
Spark New Zealand

Sasha Daniels

Lead Legal Business Partner of Technology, Competition and Regulation
Spark New Zealand

Lead legal business partner at Spark New Zealand. A direct report to the Spark (executive) General Counsel, I lead the team of lawyers who  advise on technology, value management, property, competition and regulation.  I advise on deals with major national and international suppliers of network assets and services, software and hardware and mobile handsets, as well as a number of joint ventures, M&A and regulatory processes. Previously led Spark’s competition and regulatory practice.   

Commenced my legal career at top tier South African Law firms Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyer (part of DLA) and ENS Africa where I built a corporate and commercial + competition and regulatory practice focused on technology clients.  

Also worked as IT project manager and business analyst prior to law.  

Recognition:  

  • Global Competition Review – named among the world’s leading in-house competition counsel 2018;  
  • NZ Law Awards - In-house Lawyer of the year 2017; 
  • Asia Pacific Counsel Awards - Competition Individual of the year at the 2017;  
  • GC Powerlist Australia New Zealand Teams – named individual;  
  • ILANZ - In-house Team of the Year 2017.     

Qualifications – LLB/LLM (1st class hons)  
Admitted - New Zealand and South Africa 

 

Gretchen-Fraser

Gretchen Fraser

Senior Associate
KensingtonSwan

Gretchen Fraser

Senior Associate
KensingtonSwan

Gretchen is a senior associate in our corporate and commercial team. She has a broad business background, having worked both in private practice and in-house across a variety of industries, particularly in the technology and telecoms sectors. 

As well as providing general commercial and regulatory advice, Gretchen has experience drafting, negotiating and advising on a wide range of commercial contracts such as technology supply and support, commercialisation of technology, master services agreements, distribution and reseller agreements, software licences, professional services agreements, SLAs, sponsorships, RFPs, software as a service, outsourcing and NDAs.  

She has extensive experience in creating user-friendly contractual templates for clients, and takes a pragmatic approach to her advice. 

Gretchen has worked at leading law firms, both in New Zealand and internationally, and also has entrepreneurial experience running her own businesses outside of the legal industry. 

William Fussey

William Fussey

Barrister
Catherine Stewart Barrister

William Fussey

Barrister
Catherine Stewart Barrister

William is an employment lawyer for Catherine Stewart Barrister and is a keen and committed advocate for clients. He has previously worked for a top tier firm as an employment, health and safety and privacy lawyer. He holds a Master’s degree in law, specialising in privacy.  

William is interested in the privacy and employment law implications of the increasing prevalence of digital technology. He is experienced in advising on complex matters of workplace compliance (including Holidays Act issues), personal grievances such as unjustified dismissal and disadvantage, employment agreements, disciplinary matters and employee restructures, as well as issues relating to health and safety and privacy.  

William is also on the New Zealand Law Society Change Taskforce which is a Committee established by the Law Society to drive and guide systems and culture change within the legal community. 

 

Simon Lapthorne

Partner
Kiely Thompson Caisley

Simon Lapthorne

Partner
Kiely Thompson Caisley

Simon began working at the firm in 2015 and joined the partnership in May 2017. 

Simon has particular expertise in employee relations and dispute resolution, disciplinary investigations, performance management, restructuring and redundancies, restraints of trade and confidentiality. He also has significant litigation experience, including health and safety prosecutions. 

Simon heads the firm's immigration team. He is experienced in providing immigration advice to employers in relation to intra-company transfers and seconding employees from other countries to live and work in New Zealand. 

Simon has gained extensive in-house experience, while on secondment both at a large multinational employer, and a local authority, and he understands the commercial and employee relations issues faced by employers. 

Simon is solution focussed and provides pragmatic, commercial advice to multinationals, PLC's, SME's and individuals. 

Simon is also admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales.

Trina Lincoln

Trina Lincoln

General Counsel for Construction
Housing New Zealand

Trina Lincoln

Associate General Counsel for Construction
Housing New Zealand

Nigel Stevenson

Nigel Stevenson

Chief Information Officer
Kensington Swan

Nigel Stevenson

Chief Information Officer
Kensington Swan

Nigel Stevenson is the current CIO at Kensington Swan. He is passionate about technology and making a difference by promoting and delivering change. Nigel strives to be an influencer and visionary, leading his team to modernise the legal profession. 

Nigel’s career began in avionic engineering shifting into the Technology space in 1997 having undertaken management, strategic planning, prior to his CIO role at Kensington Swan. His experience spans a number of sectors, including financial services, education, manufacturing and legal/professional services. 

Nigel completed an MBA in 2015, with distinction. He has also completed numerous technical qualifications over his career. These academic accomplishments compliment his technical and people skills. 

Catherine Stewart

Principal
Catherine Stewart Barrister

Catherine Stewart

Principal
Catherine Stewart Barrister

Specializing in all areas of employment law, Catherine has around 25 years’ experience as an employment and litigation lawyer. She joined the independent bar as a barrister sole in 2012, having held senior roles in employment law in law firms including at partnership level. She runs a busy practice with a team of three staff and advises and represents clients in the full range of employment law matters. Specializing in all areas of employment law, Catherine has around 25 years’ experience as an employment and litigation lawyer. She joined the independent bar as a barrister sole in 2012, having held senior roles in employment law in law firms including at partnership level. She runs a busy practice with a team of three staff and advises and represents clients in the full range of employment law matters. 

Catherine has successfully argued many high profiles cases, including the most recent redundancy case of the Employment Court (Stormont v Peddle Thorp), the leading case on stress in the workplace (Gilbert v Attorney General), and she has been appointed as counsel advising the Court in both the Employment Court and Court of Appeal in a case on unfair bargaining and freedom of association. 

Catherine is the Convenor of the Auckland District Law Society Inc Employment Law Committee, a committee which represents practitioners in regular meetings with Judges, members of the Employment Relations Authority, mediators, Government departments and other employment-related institutions such as trade unions. She is a regular writer and presenter on topical employment law issues and in her role as Convenor is regularly involved in drafting submissions to Parliament on employment related legislation.

Sarah Thirlwall

Chief Digital Officer
MinterEllisonRuddWatts

Sarah Thirlwall

Chief Digital Officer
MinterEllisonRuddWatts

Sarah is MinterEllisonRuddWatts’ Chief Digital Officer, joining the firm in May 2018. Sarah is responsible for advancing new technology that will further increase efficiencies while ensuring security of the firm’s IT environment. Previously Sarah was the Director, Strategic ICT Transformation Officer at Counties Manukau DHB and has many years’ experience managing large and complex IT environments and introducing new technologies.

Nick Valentine

Nick Valentine

Special Counsel
DLA Piper

Nick Valentine

Special Counsel
DLA Piper

Valentine is a highly regarded practitioner with extensive experience in technology, IP and telecommunications transactions.  

Nick advises public and private sector entities on large-scale business process and IT outsourcing and systems integration; software development and licensing; data protection and privacy; telecommunications services agreements and infrastructure rollouts; media rights and online content distribution; supply chain and logistics; and brand protection.  

Nick's clients value his commercial approach - combining technical excellence with an ability to make the complex simple and understand the strategic objectives of a deal.  

Helen White

Barrister

Helen White

Barrister

Helen has practiced law since 1995, she specialised in employment law, she has investigated, represented employees and employees in situations where bullying is alleged.  

Helen represents some unions and has worked across a very wide range of industries because of the union work she has done over the years, developing an appreciation for the differences that exist in workplace culture and particularly the economic reality for blue collar workers when facing problems such as bullying in the workplace often without a union to turn to for support.

Tony Wickstead

General Manager of Transformation and Delivery
Fonterra

Tony Wickstead

General Manager of Transformation and Delivery
Fonterra

Tony Wickstead is General Manager, Digital Transformation and Delivery for NZMP at Fonterra New Zealand, and has more than 15 years of management experience in technology, telecommunications, professional services and supply chain industries. 

An experienced Business, Technology leader and strategist Tony has delivered successful technology and business transformation in start-up and corporate businesses, such as leading the implementation of a world class Operations and emergency centre, as CIO of Auckland Airport or as COO with start -up Tomizone, growing this wireless internet technology business across Australia, China, India and NZ. 

Tony has also held senior Technology management roles within Kodak Australia, NCR Australia, Ernst and Young and NZ Post.  

A passionate New Zealander Tony has an unwavering focus on contributing to and improving NZ Inc., to leave the best possible sustainable legacy for our children. 

Tony holds an MBA, and Post Graduate Diplomas in Business Marketing and Operations from The University of Auckland.

Paula Williams

People and Culture Director
Simpson Grierson

Paula Williams

People and Culture Director
Simpson Grierson

Paula is the firm’s People & Culture Director.  

She works across the firm, leading the People & Culture team, with responsibility for the strategic people agenda at Simpson Grierson.  

Originally from the UK, Paula has been in New Zealand since 2001 and has multi-sector experience across the aviation, insurance, banking and professional services industries.  

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