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17 February 2020

Six law firms ranked among New Zealand's best 100 employers, survey finds

Chapman Tripp voted leading Kiwi law firm to work for in graduate poll

Six Law Firms Ranked Among New Zealand’s Best 100 Employers, Survey Finds

The New Zealand Supreme Court in Wellington: just 8% of the survey respondents were studying law Shutterstock

Chapman Tripp, Bell Gully, Russell McVeagh, Duncan Cotterill, MinterEllisonRuddWatts and Buddle Findlay made the cut of the best law firms to work for, as voted by 2,200 New Zealand university students and recent graduates. The top 100 employer rankings highlight the organisations that have the most appeal as graduate employers, and follows similar surveys in Australia, the UK and Asia.

New Zealand’s largest private practice Chapman Tripp was the highest ranking law firm in 26th place, closely followed by Bell Gully in 30th. Russell McVeagh took the 56th spot, with Duncan Cotterill placing 58th, MinterEllisonRuddWatts 79th and Buddle Findlay 100th.

“We aim to provide graduates with an authentic experience in a supportive environment where they are involved in real work, for real clients and broadening their understanding of the legal industry,” said Tania Restall, people and culture director at Chapman Tripp. “We are delighted to be recognised for our graduate programme.”

Microsoft was voted the best employer in the country, followed by Air New Zealand, accounting software company Xero, and professional services firms Beca and PwC.

Just 8% of respondents said they were studying law and legal studies, compared to 32% for finance, accounting, economics and business, and 23% for engineering, maths, IT and computer science. 

New Zealand’s big three law firms—Chapman Tripp, Bell Gully and Russell McVeagh—face increased competition in their domestic market following the arrival of international law firm Dentons, which agreed to form a partnership with Kiwi firm Kensington Swan last August and officially opened for business earlier this month.

Dentons is just the third foreign law firm to set up shop in New Zealand, following in the footsteps of DLA Piper and Australian law firm MinterEllison. 

MinterEllison was one of eight Australian law firms ranked among the top 100 employers in the 2020 GradAustralia student survey.

Allens was the highest ranking law firm (32nd place), followed by Herbert Smith Freehills (38th), MinterEllison (43rd), Clayton Utz (53rd), King & Wood Mallesons (56th), Ashurst (68th), Corrs Chambers Westgarth (86th) and Gilbert + Tobin (93rd).

Corrs Chambers Westgarth and Herbert Smith Freehills were also recently ranked among the top 35 most inclusive employers in Australia, according to the Diversity Council of Australia’s Inclusion@Work Index.

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