New Zealand Law Society - Our Team

Our Team

Meet our Board and Executive Leadership team

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Our Board

Frazer Barton


Frazer Barton was elected Law Society President in October 2022. A Partner at Anderson Lloyd in Dunedin, he was Chair of Partners for eight years. During this time Frazer oversaw a change in focus towards gender diversity. With 48% female partners, Anderson Lloyd now maintains one of the highest percentages of women equity partners of any New Zealand law firm. Frazer sees diversity and inclusion as a key focus area for law firms.

Frazer’s specialist practice areas include professional indemnity, insurance and insolvency. He has recently conducted Treaty-related litigation on questions concerning tikanga and mana whenua. In the past Frazer has practised family law and criminal law, including on legal aid and as a duty solicitor. He is fully conversant with the access to justice issues facing New Zealanders.

Frazer has a strong interest in sustainability and planting to restore biodiversity. He proudly grows most of his own fruit and vegetables, and relaxes by running, cycling and kayaking.

Ataga’i Esera

Vice President Wellington

Ataga’i (Ata) is a director in the law firm Family Law Specialists, in Porirua. A firm as explained by its name, specialising in family law, she has been in private practice since 2011. She represents children (Lawyer for Child), elderly people (Lawyer for the Subject Person), parents and whānau in proceedings before the Family Court.    

Ata is of Samoan and NZ European descent, and until recently was a co-President of the Pacific Lawyers Association. Ata is the Porirua Representative on the Family Law Section and an Advisor for the Grants and Scholarships Committee for the Borrin Foundation. Prior to practice Ata was a financial accountant, as well as an English teacher in Oita, Japan. Ata also holds a Bachelor in Accounting and Commercial Law and contributes her knowledge from a background in both law and commerce. 

Jesse Savage

Vice President Central North Island

Jesse is a Partner at Norris Ward McKinnon, where he leads its Civil Litigation practice. He has experience in a wide range of commercial disputes, with a particular focus on complex property and commercial dispute work.

He is a former President of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Branch. Prior to that he served three terms as a Branch Council member.

Before entering the law, Jesse spent more than a decade living in Japan where he worked in various roles, including translating medical research. Aside from the law, he has previously volunteered at Community Law and was a trustee of the Warhorse Charitable Trust. He has also been involved with the Waikato refugee community and remains active in the local Japanese community.

David Campbell

Vice President Auckland

David is a partner in the dispute resolution team at Dentons Kensington Swan. He manages commercial and civil disputes and focusses particularly on competition law, product liability, liability insurance, and trust disputes. He has been involved in major multi-party litigation including class actions. He has also worked in London.  David is a past-President of the Auckland Branch of the Law Society, and was a member of the Women’s Advisory Panel. 

Taryn Gudmanz

Vice President South Island

Taryn Gudmanz was elected South Island Vice President of the Law Society in October 2022. Dunedin-based Taryn is an accredited mediator and senior barrister who specialises in commercial and civil litigation. This has included acting as counsel to assist the coroner, and being on the legal assistance panel for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care.  Taryn is also admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales.  She has previously worked at Bell Gully, Gallaway Cook Allan and Anderson Lloyd.

Her governance experience includes being President of the Law Society’s Otago Branch Council from 2020 to 2023, and a Council member of the New Zealand Bar Association │ Ngā Ahorangi Motuhake o te Ture. Her community involvement includes being a former member of the Board of Trustees at King’s High School, Dunedin. Taryn is an immigrant and came to New Zealand from South Africa when she was 17.

Our Independent Board Observers

Our Executive Leadership Team

Katie Rusbatch

Chief Executive Officer

Ms Rusbatch was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of the New Zealand Law Society Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa in December 2022. She joined the Law Society as General Manager Professional Standards (Regulatory) in 2021 where she oversaw our regulatory work, including the Lawyers Complaints Service, Registry and the Inspectorate.   

Before joining the Law Society, Katie was Head of Competition at the Commerce Commission where she led the cartel, merger and abuse of market power investigation teams. Ms Rusbatch started her legal career in New Zealand before working in the United Kingdom and Singapore.

Bronwyn Jones

General Manager Policy, Courts and Government

Bronwyn is responsible for the leadership of the Law Society’s Policy, Law Reform, Advocacy functions and relationships with the Judiciary, and government departments. The group is responsible for providing high level strategic advice and submissions on new and existing laws, policies, and protocols. The group is also responsible for the Law Society’s rule of law and administration of justice law reform and advocacy. The group supports and advises the Chief Executive, President, and the Law Society in relation to stakeholder relationships and management and oversees the Law Society’s international work. Bronwyn has been with the Law Society for nearly 20 years.

Amanda Woodbridge

General Manager Representative (Member) Services and Strategy

Amanda leads the Law Society’s representative services and strategy team who deliver services and support for the legal profession. These services include our three Sections (Family Law, Property Law and Inhouse Lawyers (ILANZ)), our 13 regional branches, law libraries, new lawyer groups and wellbeing services. She joined the Law Society in 2023 to develop and implement our new representative strategy which included a refreshed membership offer giving lawyers the same great service with even more value. Representative services includes professional development, education, networking opportunities, wellbeing including mentoring and counselling as well as gender equality initiatives.

Before joining the Law Society, Amanda was the General Manager of Marketing, Communications and Engagement at DairyNZ, the science and research organisation funded by dairy farmers.

Hellen Papadopoulos

Chief Executive, Continuing Legal Education

Hellen leads and works with the CLE team to achieve the company’s mission of providing relevant, affordable, accessible education, for the profession, with a wide suite of formats and learning solutions tailored to their needs. She provides the strategic direction for the team to work closely with stakeholders and other experts to identify the needs of the profession to help ensure practitioners are cognisant of key recent developments and trends in their areas of practice.

Maria Hoddinott

General Manager Corporate Services

Maria joined the Law Society in January 2021 and manages the Corporate Services team which is responsible for Information Technology, Finance and Facilities. Across these areas of responsibility, the team is focused on supporting the development of the Law Society through building corporate functions that are fit-for-the-future. This work includes a significant technology modernisaton programme in support of the Law Society’s strategy to build capability and effectiveness.

Peter Bell

General Manager People and Culture

Peter manages the Human Resources functions at the Law Society including payroll. Over the past year the People and Culture team have been working on developing and implementing policies and systems to support our people, these include a new performance review system, engagement survey, learning and development programs to support wellbeing and the first stage of identifying a new payroll and HR information system. Peter joined the Law Society in 2019 from senior people leadership roles in the retail and Health and Disability sectors.

Gareth Smith

General Manager Professional Standards

Gareth is responsible for overseeing our regulatory work, including the Lawyers Complaints Service, legal, registry and inspectorate. Gareth’s focus is to embed the Regulatory Strategy; increase the efficiency of the Law Society’s regulatory functions and the public profile of our regulatory work, including access to information for consumers and the profession; and support the Law Society's response to the Independent Review’s recommendations. Gareth has been with the Law Society since 2014, as a Professional Standards Officer, Legal and Registry Services Manager and Chief Legal Counsel (Professional Standards) prior to his current appointment.

Belinda Ryan

General Manager Marketing and Communications

Belinda joined the Law Society in January 2021, and was appointed General Manager of Marketing and Communications in December 2022. Belinda and her team have been supporting the modernisation of the Law Society by streamlining delivery and professionalism of marketing and communications activity, developing the brand, and publishing significant reports such as the Independent Review. Belinda joined the Law Society from sports regulator Drug Free Sport New Zealand, and has previously worked in communications and advertising in the United States and Australia.