New Zealand Law Society - Flexibility lures high-flying brief back home

Flexibility lures high-flying brief back home

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Sally Rebecca (Sally) Morris
West Auckland. 
Entry to law
Graduated BA/LLB (Hons) Auckland University 2005, LLM Columbia University, New York 2009. Admitted in New Zealand July 2006, New South Wales 2012, passed New York Bar exam 2009. 
Senior associate at TGT Legal (previously Taylor Grant Tesiram), Auckland. 
Speciality area
Contentious trust, estate and relationship property.

When Sally Morris comes up for air from her packed legal career, it’s a marvel the cellist, scuba diver, skier, soccer player, paddle boarder, Bikram yoga enthusiast and world traveller has any time for a life outside the law.

But coming home to New Zealand – when some of her legal peers are leaving - she is confident she’ll enjoy more work/life flexibility.

Fresh from Sydney law firm Ashurst – where she was a senior member of a legal team acting for Samsung in major Federal Court litigation against Apple – Sally recently joined TGT Legal in Auckland, where she was deeds clerk ten years ago while at university.

Her three years in Sydney was so intense, working long hours often seven days a week, “my life outside work ceased to exist,” Sally says.

For more than two and a half years she worked almost exclusively in a team of lawyers representing Korean-based Samsung in a three-year legal war with Apple – which saw the world’s biggest smartphone companies file more than 40 patent lawsuits against each other.

The Australian dispute required regular trips to Korea and involved more than 200 court days, most of which Sally was present at.

In August the companies signed a pact which ended all lawsuits outside the United States, including Australia.

“Frustratingly the settlement means we will never receive a judgment. But it was a good result for our client.

“Legally there is real interest in the case and some parts of judgment had been completed. They were important to Australian legal development but because of the settlement won’t be released.”

Now firmly committed to commercial litigation, Sally went straight into the criminal courts after admission.

In 2007, aged 24, she juniored in the high profile “Body in the Suitcase” murder trial with prosecutor Christine Gordon QC, which resulted in two of three Chinese students being found guilty of the murder of a fellow student.

“I didn’t get to talk, I did the submissions… But it was always tempting to ask questions…”

Next came Columbia law school, New York, where she did her LLM, was put in touch with leading international mediator David Williams and returned to New Zealand to work with him on arbitration cases.

An accomplished classical cellist and life-long fan of the late Jacqueline du Pre, Sally had to decide between being a concert performer or doing law.

A Russell McVeagh scholarship resolved the issue - coming first in New Zealand with 100% in school cert English in 1997 may have helped - and she never looked back.

She hasn’t regretted choosing law but misses her cello so she hopes to do more playing with chamber groups and some cello rock and pop now that she’s back home.

A student bonus at Columbia was getting $10 tickets for the US Tennis Open, seeing Broadway plays for $20 and a $50 season seat at Carnegie Hall.

An opportunity to study at a German university fell over because everything was expected to be done in German, so it was off to a beach bar in Spain’s south Malaga (where Picasso once lived) for six months before heading back to law school at Nottingham University.

A former deputy head girl at St Cuthbert’s College with a string of sporting and academic achievements to her credit, who grew up watching TV-lawyer Ally McBeal and reading Bryce Courtenay’s Tandia, Sally says her career is now in Auckland.

“I’m excited about building my practice and expertise in contentious trust matters.” 

Jock Anderson has been writing and commenting on New Zealand lawyers and New Zealand's courts for several decades. He also writes the weekly Caseload column for the New Zealand Herald. Contact Jock at

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