New Zealand Law Society - Luke Cunningham Clere opens Auckland office and announces promotions

Luke Cunningham Clere opens Auckland office and announces promotions

Luke Cunningham Clere has opened an Auckland office to better serve clients throughout Aotearoa. The following senior staff have joined LCC and will be based in Auckland. They have also announced a series of promotions.

Ben Finn

Ben Finn, Partner – Tumuaki

Ben has expertise in representing and advising public sector agencies. He has represented the Crown, Police, Financial Markets Authority, WorkSafe, Serious Fraud Office and many other public-sector agencies in serious criminal and regulatory cases. He is a highly experienced advocate who has appeared in numerous trials, appeals and other hearings in the District Court, High Court and Court of Appeal. He has regularly provided regulatory and criminal advice and training to Crown entities and private clients. 

Before joining Luke Cunningham Clere Ben worked at the Office of the Auckland Crown Solicitor for more than 14 years, becoming a Senior Crown prosecutor, and before that in London in the Crown Prosecution Service proceeds of crime team. He started his legal career at a major New Zealand law firm working primarily in the civil and commercial litigation team. He has worked on secondment at both the Serious Fraud Office (2012-2013) and WorkSafe New Zealand (2020-2021). 

Ben has also lectured in Criminal Procedure at the AUT. 

Steven O'Connor

Steven O’Connor, Principal – Kaihautū  

Steven is an experienced civil and criminal litigator with particular expertise in criminal and regulatory enforcement litigation, and public law. In addition to prosecuting serious crime, Steven advises and represents government departments and regulatory bodies such as the Financial Markets Authority, NZ Police, Waka Kotahi NZTA, the Department of Corrections, and MBIE. 

Steven has acted on major class action litigation and private prosecutions. He has been involved in public commissions of inquiry including the UK Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse, and the NZ Royal Commission of Inquiry into Abuse in Care. He has previously acted and provided advice in respect of professional disciplinary investigations, regulatory enforcement action by the FMA, Electricity Authority and UK-based regulators such as the Charity Commission and The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual). 

Before joining LCC Steven worked at the office of the Auckland Crown Solicitor for two periods totalling five years. In between those periods Steven worked in the United Kingdom for the Financial Conduct Authority’s Enforcement and Market Oversight team, and conducted judicial review proceedings on behalf of the UK Home Secretary in respect of human rights, asylum seekers, and victims of trafficking claims. 

Farzana Nizam

Farzana Nizam, Senior Associate - Kaiwawao Mātāmua 

Farzana has experience in corporate crime, internal investigations, civil litigation and regulatory proceedings. As well as prosecuting serious crime, she has advised and acted for a number of government organizations, including the Inland Revenue Department, the NZ Police and the Official Assignee. She has regularly appeared in the District and High Courts. 

Farzana began her career at one of New Zealand’s top corporate and finance law firms, working in the commercial litigation team. She then worked as a litigator and Crown prosecutor at the office of the Auckland Crown Solicitor.

Farzana has recently returned to New Zealand after spending over eight years in London, working both in-house and in private practice. Her experience includes working in the London office of an American law firm, in one of the top white-collar crime practices in the world, and for a large multinational investment bank.   

Jonathan Schwarcz

Jonathan Schwarcz, Senior Associate - Kaiwawao Mātāmua 

Jonathan is an experienced civil litigator with a focus on trans-national litigation, insolvency, construction disputes and public law. Prior to retraining as a lawyer, Jonathan worked as a nurse and retains a strong interest in health care law.   

Jonathan started his legal career with the litigation team Corrs Chambers Westgarth in Sydney, where he assisted a significant client in responding to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Sexual Abuse.  

Following his return to New Zealand, Jonathan worked in the civil litigation team of a major New Zealand law firm. In that time, he undertook several successful long-term secondments including with a major New Zealand bank and the Accident Compensation Corporation. 

Richard Belcher

Richard Belcher, Associate – Kaiwawao  

Richard is a specialist litigator with a focus on criminal and regulatory prosecutions, public law and civil litigation. He has particular experience in health and safety and professional disciplinary prosecutions and has also acted in, and advised on, judicial review proceedings and civil disputes involving public institutions. Richard has appeared as counsel in the District and High Courts, and the Court of Appeal. He has also appeared in several of New Zealand’s Tribunals, in arbitrations seated in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom, mediations and judicial settlement conferences. He is a designated Crown Prosecutor. 

Luke Cunningham Clere also announces the following promotions to Associate - Kaiwaowao 

Harriet Farquar

Harriet Farquhar, Associate – Kaiwawao  

Harriet has particular experience in public law litigation and advice. She regularly advises public bodies on their powers and obligations, and has acted in a number of judicial review proceedings. In addition, she has experience in coronial inquests, regulatory matters and professional discipline. Harriet also acts for the Crown in criminal proceedings, appearing regularly in the District Court and High Court. Before joining Luke Cunningham Clere, Harriet was a Judge’s Clerk at the Supreme Court and an Assistant Crown Counsel in the Constitutional and Human Rights Team at the Crown Law Office. She graduated with an LLM from New York University in 2020. 

Kate Kensington

Kate Kensington, Associate – Kaiwawao   

Kate prosecutes criminal trials, along with acting for a number of professional, regulatory and government bodies.  She has appeared in the District and appellate Courts on behalf of the Crown, as well as appearing in various professional disciplinary Tribunals.  Prior to joining the firm in 2019, Kate was a Judge’s Clerk at the Court of Appeal and worked as an Assistant Crown Counsel in the criminal team at Crown Law.  

Megan Paish

Megan Paish, Associate – Kaiwawao  

Megan is an Intermediate Crown Prosecutor who is experienced in District Court Jury and Judge Alone trials, Parole Board hearings, Youth Court proceedings, and work undertaken on behalf of the New Zealand Police, Department of Corrections and WorkSafe. She had a secondment with DIA in 2020. She has a particular interest and specialization in sexual violence proceedings and restorative justice. Megan has nearly 17 years’ experience predominantly in criminal law.   

Mark Shaw

Mark Shaw, Associate – Kaiwawao   

Mark regularly appears in the District Court and the High Court on Crown prosecutions. He also provides advice to clients on regulatory and professional disciplinary matters. Prior to joining Luke Cunningham Clere in 2018, he worked as a Research Counsel at the Wellington District Court.