New Zealand Law Society - Russell McVeagh promotes eight to senior associate

Russell McVeagh promotes eight to senior associate

Jacob Burton, Kirsty Dibley, Alice Gilbert, Chrystal Tocher, Adam Bristow, Jamie Hurworth, Sam Jones and Rose Powell have been appointed as senior associates at Russell McVeagh.

L-R: Kirsty Dibley, Sam Jones, Chrystal Tocher, Jacob Burton, Rose Powell, Jamie Hurworth, Alice Gilbert and Adam Bristow

Russell McVeagh's newest senior associates span its Environment, Planning and Natural Resources (EPNR), Litigation, and Government, Public Law and Policy practice areas, and includes:

Environmental, Planning and Natural Resources

Jacob Burton
Jacob specialises in environmental and resource management law advising on major infrastructure, commercial and residential development projects. His expertise includes assisting with consenting and planning matters, national policy and legislative reform, and other local government matters such as development contributions and rates.

Jacob is also experienced in matters under the Building Act and building regulation, and he advises on all aspects of the Public Works Act, including acquisitions and offer backs. Jacob is an experienced litigator and regularly appears before local authorities, Environment Court, and District and High Courts. Jacob's recent work includes working with KiwiRail on various planning and consenting matters, including the Palmerston North Intermodal Freight Hub, Summerset on consenting a number of its retirement villages across New Zealand, and Precinct Properties on the redevelopment of the Downtown Carpark Building precinct in Central Auckland. He joined Russell McVeagh in 2020.

Kirsty Dibley
Kirsty is an environmental and resource management specialist, advising on large-scale development and infrastructure projects, district and regional planning, and policy matters. Her expertise includes advising on resource consent applications, notices of requirement and district and regional planning matters for a wide range of clients, including infrastructure providers, network utility operators and developers. Kirsty's recent experience also includes assisting a range of clients on Resource Management Reform and proposed national policy statements. Some highlights of her experience to date include advising Auckland International Airport, Nelson Airport, and Watercare on a range of resource management and planning matters. Kirsty joined Russell McVeagh in 2021.

Alice Gilbert
Alice advises on all aspects of planning and environmental law, with a focus on large-scale development and infrastructure projects. She has assisted clients on a variety of projects including in the urban development, energy, waste and transport infrastructure sectors. Her expertise includes assisting with consenting and planning matters, environmental due diligence, environmental policy and legislative reform, and other local government matters including Public Works Act advice. Alice has a range of litigation experience, and has appeared before local authorities as well as in the Environment Court and High Court. Some of her experience gained to date includes advising Waste Management on a number of planning and consenting matters, KiwiRail on projects including the Wiri to Quay Park Project, and Helios Energy on the consenting and development of a large-scale solar farm. She joined Russell McVeagh in 2021 and has previous experience as a policy advisor.

Government, Public Law and Policy

Chrystal Tocher
Chrystal specialises in public law and policy. She joined Russell McVeagh in 2022, having previously worked at the Crown Law Office in the Attorney-General's group, and at the Law Commission. Chrystal draws on this experience to help clients to input on proposed legislative and policy changes in their sector, including through consultation and inquiry processes. Her practice also involves advising government and private sector clients to support them in achieving their goals and objectives, whilst ensuring compliance with legislative and regulatory frameworks.

Clients she's worked with come from a range of industries, including aged care, agriculture, education, energy, forestry, food and beverage, gaming, tobacco and transport. She advises Crown entities on their public law obligations (including matters involving consultation, funding and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act), and assists with responding to Official Information Act requests and Ombudsman investigations. Chrystal also acts for clients in public law litigation.


Adam Bristow
Adam is a litigator (qualified in England and Wales) with extensive experience acting for clients on complex, high-value litigation and arbitration matters. He has a particular interest in class actions and arbitration. Before joining Russell McVeagh in 2023 he worked in London for nearly 10 years, most recently as a Senior Associate (Solicitor-Advocate) at Travers Smith. His UK practice focused on competition/antitrust, ESG, and energy disputes; typically, cross-border and engaging multiple parties.

Adam's recent UK experience included acting for the DAF group of companies in the UK Competition Appeal Tribunal in their defence of multiple follow-on damages claims relating to the European Commission trucks decision (including playing a leading role in a ten-week trial last year).
Jamie Hurworth
Jamie is a commercial litigator (qualified in England and Wales) who handles a broad range of contentious matters such as shareholder and joint venture disputes, contractual claims, and professional negligence actions. He also has specialist expertise in media-related issues, including defamation claims and reputation management. Jamie provides strategic advice to clients and acts for them in litigation in the courts, or in alternative forums such as international arbitration.

He joined the firm in 2023 from UK firm Brabners where he handled various high-value, complex, and high-profile disputes, including representing Coleen Rooney in her successful defence of the libel claim brought against her by Rebekah Vardy, known as the 'Wagatha Christie' case, which is generally regarded as one of the most high-profile defamation trials in UK history. Jamie has recently appeared in the final episode of the Disney+ documentary series, Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story to discuss his involvement in the legal proceedings, and he also created and co-hosted the podcast series, Rooney v Vardy: The Breakdown.

Sam Jones
Sam is a general litigator, with a particular focus on restructuring and insolvency matters. Based in our Auckland office, Sam's practice includes advising creditors, insolvency practitioners and other stakeholders on restructuring and insolvency processes and related litigation, along with ongoing involvement in complex commercial disputes. He has particular experience in relation to insolvent financial services businesses and has acted on a number of cross-border insolvency matters. Recent work of his includes acting for the liquidators of the Halifax group, a failed trans-Tasman online brokerage business, including in proceedings concerning the distribution of trust funds to investors heard jointly by the New Zealand and Australian courts, and acting for a creditor in the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of Samoa on a successful application to remove a liquidator for lack of independence and impartiality. Sam joined the firm as a graduate in 2017.

Rose Powell
Rose advises on the full range of employment issues, including personal grievances, issues regarding confidentiality and restraints of trade, independent contractor issues, large-scale business restructurings, the impact of corporate transactions on employees and advice on obligations arising under the full spectrum of employment and health and safety legislation. She started with Russell McVeagh in 2020 and had a previous career working in marine insurance with clients based in New Zealand and the Pacific. Her diverse background and broad experience helps her to provide strategic, pragmatic advice to clients operating across all industries and sectors.

Russell McVeagh has also recently promoted 18 of its people to senior solicitor, including:

Banking and Finance: Jessie Rao, Nathan Tse, and Richelle Go Ocao.

Corporate: James Fletcher, Leah Pattison (qualified in England and Wales), Leisha Fletcher, and Tyrone Toia.

Government, Public Law and Policy: Ashley Donaldson.

Litigation: Ben Forbes (qualified in England and Wales), Florence Wilson, Madeline Alison, Nic Wilson, Niranjanaa Ram, Samantha Shanks, Sophie White, and Yao Dong.

Real Estate and Construction:  Thomas Barnaby and Vincent Lim.

"We're very proud to have eight very talented lawyers promoted to senior associate this year, highlighting their commitment to our firm and the level of expertise they have gained throughout their careers to date. A huge congratulations to you all," said Board Chair and partner Allison Arthur-Young.