New Zealand Law Society - New Manawatu branch President

New Manawatu branch President

This article is over 3 years old. More recent information on this subject may exist.

Palmerston North Crown Solicitor Ben Vanderkolk is the new NZLS Manawatu branch President.

Mr Vanderkolk, who was elected to the office at the branch's biennial meeting on 30 October, succeeds Chris Robertson.

This is the second time Mr Vanderkolk has been President for Manawatu lawyers. From 2000 to 2002 he was President of the Manawatu District Law Society.

Ben Vanderkolk
Ben Vanderkolk

His service to the profession has also included serving on the former Law Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal, where he was deputy chair to Peter Radich, chairing a number of the tribunal hearings. Following that he was an inaugural member of the New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal, a role he has now stepped down from.

He has also been a long-serving faculty member of the NZLS CLE Ltd Litigation Skills Programme and a New Zealand Law Society Council member.

He has also served on the committee of the Devil's Own lawyers' golf tournament.

Following his admission in 1982, Mr Vanderkolk's first role as a lawyer was working for the then Crown Solicitor David McKegg, who went on to become a District Court Judge and is now retired.

Four years after his admission, he was appointed Palmerston North's Crown Solicitor, a role he has held since 1987.

After working for David McKegg, the Canterbury University graduate became a partner with Barry Britten in a provincial law firm. "Barry Britten was a consummate general practitioner, who looked after his clients' interests from the cradle to the grave," he recalls.

Following that 10-year partnership, he established Vanderkolk and Associates and he is principal of the firm which has six lawyers.

As well as prosecuting for the Crown, Vanderkolk and Associates is involved in general litigation and regulatory and compliance enforcement. The firm also takes an interest in agrifood innovation.

He is, as well, currently establishing an arbitration and mediation practice, and is part way through work towards gaining a Fellowship of the Arbitrators' and Mediators' Institute of New Zealand (AMINZ).

In his time as a lawyer, Mr Vanderkolk has been involved in 400 or so jury trials and more than 40 homicide trials, along with a wide spread of relationship property, child welfare work, trust work and general litigation. He has also been involved in a lot of regulatory compliance work under the Resource Management Act, and has acted for the Commerce Commission and the Accident Compensation Corporation.

Mr Vanderkolk has served in a number of governance roles, particularly on not-for-profit organisations, and is currently on the councils of both Massey University and the Universal College of Learning (UCOL).

His interests are wide and include cycling and golf – although he says he doesn't have one particular sport, but rather he participates. He also really likes travel, as opposed to holidaying, and seeks out activities that are creative.

Mr Vanderkolk has four children, and his partner lives and works in Wellington.

As the new branch President "I'd like to explore ways of establishing what is a fit-for-purpose society branch, and how to make it relevant and visible, and one that reflects the diversity of the membership in the Manawatu," he says.

"I think the Law Society has a role in assisting law firms in the provinces to attract talent and also help law firms deal with the question of succession.

"With the new council, we will make a plan to see whether we can achieve some of these objectives."

Karina Job was elected the Manawatu branch Vice-President at the biennial meeting, and the following were elected to the branch Council: Michael Blaschke, Melissa Bourke, Michael Cochrane, Alison Green, Paul Murray and Chris Robertson.

Lawyer Listing for Bots