New Zealand Law Society - General Counsel - Auckland

General Counsel - Auckland

  • Exciting, newly created opportunity
  • Executive level role reporting to the CEO
  • Provide legal and strategic advice on NZ and global matters
  • Auckland based

Here is an exciting, newly created opportunity to join a highly successful, New Zealand owned and operated business as its first General Counsel.

About the company
Open Country is New Zealand’s second largest dairy manufacturer and the second largest dairy exporter of whole milk powder in the world. With a focus on quality, sustainability and strong partnerships with farmers and customers, Open Country exports dairy products made from high-quality New Zealand milk to over 50 markets across the world.

About the role
Reporting to the CEO and operating as a key member of the Executive team, as General Counsel, you will establish and manage Open Country’s internal legal function and develop systems and processes to proactively identify and manage risk.

In this senior and impactful leadership role, you will be responsible for delivering practical, commercial and solutions focused advice on a diverse range of strategic and operational matters, ensuring that risk and commerciality are well balanced, and all operations are compliant with relevant legislation.

The remit of legal work is broad, interesting and unique with local and global dimensions. In particular, you will provide support and guidance in areas including; commercial and contractual arrangements, corporate law and governance matters, disputes and litigation, employment, health and safety, IP, competition, environmental, investment and risk and compliance matters. In addition, you will contribute your expertise to strategic projects, ensure the business is updated on legal and regulatory change, deliver internal training in relevant areas and manage external legal providers when required.

Working collaboratively across all levels of the business, you will champion the legal function, building trust and credibility, and providing expert legal guidance to enhance business initiatives and strategic priorities.

What we are looking for:

  • Qualified lawyer with NZ practising certificate (or eligibility to hold one)
  • A minimum of 10 years PQE in corporate and commercial law with flexibility to work across diverse legal areas
  • Significant senior level in-house experience preferred
  • A high level of commercial awareness and the ability to provide pragmatic, solutions focused advice
  • Proven leadership skills and strategic ability
  • Strong legal analysis, interpretation and negotiation skills
  • Superior communication skills with the ability to gain respect and trust at all levels
  • Ability to manage priorities and work flexibly in a fast-paced business
  • Professional, approachable and collaborative engagement style

This is a fantastic opportunity to shape an executive level role as your own, and excel in a collaborative environment where your contributions will make a significant impact. You will be part of a passionate, knowledgeable and dedicated team, and values-based business with strong links to the heartland of New Zealand, and a culture of continuous improvement to evolve and drive growth in a sustainable way.

For a confidential discussion about this opportunity, please contact Jennifer Williams at Williams Legal Recruitment on 027 220 8003 or

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