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Five new partners and two new senior associates

Media Release
29 January 2004 – for immediate release

Minter Ellison Rudd Watts announces five partners and two senior associates

Trans-Tasman law firm Minter Ellison Rudd Watts has boosted its banking and finance, corporate, dispute resolution and tax capabilities with the appointment of five partners and two senior associates.


Geoff Busch and Kate Lane joined the firm from Chapman Tripp in January this year, while Bruce Bernacchi, Zane Kennedy and Jeffrey Lai have been promoted to the partnership, bringing the total number of partners to 37.

Geoff Busch joins the firm with a wealth of local and international banking and finance experience, including in his specialist areas of loan syndications, corporate finance, project finance and property finance. Geoff is a public private partnerships expert, having acted on a wide variety of major projects in the infrastructure, energy, resources and tourism sectors whilst practising law in London and Sydney.

Kate Lane also joins the firm with an impressive track record in New Zealand and internationally. Kate has extensive experience both in New Zealand and London in a broad range of banking and finance areas with a focus on structured finance. Kate’s particular areas of expertise include securitisation, cross border leasing and the finance of large assets.

New taxation partner Bruce Bernacchi has advised a range of clients in both Australia and New Zealand on corporate taxation matters, boasting considerable experience in cross-border taxation (particularly trans-Tasman taxation issues) and in the finance, property and IT sectors. Bruce joined Minter Ellison Rudd Watts in October 2002 after 7 years with KPMG in Auckland and Melbourne.

Zane Kennedy has over 10 years’ experience in civil and commercial litigation, with particular emphasis on banking and contract disputes, professional indemnity insurance matters and the management of large-scale commercial litigation. Zane joined Minter Ellison Rudd Watts as a Senior Associate in 2002 from another major New Zealand law firm.

Jeffrey Lai adds his considerable expertise to the corporate division of the firm. Jeffrey undertakes a broad range of commercial and corporate advisory work, with particular emphasis on growth companies, information technology and securities issues. He has been with firm since December 1998.

Senior Associates

Mark Stuart is a corporate and commercial law specialist, with particular emphasis on joint ventures and mergers and acquisitions. Mark returns to his role as a senior associate at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts after working at Linklaters’ London office for the past two and a half years.

David Webb rejoined Minter Ellison Rudd Watts in May 2003, also after a spell at a leading law firm in London. David has extensive experience in project management and negotiating acquisitions, disposals, joint venture arrangements and business reorganisations, as well as in providing general corporate and commercial advice.

- ENDS -

Notes to editors:

Minter Ellison Rudd Watts occupies a unique position among the New Zealand law firms, being part of the Minter Ellison Legal Group. Minter Ellison is Australia's number 2 firm and the worldwide group has over 300 partners and 1,050 lawyers in 15 major financial centres worldwide.

Among New Zealand's top four law firms, Minter Ellison Rudd Watts is recognised by corporate New Zealand and trans-Tasman clients for its market leading competition and tax law practices. It also has a wealth of experience in the areas of corporate and commercial, litigation, intellectual property, employment, property and banking and finance.

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