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Russell McVeagh Partners Win 2021 Client Choice Awards


Two Russell McVeagh partners have been honoured for their outstanding work and client service in the 2021 Lexology Client Choice Awards announced today. Mei Fern Johnson and Troy Pilkington have each been named the exclusive New Zealand winner for General Corporate and Competition respectively. This year's wins mark the second time for both of these partners to have been awarded the highly competitive accolades, with Russell McVeagh the only New Zealand firm to have two winners named.

Uniquely, nominations for these awards can only be made by corporate counsel, with criteria focused on a partner's ability to add real value to clients' business above and beyond others in the market.

Mei Fern Johnson, General Corporate Client Choice winner for New Zealand

Feedback from Mei Fern's clients included:

  • "She is the kind of person you want in a difficult negotiation."
  • "Mei Fern is very bright and commercial."
  • "She has amazing strategies."
  • "Mei Fern always puts her client’s needs first and is very responsive to queries."

Mei Fern advises on complex commercial contracting and on mergers and acquisitions, with particular expertise in foreign inbound investment and investment in the infrastructure, technology, transport and energy sectors.

In the past year, she has led the legal team that advised WEL Networks on the sale of Ultrafast Fibre Holdings for $854m which won the 'M&A Transaction of the Year' at the 2021 INFINZ Awards; the acquisition of APM Workcare as part of an AU$1.5b transaction; the New Zealand Government on a world-leading new natural disaster insurance claims model with private insurers, and is advising KiwiRail on the iReX project relating to the acquisition of two new ferries and the port-side arrangements, a project of more than $1.4b.

Troy Pilkington, Competition Client Choice winner for New Zealand

Corporate counsel praised Troy throughout the research process, with comments including:

  • "Troy Pilkington is without a doubt the most amazing external counsel I have ever used."
  • "Troy is thorough, pragmatic and commercially aware - he communicates complex topics clearly and in a form that can be understood and used by all."
  • "Troy has a wonderful manner and the way in which he advises clients is both down to earth and clear, as well as powerful and convincing whenever it needs to be."
  • "Troy is solution focused, flexible in the ways we need him to work with us, and often just feels like he is an extension of our dynamic inhouse team."

Troy is one of New Zealand's most highly regarded competition and antitrust, consumer, and regulatory lawyers. His expertise covers the full range of competition and antitrust, consumer, and regulatory practice areas – including advice on mergers, joint ventures, market studies, advertising, marketing and product recall issues, and regulator investigations.

Troy regularly advises a number of New Zealand's major banks, insurers, retailers, and electricity and telecommunications businesses, as well as leading private equity funds that are active in New Zealand.

Our firm would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the four other New Zealand winners, and all of the other winners and finalists.

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