Anderson Lloyd nabs new partner to continue Christchurch growth crusade

by Sophie Schroder16 Jul 2014
Top tier South Island firm Anderson Lloyd continues to grow its Christchurch office with the arrival of new litigation partner Simon Munro, who joins the firm from Anthony Harper where he was a senior associate.
The move further strengthens Anderson Lloyd’s presence in the Christchurch and Canterbury areas, which has been a key focus since opening offices there 20 years ago.

CEO Richard Greenaway told NZ Lawyer that in the past few years in particular the firm has intentionally invested to bring in strong capability and capacity to the area.

“We chose to be one of the first to re-enter the CBD and support the rebuild of Christchurch and that leadership position is important to us,” he says. “We have been supporting South Island communities for over 150 years but that heritage has never held us back from being forward thinking and planning for the future. Christchurch and Canterbury are a large part of our future and you can expect us to invest even more as we progress.”
New partner Munro, a proud Cantabrian himself, says it’s an exciting time to be a lawyer in Christchurch, and one full of opportunities.

He likes to think that litigators play a valuable role in the rebuild by providing a check on all the furious activity to help ensure things are done properly.

“Christchurch is in the process of reinventing itself – it is a massive opportunity and there are plenty of people and businesses out there trying to combine the best of what we have got left with outstanding ideas for the future,” he told NZ Lawyer. “With so much happening, inevitably a lot is being done without reference to all the obligations and responsibilities that exist.” 
Of his history, the respected litigator says he grew up wanting to be either Arnie Becker of LA Law or Jerry Seinfeld, but jokes he was neither good looking enough to make it as a high-end divorce lawyer, or funny enough to make it in comedy, so settled for commercial litigation.

Perhaps he got lucky on the drama side of things, however. Reading like a television script, Munro says there are always strange things going on in litigation, whether directly part of the proceeding or in the background.

“I’ve been involved in cases involving illicit affairs, litigants assaulting each other, faked cancer, poorly forged documents, and even a body in the boot of a car,” he says. 
Munro started out his career in Christchurch, before moving away for 10 years to practice in both Auckland and London.

He returned to his hometown a few years ago.

“The timing of my return could probably have been better.  It coincided with the start of all the earthquakes.  I was lucky, in many respects, to always be out of town for the really big shakes, but I certainly have mixed feelings about that,” he says.
He’s on great terms with his former firm Anthony Harper, which was even his first client after his departure and briefed him to conduct a trial that had been adjourned before he left.
A number of Munro’s clients have also since sought him out at Anderson Lloyd:  “A much more sincere form of flattery than imitation – and far less annoying,” he jokes.
He says within the litigation space a challenge and frustration is always the fact that litigation is frequently forced on an organisation.
“That lack of choice can make it much more difficult to demonstrate the value that good dispute resolution service can provide,” Munro says. “The challenge is often to encourage clients to involve us in the process as early as possible so that the process can be managed with their goals at the forefront throughout.”