Law firm takes home prestigious supreme business award

by Sophie Schroder06 Oct 2014
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts has won the supreme award at the 2014 AUT Excellence in Business Support Awards.

The firm was also selected by an independent judging panel as the winner of the Business $20m-$100m T/O category.

At the ceremony, Minter Ellison Rudd Watt’s client-centric focus was recognised as one of the deciding factors in being selected as the supreme award winner.

Chair Cathy Quinn told NZ Lawyer the firm underwent a radical shift at the beginning of the GFC that has seen it come out the other side in an even stronger position.

“At the beginning of the crisis we had a strategic planning session with the partners, and we had external business leader who came in and gave us a talk about how you can use a crisis to change a culture,” she says.

“During the GFC there is no choice: You can come out stronger and better, or weaker…so we took it as an opportunity to come out stronger and better. We saw [the crisis] as a huge opportunity.”

It was also during one of these planning sessions when the firm came up with its mantra “we listen, we care, we deliver”. The phrase was integrated into all aspects of business, and it was noted at the AUT awards.
The mantra is important because it can be applied both internally to staff and externally to clients, says Quinn.

“If you can make both these things work, it’s a pretty positive circle…it’s at the centre of our decisions as a board and as partners.”

Winning both the Business $20m-$100m T/O category and the overall supreme award at the awards is significant because although law is a profession, it’s also a business, says Quinn.

How you run your business and how successful you are at it is critically important, and the firm will be using the win as a benchmark and stepping stone.

“I think that we are truly committed to making [Minter Ellison Rudd Watts] a great place to work, as well as a great place for clients,” says Quinn. “I think all firms are different, but I’ve been here 30 years and I think one of our distinguishing features is our willingness to develop and celebrate difference.

“There are all sorts of different personalities, and that can sometimes create a bit of tension, but it also means everyone can be who they are…When you have more people looking at issues from a different perspective, you create innovation.”

The awards celebrated business success across 11 categories and winners were selected from 34 finalists.

AUT University dean of business and law, Geoff Perry, says the standard across the categories was impressive and confirmed that the business support sector continues to make a significant and valuable contribution.

“Business cares about business support, because excellent support behind the scenes from firms like Minter Ellison [Rudd Watts] makes for successful business outcomes at the front end,” he says.
And Minters wasn’t the only law firm to be recognised on the night.

Intellectual property lawyers AJ Park were also finalists in the Business $20m-$100m T/O category, and ended up taking home the New Zealand Trade and Enterprise Export Support award.