Bell Gully welcomes back long-lost partner

by Mackenzie McCarty09 Apr 2014
Bell Gully has just revealed that former partner David Chisnall has returned to the firm, helping to head-up the commercial property law team in Wellington.

Chisnall, who left Bell Gully in 2005 to co-found specialist firm Greenwood Roche Chisnall (GRC), says he’s excited to be back at the firm he spent 20 years with prior to founding GRC.

“Bell Gully…was the only job I’d had in my career...I left university and took the weekend off and started with Bell Gully on the Monday. So I worked at Bell Gully for nearly 20 years and I became partner at the beginning of 1996,” he tells NZ Lawyer.

Chisnall says he doesn’t regret leaving Bell Gully to establish GRC with legal acquaintances from Chapman Tripp, describing the initiative as a “fantastic collaboration” and something he has enjoyed for the past nine years.

“But it got to the point where I’d had always had a good relationship with the Bell Gully people and we got talking…about future opportunities, which put me on the spot a bit about making another career decision and just going back to a firm I’d spent so much time with. Looking at the work opportunities [at Bell Gully]…I just thought that was really exciting. I knew I probably would not get another opportunity, now that I’ve just turned 50.”

Chisnall admits it was hard to move on from a business he’d helped establish and which he’s “incredibly proud of”.

“It was great to be part of that and I think it’s in very good hands. But, as I said, I don’t think another opportunity like this would have happened again and, in a way, it’s like coming home. I’ve been very lucky to get the best of both worlds. We’re pretty conservative creatures, as lawyers, so to get yourself to go and establish a business and then again to come back to a place at Bell Gully – I feel very lucky.”

Chisnall specialises in the structuring, procurement and delivery of large-scale development projects.  He has led external legal teams advising public and private sector clients on many nationally significant projects and joint ventures across various industries. 

“The firm is delighted that David has returned to the partnership to join our national property practice, especially at a time when the New Zealand economy faces unprecedented levels of project and infrastructure investment,” says Bell Gully chairman, Roger Partridge.