Kensington Swan doubles Auckland property team with senior hires

by Sol Dolor29 May 2019

Kensington Swan said that it has doubled the size of its Auckland-based property team with the hiring of senior lawyers.

Senior associates Amy Johns and Sonya Carter, as well as associate Ekta Raniga, joined the firm in April from different firms. Kensington Swan is also expecting to welcome solicitor Helen Kent in June.

The appointments come after property partner Paula Ormandy joined the firm from Bell Gully in February. The firm also recently elevated cross-border investment expert Heida Donegan to partner.

The firm said that the newest appointments complement the existing practices of partner Matthew Ockleston, who specialises in Public Works Act 1981 and infrastructure matters; special counsel Michelle Hill, who has a focus on leasing and unit titles; and consultant Ian Haynes, who is known for his commercial property work.

Johns – who has 15 years’ experience in commercial property and development – moved to the firm from an in-house legal counsel role at Mansons TCLM. She was also previously with Simpson Grierson and Bird & Bird.

“Amy has extensive experience across all aspects of commercial property, taking transactions through from the due diligence, acquisition and funding stage through to development, leasing and disposal as well as an in-depth knowledge of the requirements of in-house counsel,” the firm said.

Carter, who has 12 years’ experience, was most recently with Meredith Connell. She was also previously with DLA Piper New Zealand and Duncan Cotterill.

“She has particular expertise in advising clients seeking consent under the Overseas Investment Act and dealing with forestry assets,” the firm said.

Raniga moved to the firm from Norton Rose Fulbright, where she was an associate in the real estate team in Sydney. She was previously with DLA Piper in Auckland. She brings to the firm experience in a wide range of property matters, including commercial acquisitions and disposals, retail and commercial leasing, and due diligence investigations.

Kent is joining the firm from Bell Gully, where she is a solicitor. She previously worked with Ormandy in commercial property matters.

“I’m delighted to welcome Sonya, Amy, Etka and Helen to the firm. Hiring these amazing lawyers in a tough legal recruitment market is a testament to Kensington Swan’s culture of excellence and our reputation as a great place to work,” Ormandy said in a statement. “It’s great to see that our focus on innovation and diversity (alongside our collective experience working on most of the largest deals in town in the last fifteen years) is being recognised by our clients. Our practice is on an impressive growth curve, building on the great work led by Matthew and Michelle, which is enabling us to attract such great talent.”

Ockleston, who is the firm’s Auckland office managing partner and joint head of the national property team, said that he is delighted to see a rapid growth in the practice over the last few years and can continue that growth with these most recent appointments.

“They bring many years of experience and a breadth of expertise that will help us deliver an unbeatable experience to our clients. I am excited about the future,” he said.

(L-R) Sonya Carter, Matthew Ockleston, Ekta Raniga, Paula Ormandy, and Amy Johns