The Bench: Flexible-working lawyers available on demand.

For Clients:

A smart and flexible way of working with dedicated lawyers to optimise your budget.

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For Lawyers:

A great way to find interesting client work on flexible terms that work for you.

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Overview

The Bench is a group of talented lawyers and paralegals experienced in commercial law, business, or government services. Bench members are available to work on a flexible part-time or secondment basis as part of your team, supported by Avid.legal.

The Bench gives you the benefit of having a dedicated and cost-effective lawyer or paralegal, without having to employ someone directly.

Situations where the Bench is ideal include:

  • a busy period or special project where you don’t have (or can’t spare) an in-house lawyer;
  • for start-ups and high-growth businesses needing help on matters that don’t justify paying typical law firm hourly rates;
  • parental leave and extended leave cover; or
  • where you’re not in a position to hire an in-house lawyer.

How does it work?

  • You engage Avid.legal to provide a specific lawyer or paralegal to assist your team for a set amount of hours per week or for a specific project.
  • Bench members may work at your office (Wellington only at this stage), or remotely (either from our offices or at home) – whatever works best to get the work done.
  • We take care of the employment side of things, and have overall responsibility for training and development.

Please get in touch with Murray to learn more at murray.whyte@avid.legal or +64 4 550 5315.

The Bench Team

Some of our Bench members include:

Lisa Barton

Lisa
Barton

Bench Lawyer

Lisa is an experienced generalist commercial lawyer. Lisa has previously advised clients across a broad range of industries such as telecommunications, infrastructure, property management, banking and government.

Expertise: Lisa is experienced in commercial contracting, telecommunications, property and infrastructure.

PQE: Over 13 years

Before the Bench: Lisa is currently at Transpower, Wellington and has previously worked at Chorus, Wellington; Ministry of Business Innovation & Employment, Wellington; Spark (previously Telecom), Wellington; Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Sydney and Melbourne; King & Wood Mallesons (previously Mallesons Stephen Jacques), Melbourne; DLA Piper (previously Phillips Fox), Wellington.

Professional

  • Admitted to practise in New Zealand in 1996.
  • Admitted to practise in NSW, Australia in 2001 and Victoria, Australia in 1999 (non-practising).
  • LLB, BA, Victoria University of Wellington.
Vanessa Huppert

Vanessa
Huppert

Bench Legal Consultant

Vanessa is a senior lawyer focusing on intellectual property and commercial projects. Vanessa has previously worked with clients in pharmaceuticals, fashion, energy, and government; and more recently in an in-house role for government.

Expertise: Vanessa is experienced in IP matters, commercial contracting, competition law and licensing.

PQE: 7/8 years

Before the Bench: Vanessa has previously worked at the Commerce Commission, Baldwins Law Limited and AJ Park (on secondment to New Zealand Trade and Enterprise).

Professional

  • Admitted to practise in New Zealand in 2003.
  • LLB Victoria University of Wellington.
  • BSc University of Otago.
  • Vanessa does not hold a current practising certificate but this can be arranged at short notice.
Anna Fenton

Anna
Fenton

Bench Lawyer

Anna is a senior lawyer specialising in legal contracting and consultancy roles in a wide range of government and private sector organisations.

Anna is currently on contract with Vital (formerly TeamTalk and CityLink), a NZX listed telco.

Expertise: Anna has considerable experience with a broad range of commercial, real estate, regulatory, and government, transactions, projects, and advice. Anna has experience with full project responsibility, managing teams of lawyers and other professionals, and as a specialist legal counsel in in-house legal and business teams.

PQE: Over 25 years

Before the Bench: For many years, Anna was in private legal practice at prominent New Zealand and UK corporate law firms, including as a partner at DLA Piper (previously DLA Phillips Fox and Phillips Fox). For the past 12 years, Anna has been contracting to a variety of public and private sector organisations including The Treasury, MBIE, Office of the Auditor-General, Customs Service, Public Trust, Hutt City Council, WSP Opus NZ, the Real Estate Authority, and the Ministry of Social Development.

Professional

  • Admitted to practise in New Zealand in 1993
  • LLB, University of Auckland

Become a
Bench Member

We are currently adding to our team of talented lawyers with commercial, government, and business experience.

If you’re a smart worker and would like greater flexibility and autonomy working directly on client assignments, then we’d love to hear from you. The Bench provides an opportunity to balance other factors in life, which we believe is important.

We see Bench members joining for a whole range of reasons – re-entering law on a part-time basis after parental leave, flexibility for other interests, or to supplement other projects. There are multiple benefits to be gained working with different clients and projects over time on terms that suit you.

Flexibility will be key. There will be down times between Bench assignments, so the Bench will suit people who are comfortable with that. It’s non-exclusive – subject to managing conflicts you’re welcome to take on work independently of the Bench too (we just ask that you keep us informed).

Our support

You have the Bench and Avid.legal fully behind you. From an initial briefing before an assignment interview to regular assignment catch-ups with our Bench Manager, you are always supported.

You’ll have access to Avid.legal training, events, and resources – all to support you in building and developing your career through quality client assignments.

What is the process?

  1. Apply: Get in touch with murray.whyte@avid.legal. We will review your CV, skills and experience, and may invite you for an interview to see if you are a good fit to join the Bench.
  2. Agree Terms: If successful, we will document our arrangement and identify your availability and work preferences.
  3. Find Bench assignments: We’ll work with you to find the right Bench assignments.