About Fitzgerald Strategic Legal
I founded Fitzgerald Strategic Legal in January 2018, having stepped away from the large law firm environment after more than 30 years, with a clear focus on the next 30 years.
I now have the flexibility to work for a small number of clients on selected projects. I can work with people I want to work with and provide them with a level of personalised service, which is unavailable in the traditional law firm.
I apply a filter of six keywords before accepting engagements – ‘strategic, contribution, valued, fun, flexibility, conservation.’ Not every piece of work need (or does) tick all the boxes, but if I cannot make a substantial and valued contribution to the engagement, or if the project is environmentally adverse, it’s probably not for me.
Fitzgerald Strategic Legal is and will be just me. That means I usually only accept new clients on a referral basis.
My work spans governance, corporate and family succession, dispute resolution, discrete commercial engagements, law reform, foreign investment, and environmental enhancement.
My governance work includes trusteeships for a limited number of families, directorships of several companies, and advisory work.
My dispute resolution work does not see me standing up in Court (I brief and then work closely with barristers for that). My role is to look for solutions and create strategies to achieve them.
My broad experience in corporate, financial services and securities law has led to my more recent focus on the management of large projects and the application of my governance experience and insights to the boards and senior management teams of leading New Zealand entities.
I take a strategic approach to commercial work using selected firms to produce documents, deal with the commodity aspects, and settle transactions. This approach allows me to focus on how a transaction is best advanced, managed and implemented.
When it comes to law reform, I periodically submit on my behalf on topical issues or work with clients on areas impacting them, often working alongside public and political relations experts to formulate longer-term strategies.
Offshore investment in New Zealand assets
I am one of New Zealand’s most experienced advisers to overseas investors from the USA, China and Europe seeking New Zealand assets. I provide pragmatic advice on New Zealand’s expectations of the benefits expected of overseas investment.
My preference now is to work with overseas individuals rather than corporations, and I enjoy extending the assistance beyond the law to address the problems, needs and aspirations of overseas individuals in their New Zealand dealings.
Leaving a large law firm delivers the independence and flexibility to allocate time to non-remunerative roles and the not-for-profit sector. The enhancement and appropriate regulation of freshwater quality is a special passion.
Through my role as a founding governing trustee of the Lake Taupo Protection Trust (https://protectinglaketaupo.nz/) since 2006, I now have considerable insight into the complexities of the science and the challenges of persuading urban and rural communities of the need for change.
Over this period the trust has reduced the level of manageable nitrogen entering Lake Taupo by 170 tonnes, by acquiring land covenants at a total cost of approximately $80 million.
I also sit on the Board of the Dunedin based Land Connections Trust (https://www.haloproject.org.nz). Our flagship projects deliver predator control to the coastal and near-coastal areas north of Dunedin, and riparian planting and fencing of key waterways within an area of 124,000 hectares from Dunedin north to the Waihemo Shag river catchment.
I am Chair of the Michael Hill International Violin Competition (https://michaelhillviolincompetition.co.nz) and Board member of the Waitati Beach Reserve Society. The former is one of the world’s most prestigious violin competitions and the latter one of New Zealand’s oldest private conservation initiatives.
Fitzgerald Strategic Legal
The logo was chosen as it represents the distinctive but ubiquitous New Zealand tī kōuka or ‘cabbage tree’ (Cordyline australis)
Endemic to New Zealand, it is a particularly hardy but useful and adaptable tree. It will bounce back from fire and meteorological adversity.
In pre-European times, it was used as a source of food, durable fibre for textiles, anchor ropes, fishing lines, baskets, waterproof capes, and footwear.
The kōata (or tip of the plant) was eaten raw as a blood tonic or cleanser by nursing mothers and given to children for colic. Juice from the leaves was used for cuts and sores. An infusion of the leaves was taken for diarrhoea and other stomach pains.
It does not do well in hot tropical climates like the Caribbean, Queensland, Southeast Asia or Florida.
Tī kōuka is resilient, useful and adaptable, qualities that Fitzgerald Strategic Legal embraces and endeavours to emulate.