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Mai Chen (born in Taiwan, 1964) is a prominent constitutional lawyer in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a founding partner of the law firm Chen Palmer, alongside former New Zealand Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer.
She obtained her law degree with first class honours from the University of Otago, and was admitted to the bar in 1986. In 1988 she was awarded a Masters degree from Harvard University. She is married to John Sinclair and has one son.
Career in law
Chen went to work at the United Nations' International Labour Office in Geneva. In 1989, Chen took up a lectureship at the law school at Victoria University of Wellington, and wrote her first book on the discrimination of women. In 1990, she chaired a government review on the Policy of Excluding Women from Combat, and in 1992 she became the youngest senior lecturer in Law in New Zealand at that time. In 1993, she co-authored Public Law in New Zealand with former Prime Minister Sir Geoffrey Palmer, which was published by Oxford University Press, and in 1994 left academia to become a lawyer for Russell McVeagh, but left after a year mortgaging her house for cash to set up Chen and Palmer with Palmer.
Books and publications
- Women and Discrimination: New Zealand and the United Nations Convention (1989)
- Public Law in New Zealand (1992)
- Bennett, Adam (10 September 2006). "Quietly influential in halls of power". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 19 October 2011.
- "Mai Chen | Chen Palmer - New Zealand Public Law Specialists".