Russell McVeagh

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Russell McVeagh
Russell McVeagh Logo(150 Years).jpg
HeadquartersAuckland, New Zealand
No. of offices2
No. of lawyers250+
No. of employees400+
Major practice areasCompetition, Corporate, Employment, Finance, Litigation, Property, Resource Management, Public Law and Tax
Key peoplePip Greenwood (Chairman), Gary McDiarmid (CEO)
Date founded1863
FounderJohn Benjamin Russell
SloganNew Zealand's Premier Law Firm

Russell McVeagh is a New Zealand law firm with offices in Auckland and Wellington.


John Benjamin Russell (1834-1894) established a one-man practice in Auckland in 1863.[1] Various partners joined him before he was succeeded at the firm by his son Edward Robert Nolan Russell (1869-1939) in 1893.

In 1904 Robert McVeagh became a partner and remained involved in the firm until his death in 1944. In 1969 the firm merged with McKenzie & Bartleet to become Russell McVeagh McKenzie Bartleet & Co, the name it held until 2000, when it became known simply as "Russell McVeagh".

The first legal job of the future politician Winston Peters after graduating in law in 1974 was with Russell McVeagh; he stayed for about three years, but became involved in politics.[2]

In 1988 the firm established its Wellington office with four founding partners.[3] New Zealand Government agencies became clients.[4]

In 2018 the firm was criticised[by whom?] for its handling of allegations that law students had been sexual assaulted by two of its lawyers in the 2015/16 summer.[5]


Russell McVeagh is facing allegations that senior male lawyers engaged in non-consensual and consensual sexual acts with female intern students.[6][7] These allegations have resulted in all the six law schools in New Zealand to cut ties with Russell McVeagh, including the University of Otago and Auckland University.[8]

The firm has ordered an external investigation into the allegations of sexual assault and harassment.


  1. ^ Compare: Russell, John Benjamin
  2. ^ Hames, Martin Winston First: The unauthorised account of Winston Peters' career p7 (1995, Random House Auckland) ISBN 1 86941 257 5
  3. ^ Russell McVeagh (2013). "About Us - History". Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  4. ^ Government has no plans to ditch law firm "The law firm is on a panel of lawyers employed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) to undertake government work, including sensitive issues such as ACC sexual abuse claims and human rights issues. [... Andrew Little] backed away when questioned about whether the Government, or government departments, should be reviewing their use of Russell McVeagh." - Newsroom, 27 February 2018.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Law firm slammed: 'It was like a frat house'". NewsComAu. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  7. ^ "Law interns' sexual assault complaints come to light". Radio New Zealand. 2018-02-15. Retrieved 2018-03-01.
  8. ^ "Six NZ universities cut ties with law firm Russell McVeagh in wake of sexual harassment claims". NZ Herald. 2018-03-01. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 2018-03-01.

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