Lane Neave is delighted to have added three new partners to the partnership in late 2021, early 2022.
Andrew Orme joined the Christchurch office in November 2021 from another national law firm, bringing significant commercial property expertise to the team. Andy Bell merged his boutique dispute resolution firm Bell and Co with Lane Neave’s Wellington employment team, officially combining as of 1 January 2022. Michelle Needham was promoted to Partner in the New Year promotions round, looking to continue her commercial property work in the Queenstown office.
Learn more about each new Partner below, with insights into where they’ve come from, the aspects of their careers they most enjoy (and find most challenging) and their predictions for the legal profession in 2022.
Pictured left to right: Andy Bell, Michelle Needham, Andrew Orme
Why did you choose law as a career?
Andy Bell: I was naturally inclined towards it due to the strengths I developed at school. I enjoyed language focused subjects and public speaking, but I was also drawn to the rational and logical aspects of the sciences. That led me to psychology and law at university.
Michelle Needham: I didn’t know that I wanted to be a lawyer when I enrolled at university, but I really enjoyed the degree and decided to have a go! I have always been interested in land and what properties people buy, and knew that this would be the area of law that I would practise in.
Andrew Orme: As a high school student I was heavily involved in debating and public speaking, so law was a natural fit, albeit I haven’t ended up in litigation. The logical and analytical nature of law also appealed to me.
What do you most enjoy about the job?
Andy: I like working with clients to solve problems. I’m really interested in the psychology of disputes and understanding the people involved to get to good solutions.
Michelle: Meeting new people and helping them to buy property (particularly their first home) and to make the process as smooth as possible.
Andrew: As a commercial property lawyer, most dealings I have with clients are positive experiences for both of us, as they are looking to achieve a goal. There’s a great sense of satisfaction in getting a deal across the line or completing a major project for a client.
What is the most challenging aspect?
Andy: The key to my area is doing conflict well. This is very challenging – it’s the art of disagreeing without being disagreeable – and that’s something that I’m constantly honing. It’s the balance of keeping people at the table in a negotiation while maintaining strong positions.
Michelle: I would say that the most challenging aspect is learning to manage tight deadlines and prioritising work during busy times.
Andrew: As partners we’re not trained to be business owners, employers, networkers, or salespeople, and that’s a major part of our role as partners outside the obvious technical capabilities. It’s something that challenges me on a daily basis.
What changes within the profession do you think we are likely to see in 2022?
Andy: I think good lawyers have identified the need to be more human and more connected with their clients. This is why we are seeing a move away from a tendency to project authority. Clients don’t want cloistered and unavailable lawyers. They want professionals who can drop the suit and tie, put on the high-vis (where required) and meet them on the floor of their business.
Michelle: I expect that we will continue to see more flexibility develop in respect of the workplace and in particular the ability to work remotely.
Andrew: I think digital disruption will start to become more evident in the legal profession – the pandemic has accelerated new ways of doing business and interacting that have become features of the wider world and the law will be further affected by that. What that disruption might look like, I can’t say, but for the more entrepreneurial people in or involved with our profession, there are plenty of opportunities to upset the apple cart.