Aussie law firm takes shine to Auckland CBD

5:00 AM Wednesday May 2, 2018 Colin Taylor

ASX listed law firm Shine Lawyers has leased a floor and taken naming rights at 52 Swanson St. Photo / Supplied

Australian listed law firm Shine Lawyers has leased a floor and taken naming rights over a 15-level commercial office building in Swanson St in Auckland’s CBD.

The legal company established a presence in New Zealand in 2015 by purchasing the practice of the specialist plaintiffs’ law firm of Andrew Hooker which, at that stage, had offices in Albany; and in Christchurch where the firm is best known working for clients battling insurance companies and the Earthquake Commission (EQC) over earthquake damage claims.

Shine, which has 48 offices across Australia employing more than 850 people, relocated its Albany office to Level 12 at 52 Swanson St earlier this year in a leasing deal negotiated by Brendan Graves of Bayleys’ central Auckland office leasing team

“Shine Lawyers wants to up its profile in New Zealand and to grow its business further here, so the firm was keen to establish a high-profile presence in the CBD and this building gives them the opportunity to do that,” says Graves. 

“We were able to secure the company naming rights over the property which is an elevated, relatively unobstructed position between the waterfront and the Sky Tower. It means the signage to be erected on top of the building will be highly visible, particularly at night. It also means the 400sq m upper level floor to be occupied by the firm benefits from plenty of natural light and has wide ranging CBD and waterfront views; making for a very pleasant working environment.”

The 6000sq m Shine Building at 52 Swanson St was constructed in the late 1980s and has 13 levels of office space built atop a two-level podium that provides tenant parking.

High-profile law firm Chen Palmer occupies the top floor of the building. Other occupants include valuation firms Seagers Partners and Telfer Young, Singapore Airlines and Hawaiian Airlines, the NZ Planning Institute and The Walshe Group travel company.

Graves says there are a few leasing opportunities remaining ranging from 138sq m to full floors of 413sq m at 52 Swanson St.

“The building offers tenants a good standard of affordable CBD office space as well as an allocation of secure, covered car parking with additional nearby parking also available. It’s very well positioned close to the waterfront, the Britomart Transport Centre and the big Commercial Bay retail and office development scheduled for completion next year.”

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The 15-level building gives Shine a high profile along with great views from an upper level. Photo / Supplied

Andrew Hooker, who has remained the firm’s managing director, sees a certain irony in taking the naming rights of a building that was originally called the Royal & Sun Alliance Building since much of the work that he and his team of litigators do is representing small plaintiffs against big insurance companies.

However, Hooker says the move has been a positive one and is an important step in building further on the massive growth the firm has experienced since becoming part of Shine Lawyers. “Good litigation lawyers generally want to work in the CBD where the action is, and this premise will assist us in attracting and retaining staff as well as providing space for future expansion.”

Hooker says the association with Shine had its genesis in Christchurch where he met one of the founding directors after the earthquakes. “They were keen to get into the New Zealand market and were looking for a firm that they could work with.  My firm fitted their culture really well and we shared the same values – we love working for the underdog to get everyday people the outcome they deserve.”

He says there are very few civil litigation law firms acting exclusively for plaintiffs in New Zealand, partly due to our small population but also because of our no-fault accident compensation system.

“Shine is one of Australia’s largest compensation law groups, encompassing practices that operate under the Shine banner as well as others that have retained their own names. The group has huge resources and a wide range of legal expertise that will enable us to take our specialist plaintiffs’ law firm to the next level in this country.”

Shine New Zealand specialises in civil litigation against insurance companies and other large corporates, with Hooker spearheading the New Zealand representative action against bank fees. He says having the strength of the Shine group behind it will enable the practice to broaden its civil litigation offering in areas such as employment law and professional negligence claims against lawyers, accountants, valuers, real estate agents, financial advisers, engineers, architects and builders.

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Brendan Graves of Bayleys.