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Council legal team scoops top NZ law award

28 November 2007

Christchurch City Council legal advisers, the Legal Services Unit, has scooped the Premium Lexis Nexis In-House Counsel Team Award at the 3rd Annual New Zealand Law Awards 2007.

The Law profession’s national awards, which were presented on 8 November in Auckland, recognise excellence and client satisfaction. Voted on by senior members of the profession, legal services consumers, and law firm employees through The New Zealand Lawyer magazine, the awards highlight the top performers in legal services.

Legal Services Unit Manager Chris Gilbert says he’s thrilled for his team because the award was recognition by legal peers that the Christchurch City Council legal team was second to none in New Zealand for its professionalism, skills, and processes.

According to the winning citation, the Council’s Legal Services Unit “has a very capable legal team which has accepted and met the challenge of working for a risk-averse client which is obliged not just to make commercially sound decisions, but to operate within a complex framework of statutory requirements.

“It has introduced systems which have successfully streamlined the connection between those requiring advice within and the internal and external providers of that service.”

“The awards are also a great indication that radical changes adopted by the Legal Services team a year ago to improve performance excellence by introducing online systems to better track and monitor legal jobs from start to finish, and control workloads are working.

“On top of this, a more transparent process was introduced to work in partnership with external legal advisers, which proved more efficient for both the external adviser and internal Council client seeking help,” Mr Gilbert says.

The Auckland City Council’s legal team came second, and other finalists for the In-House Counsel Team Award were: Housing New Zealand Corporation; IAG insurers; Vodafone New Zealand and Westpac New Zealand.

“That one of the Council’s external legal advisers, Anderson Lloyd, also won four awards at the same ceremony, shows Council has the best internal and external legal advisers in the country,” Mr Gilbert says.

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