Meet the team

Chen Palmer Partners is a boutique public and employment firm with offices in Auckland and Wellington. The partners are supported by a dozen lawyers including a Principal, Special Counsel, senior associates, other lawyers and law clerks.

Mai Chen

Managing Partner

Mai Chen is the managing partner of Chen Palmer, Australasia’s first public law specialist firm, which she co-founded in 1994.

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Nick Russell

Partner

Nick Russell is an experienced public law litigator who has appeared as counsel in a range of key cases at the High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and Privy Council.

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Leo Donnelly

Special Counsel

Leo is a former Ombudsman from 2016-2018, and Deputy Ombudsman from 2004-2016. He brings his expertise and considerable experience in public and administrative law to Chen Palmer’s recognised leadership in the legal industry.

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Marina Matthews

Special Counsel

Marina has significant Parliamentary experience and has been a specialist advisor to several Education Ministers. She has experience in a range of public policy processes including the preparation of Cabinet papers, briefing Ministers, and preparing for Select Committees.

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Zong-Pei Zhao

Special Counsel

Zong-Pei was a civil servant for over 10 years before joining the private sector. He has a solid understanding of the machinery of government and has experience in the areas of building and construction law, criminal law, education law, evaluation, public policy, official information, courts management and international relations.

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Veronica Cress

Principal - Litigation

Veronica is a barrister with approximately 20 years litigation experience in New Zealand and the Asia-Pacific region. Prior to joining the bar, Veronica was a Partner for 5 years at DLA Piper New Zealand. Veronica was a member of the firm’s award winning insurance litigation team for 10 years but was also worked on a wide range of general civil litigation (including, for example, participating in the first personal injury case against a tobacco company by a smoker to go to trial in New Zealand.)

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Anmol Shankar

Senior Associate

Anmol graduated from the University of Auckland in 2013. He began working for Chen Palmer Partners in 2017 and specialises in Employment Law and Treaty of Waitangi issues.

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