What it does: Full-service law
Staff stats: 25 partners, 170 staff
The good bits: Working for a big law firm with the culture of a small one
The not so good bits: Not all office locations offer all practice areas so your options could be limited by location
The Lane Neave story
Lane Neave is a historic Christchurch firm that has experienced steady growth in the last 20 years. These days, Lane Neave is a full-service firm with offices in Auckland, Christchurch, Queenstown and Wellington.
Lane Neave’s practice covers eight specialist areas: building and construction; corporate; employment; immigration; lifelaw; litigation; property and resource management. Lawyers can find themselves working in these specialist areas or on more specific matters ranging from aged care, agribusiness, banking and finance, estate planning, financial markets and investments, franchising, health and safety, insolvency, insurance, intellectual property technology or wealth management.
Lane Neave’s flexible work policies demonstrate that work-life balance is an important aspect of their culture. And from what we see, they appear to be walking the talk when it comes to the juggling act between work and life. They also have a formal diversity policy and have long had a zero-tolerance approach to bullying, harassment and discrimination. Their Managing Partner recently declared, “Lane Neave is as committed as ever to being a people-centred firm and continually seeking to improve in this respect. We will always work hard to identify areas that we can focus on to enhance our firm’s culture and the wellbeing of our staff.” At the partner level, Lane Neave appears to have an equitable gender balance.
Lane Neave formally supports the Emergency Care Foundation (ECF) and the Stroke Foundation. It provides legal assistance to both these foundations and also raises funds for the ECF so it can continue to conduct research into improving the delivery of emergency medicine across the globe.
Lane Neave’s people get involved with community organisations and raise money for good causes through their staff volunteer days too.
The recruitment process
Lane Neave aims to “attract the best and brightest and then create an environment that allows them to flourish”. You’ll find information on their website or you’ll probably come across them at most of the Law Career Fairs. They only offer summer clerkships and to apply you’ll need to go to the career’s page of their website. Once you’ve found the appropriate job ad then upload a cover letter succinctly detailing the “set of skills you can offer Lane Neave, such as communication, collaboration and natural leadership” as well as a CV and academic transcript. If the firm isn’t advertising for summer clerks when you visit the website, you can complete an ‘expression of interest’ form.
If you make the cut, you’ll then be invited in for one or more interviews. You should turn up to the designated Lane Neave office having the researched the firm’s values, areas of practice and staff. You should be prepared to “market your skills and experiences”, possibly with reference to “roles and experiences outside of work or university”.
If you are offered a summer clerkship, you can expect to “work with some of the largest companies, strongest brands and biggest projects in New Zealand” and “have the opportunity to be involved in some complex cases”. While doing this, you will “rub shoulders with people from every practice area” and “develop a wide range of skills that will help kick-start your career”. All going well during the summer, clerks are often offered grad roles for the following year.
Lane Neave doesn’t publicly divulge information about the salaries and benefits it offers staff, but you should expect the industry standard for a large law firm. You certainly won’t be living it up on your grad salary, but you will start earning better money as your career progresses. If you make it to partner, you can expect to be well into six-figure territory.
While it doesn’t provide any specific details, Lane Neave promises potential employees it will “invest time in really understanding you so you can really thrive” and “help you develop the career you want and encourage you to follow your passion”. And as with most law firms, Lane Neave provides structured career progression. The firm has won an ‘NZ Employer of Choice’ award, demonstrating that it does promote the personal and professional development of its staff.
The vibe of the place
Lane Neave has a “non-hierarchical, friendly working culture”. They offer the best of both worlds as a result of being “a full-service law firm with the capability of our larger peers, but with the intimacy and approachability of a boutique firm”.
As is the case in most law firms, you can expect to work long hours, especially while establishing yourself. That noted, Lane Neave does encourage work-life balance, telling potential employees, “We work hard but also reckon it’s important to have a pleasant working environment and have a life outside the office.” If you’re interested in hanging out with your colleagues out of hours, the firm has weekly social events, regular staff parties and frequent fundraising activities.
Star Rating: Not available
"Founded in the 1860’s, Lane Neave is one of the largest and most highly regarded law firms in New Zealand.
A full-service law firm located in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown, the firm is led by 25 partners and employs more than 165 staff nationwide.
At Lane Neave you get the best of both worlds. We have the capability of our larger peers, but with the intimacy and approachability of a boutique firm.
We’re pretty proud of the way we work and the non hierarchal, friendly working culture. We have an extremely strong focus on client service, are very professional but also don’t take ourselves too seriously.
We’re a sociable firm. We work hard but also reckon it’s important to have pleasant working environment and have a life outside the office too.
At Lane Neave, you’ll feel supported, trusted and valued.
The Lane Neave way - Our culture has been the cornerstone of our success and is what really sets us apart from other full service law firms. While being professional is a given, we put a high value on having a different personality. It’s our people that contribute to our unique firm DNA – we want you to be yourself. Our partners and senior staff will make the effort to get to know you, value your ideas and will happily share their knowledge.
Get a life - We care about our people and this is reflected in way we encourage a work-life balance. Sure, there are times when our clients need us to work late to help with an important matter but we don’t give out prizes to the last one who turns out the lights. There’s also an active social network including weekly social events, staff parties and fundraising activities for the charities we support.
Size isn’t everything - If you think it’s the ‘big’ firms that get the better work, you’re wrong. Our teams (including grads and summer clerks) work with some of the largest companies, strongest brands and biggest projects in New Zealand. We have the legal capability of a large firm and approachability of a boutique firm. This sets us apart and a reason why our clients and staff love working with us.
Grow with us - At Lane Neave it’s about doing great work and having an enjoyable time doing it. You won’t spend all day bent over the photocopier. Your work will include connecting with great clients and you’ll have the opportunity to be involved is some complex cases. We’ll help you develop the career you want and encourage you to follow your passion. You’ll rub shoulders with people from every practice area and develop a wide range of skills that will help kick-start your career."