New Zealand: JAWS double finalist at NZ Law Awards
Last Updated: 5 November 2012

For clever solutions and excellent client service

James & Wells Intellectual Property was a double finalist at the annual New Zealand Law Awards in Auckland last night for the 'Intellectual Property Law' and 'Mid-Size Law Firm of the Year' categories.

The firm was also nominated for the Community Service in Law Group category – a special award which recognises the integrity underpinning every lawyer's professional obligation to serve their community by applying their legal skills in charitable situations.

James & Wells Intellectual Property – which has offices in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga and Christchurch – last year won the coveted specialist IP award for the third time in a row for its sustained excellence at achieving client goals through clever thinking.

James & Wells Intellectual Property partner Kate Wilson says she congratulates her peers who took out the top gong this year.

"Our three-peat victory for the IP Law award is pretty hard to top and we were ecstatic to be recognised as a real contender for the Mid-size Law Firm of the Year given we are a specialist IP firm. To be judged head-to-head with full service firms demonstrates James & Wells' ability to truly earn the respect of being a business partner with its clients.

"This year we have been dedicating a lot of time and effort behind-the-scenes developing new service offerings for our clients to be rolled out in 2013."

During the year Kate Wilson and Ian Finch, partners in the firm's headquarters in Hamilton, were singled out by influential publication Intellectual Asset Management for leading the way in the IP sector. Wilson made the list of the 300 best international strategists for the second year running. She was the first Kiwi to make the list when named last year, while Finch was named in the 1000-strong list of patent litigators.

"James & Wells is driven to ensure our clients receive world-class IP advice. Being a double finalist at the New Zealand Law Awards, and accolades such as those from IAM, show we are delivering on our goal to help clients protect their most valuable asset," says Kate Wilson.

Next year the firm will launch a range of new initiatives including a virtualisation of their services, significant service revamps with an emphasis on online tools, and new value added services.

A complete overhaul of the firm's IT systems has enabled James & Wells to get one step closer to becoming a truly paperless office, including an "email only" policy which has led to a significant reduction in the volume of paper used, and the development of an advanced document management system which will enable its staff to work remotely from anywhere.

"It is critical we maintain our standing as one of New Zealand's top legal employers from a cultural perspective and to keep staff turnover low. This new tool will give staff full access to files from anywhere and at any time, which is particularly helpful in accommodating new parents and part time staff members," says Kate Wilson.

Ultimately it was the success of the Christchurch team to overcome adversity and need to operate paperless using the firm's existing technology in the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes, which was the driver for this being adopted elsewhere with better tools.

The move online also has considerable cost savings which can be passed onto clients in terms of reduced disbursements from less travel, couriers and transfer of documents.

2013 is shaping up to be an even bigger year for the award-winning law firm. "We are seeing increased investment in new patents across the board in a range of sectors," says Kate Wilson. Patents are generally lauded as a predictor on future economic outlook so that suggests businesses are investing in research and development, which means there is greater business confidence."

The annual New Zealand Law Awards were held last night at the Auckland War Memorial Museum.

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