Legal firm chooses Takapuna
At Channel Magazine we get goosebumps when interesting businesses decide to relocate to the Shore. Over the past few months this has been the case with boutique law firm Enterprise Law, who have moved from the city to a new office facing onto Hurstmere Green in the heart of Takapuna. Channel's Aidan Bennett sat down for a chat with Anthony Ruakere of the firm in mid-July.
To say I am envious of the new Enterprise Law office in Takapuna is an understatement. To work overlooking the fabulous Hurstmere Green, only 100 metres or so away from the beach and only metres away from three of my favourite cafés – Melba, Jam and Zomer – is about as good as it gets. It was at Zomer that I met Anthony Ruakere for a chat.
Anthony Ruakere explains that Enterprise Law relocated from the Auckland CBD to the heart of Takapuna as part of a perceived “trending suburban shift amongst lawyers, but also because we want to give our clients a more pleasant and laid back experience than that provided by the Auckland inner-city environs”. The firm combines three specialist areas with a thriving general practice. "We are a bit different from the norm in the legal industry in that whilst we run a general legal practice, we also specialise in three distinct areas that, to my knowledge, aren’t shared by other law firms.”
Anthony's area of specialty is sports law and he's tall, fit-looking, and easy to pick as a retired top-level sports person. He played rugby professionally before breaking his neck which brought a premature end to his career. He spent five years in the UK, working in law in London, playing rugby and doing a post-graduate degree in law at Cambridge University. He returned to settle in Devonport, coach the Ponsonby Premier Rugby Team and Auckland 2nd XV, and work in athlete management and in-house legal counsel at sports management company Esportif International. It was at Esportif where Anthony gained a clear understanding of the professional athlete contracting landscape internationally and across codes, along with related issues such as product endorsements and advertising.
"Sports law as we have come know it, is growing in scope and complexity, covering areas as diverse as contracting, corporate structuring and integrity in sport (doping, match fixing, misconduct, etc). Our collective experience at Enterprise Law allows us to cover that spectrum," explains Anthony.
The areas that Anthony and Dave Kapa (who also has a sports law background) cover in sports include: athlete contracting; rights commercialisation (sponsorship, licensing and endorsement); intellectual property rights (protection and enforcement); broadcasting/rights proceedings; corporate governance/legal entity structuring; integrity in sport.
Enterprise Law founder Michael Taia leads the Trade Law practice. In particular, Michael’s commercial law expertise positions him well to advise on supply agreements (international and domestic); cross-border jurisdictional and legal issues; joint venture agreements; product sale, purchase and licensing. A busy practice area, the firm is engaged in various trade matters both domestically and internationally.
Michael established Enterprise Law after studying law at Auckland University and gaining top level experience at some of New Zealand’s most prominent law firms. With a strong desire to establish a workplace that supported his natural entrepreneurial characteristics whilst delivering legal services to the highest standards, he enlisted the support of like-minded people in Anthony and Dave. Also of importance to Michael was identifying the areas of law that excited the team, and developing the capacity to be successful in these areas.
Enterprise Law's other specialist area is entertainment law. This practice area is led by Dave Kapa, a well-known Devonport identity. With law and masters in law degrees from Auckland and Bond Universities respectively (with a particular emphasis on intellectual property), Dave also worked at top tier firms here and in Australia before returning to a boutique sports law firm in Devonport. Expanding his practice to include entertainment law, his offering at Enterprise Law includes: negotiation and drafting of funding agreements; sponsorship or image rights agreements; intellectual property rights registration; the worldwide exploitation of created content (i.e. songs, images, video, lyrics, theatrical pieces etc).
"We all have considerable experience in general legal practice. In addition, we have specialist skills in, and an inherent passion for our respective specialist practice areas," adds Anthony. “This allows the firm the flexibility to operate an effective general legal practice, and at the same time, be engaged in areas of true interest.”
In general practice the Enterprise Law team covers: property; employment law; intellectual property (protection, enforcement and commercialisation); dispute resolution; and litigation.
If you are looking for a versatile new local law firm, you've just found it. The team will probably even shout you a coffee at one of the many great cafés right on their impressive doorstep
Growth of the Maori Economy
In addition to the detailed practice areas, Enterprise Law has at its core a desire to assist in the sustainable development of the Maori economy.
The last three decades have been dominated by the hearing of historical grievances in the Waitangi Tribunal, and more latterly, the Government’s Treaty settlement process. Legal advice within these areas is very specific, with a particular emphasis on understanding ways in which the Maori world (Te Ao Maori) has been impacted, both positively and negatively, since European settlement. This has not only required practitioners to view these impacts through a legal lens, but also to be equally conversant in aspects of Tikanga Maori, politics and history.
Settlements of historical Treaty claims however, have in significant part spawned a “burgeoning Maori economy”, and with that has come an obligation on those providing advice (legal or otherwise) to ensure that the dual cultural and commercial benefits of those settlements are maximised. Much of this work is focused on providing an effective interface between the beneficiaries of settlement, governing and management entities, Crown entities and private enterprise (both here and abroad). At a practical level, legal advice is often necessary in relation to post-settlement structuring, taxation, joint venture agreements and other commercial negotiations. It is in these areas that Enterprise Law functions.