City lawyer makes magazine 'Hot List'

Sarah Simmers has been selected as one of New Zealand's top 38 ''trail-blazing'' lawyers. Photo...
Sarah Simmers has been selected as one of New Zealand's top 38 ''trail-blazing'' lawyers. Photo supplied.
Dunedin lawyer Sarah Simmers is officially ''hot''.

Mrs Simmers (34), a partner-owner in Anderson Lloyd's Dunedin office, has been named in NZ Lawyer magazine's Hot List 2014.

It is the first time the magazine has released such a report, which identifies the country's top 38 ''trail-blazing'' lawyers.

The publication asked New Zealand law firms to make submissions and be involved in off-record interviews, in which respondents were asked to nominate lawyers they respected not only within their own firms but also at rival organisations.

Mrs Simmers, the only Dunedin lawyer on the list, was named in the ''landmark achievements'' category for being ''another deal-maker whose career has gone from strength to strength on the back of some highly noteworthy deals'', the magazine said.

When contacted, Mrs Simmers, a mother of two young children, said she was ''really stoked'' to have been named on the list.

''It also proves that you don't have to be located in Auckland or Wellington to work on large nationally significant transactions and advance your legal career.

''You can live in Dunedin and have really great work [and] interesting challenges,'' she said.

Dunedin-born and raised, Mrs Simmers has worked at Anderson Lloyd since graduating in 2002. She was made a commercial partner in 2008.

She had been involved with some large transactions over the past year, including the sale of Skeggs Group's Pacifica Shipping to global shipping group Swire; Combined Rural Traders' (CRT) merger with North Island-based Farmlands; and Farmlands' purchase of the NRM animal feeds business from Viterra.

The CRT-Farmlands merger, for which she acted for CRT, was one of the largest transactions in New Zealand last year, involving entities with combined historic revenues of $2 billion per year and creating a nationwide co-operative with 54,000 members.

As part of her role, Mrs Simmers said she got ''really immersed'' in the businesses she worked with.

''You do feel like you're kind of part of the business when you're working so closely.

''I have a smaller number of big clients I'm dealing with on a day-by-day basis.

''It gets to a point you feel like you're part of the team and you understand what's driving them,'' she said.

She enjoyed her work - ''it's not like you're doing the same thing over and over day after day; there's always something to keep you on your toes'' - and she was committed to the city, Mrs Simmers said.


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