Richard Smith

Partner & Head of International Practice

Richard is a commercial/corporate and property lawyer and works in both Duncan Cotterill’s Christchurch and Queenstown offices. Richard also leads the firm’s international practice including the firm’s membership of TerraLex, one of the world’s largest networks of independent law firms with over 20,000 lawyers in the network globally. Through TerraLex Duncan Cotterill is able to serve clients’ needs and business interests through a worldwide network of quality law firms that all meet high professional standards. In 2023 Richard was appointed an Asia-Pacific Region Vice Chair for TerraLex.

Richard acts for a wide range of business clients including corporates in the agribusiness sector, corporate property investors and developers (commercial, residential and rural), tertiary institutions and other business and charitable entities.

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He has been instrumental in a number of complex corporate restructures and various acquisitions across a range of industries. Richard also has a strong range of smaller business clients who always have something different “on the go”, which he enjoys being part of.

Richard assists company directors and business owners with asset restructuring and protection issues as well as wider business concerns including property conveyancing, contract negotiation, financing and governance.   For many he has become the “trusted advisor” to them and their families including holding trustee roles.

Recent highlights

  • Advising a New Zealand university on a wide range of commercial contract matters including development and commercialisation joint ventures.
  • Working with a property developer in relation to many industrial unit developments.
  • Providing advice to a residential/lifestyle property developer on what is currently a 250+ lot subdivision and after rezoning of adjoining land will be 500 lots+.
  • Advising one of the country’s largest listed retail companies leading up to and during the initial impact of Covid, resulting in a restructure and eventual sale of the business (an outcome that saved hundreds of jobs, rather than the alternative of liquidation of the business).

Richard's insights

Duncan Cotterill helps secure the sale of Taska Prosthetics to the Eqwal Group

5 June 2024

Land Covenants in New Zealand: a guide

27 May 2024

Unit Titles Act – final changes came into effect on 9 May 2024

24 May 2024

We're driven by our values

They drive our client relationships and connections with our community, and underpin our achievements.

He tāngata

  • Member of Duncan Cotterill Board and former Chair of the Partnership
  • TerraLex Vice Chair for Asia-Pacific region
  • Trustee of the Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust
  • Trustee of the St Andrew’s College Foundation
  • Trustee of the Lamar Charitable Trust (which supports people with disabilities)
  • Trustee of the Halberg Endowment Fund
  • Patron of the Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band (7 time NZ Champion Pipe Band) and Honorary Solicitor for the Royal New Zealand Pipe Band Association Inc.

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