Legal name change


A resort lawyer’s changing his firm’s name to the simplest name for a Queenstown law firm – Queenstown Law.

Russell Mawhinney, who’s practised in town since 2002, started his property and business firm, Mawhinney & Co, four years ago, but says people have often struggled with the name.

“Someone asks you for your email address and it takes you five minutes to give it to them.”

He’s had the ‘Queenstown Law’ domain name for 16 years but only used it for a short time in the mid-2000s.

“At some stage in the next 10 years or so I might decide to slow down, and it just makes it easier for a transition if we’ve got the [new] name now.”

Mawhinney was formally warned by the Overseas Investment Office late last year after it found he twice gave incorrect advice to investors about land purchases.

At the time he said he “acknowledged and regrets his errors”.

He says the name change is completely unrelated, though, and he’s moved on.

Mawhinney, a former Queenstown councillor, has timed the name change, effective from this coming Monday, to coincide with him taking on the resort’s first Mandarin-speaking lawyer, Jerry Li.

Li worked as a chartered accountant in Auckland for more than a decade before being admitted to the bar in 2016.

His areas of expertise are business advisory and taxation work, immigration, particularly investor and entrepreneur categories, overseas investment and the film production industry.

“We see Jerry working closely with clients and their accountants regarding tax matters,” Mahwinney says.

A yoga instructor and kickboxer, Li has moved to Queenstown with his wife and two young children.