TWA Legal Limited is a corporate and commercial law firm and the only boutique restructuring and insolvency specialist law firm in New Zealand.
TWA is a small firm, but we have a broad range of experience. Between us, we act on all general corporate and commercial aspects of New Zealand law, and also have a specialist litigation team. In terms of corporate and commercial expertise, we have experience with capital raising, privacy and data advice and various forms of commercial contracts including joint ventures, capital raising, sale and purchase of shares or assets, partnership and limited partnership formations, trusts, procurement and franchising. We also have extensive banking and finance expertise - we can act in relation to property and project finance, leveraged finance, syndicated financing transactions, working capital finance and mezzanine debt structures. We also advise on public and private debt and equity financing and other related regulatory issues.
However, TWA is best known for its expertise in insolvency and restructuring law, boasting three of the most experienced restructuring and insolvency lawyers in New Zealand.
Between us, we have acted for most of the insolvency practitioner firms in New Zealand, and for all of the major trading banks in the restructuring and insolvency space at some stage during our careers.
Each of our directors are recognized by the main legal directories for the work we have done, including Legal500, Chambers, IFLR1000, Doyles and AsiaLaw.
Our team regularly chair or speak at insolvency law conferences – Mike Whale and Jennifer spoke at a Restructuring and Insolvency Association of New Zealand (RITANZ) function in 2022 and 2023 and Jennifer was a speaker at the national RITANZ conference in 2021 (being the largest and most prominent such conference in New Zealand). She also facilitated a workshop during the national RITANZ conference in 2022.
We enjoy close relationships with most other leading law firms and have historically been engaged on conflict work by some of those firms. We are also asked by the top insolvency practitioners to provide second opinions. Such instructions demonstrate the industry sector’s recognition of our expertise.Show more +
Mike has extensive experience across corporate, commercial, banking, securities, restructuring and insolvency law.
A qualified accountant, Mike was co–convenor of the New Zealand Law Society and Institute of Chartered Accountants’ Joint Insolvency Law Reform Committee between 1993 and 2001. He recently stepped down after 6 years as chair of the NZ Institute of Chartered Accounts Disciplinary Tribunal, of which he was a member for 14 years.
Mike is a past Chairman and a Life Member of the Restructuring and Turnaround Association of New Zealand (RITANZ, an association comprising insolvency practitioners and insolvency lawyers, previously known as INSOL New Zealand), and has served on the board of INSOL International, an association of national organisations with members involved in insolvency and corporate recovery.
With Hon. Paul Heath QC (a former Judge of the High Court of New Zealand), Mike is co-consulting editor of Heath and Whale on Insolvency, the leading text on insolvency law.
Mike has been recognised by Legal 500, IFLR1000, Chambers Asia Pacific and AsiaLaw Profiles as a leading lawyer in Restructuring and Insolvency. He is also recognised in AsiaLaw Profiles as a leading lawyer in Corporate and Commercial and M&A.
Mike's clients have said:
- “Mike Whale is considered a ‘doyen of the insolvency market’ and recognised for his wealth of experience in this arena. Sources report: He would be well regarded as a real intellectual in this space. You go to him for extremely complicated legal questions and thought leadership.” (Chambers Asia-Pacific 2016)
- “Mike Whale is among the market’s most experienced lawyers.” (Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2016)
- “Highly experienced consultant Mike Whale has more than 35 years of experience in the restructuring and insolvency field. A lawyer, accountant and company director, he is viewed by his peers as the standout restructuring and insolvency practitioner in New Zealand.” (Asialaw Profiles)
- “Mike Whale is one of the country’s leading lawyers for contentious insolvency and is lauded as the godfather of the insolvency industry, he knows everything back to the Magna Carta.” (Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2019)
Areas of Expertise
Among his many assignments, Mike has acted for:
- The single largest (off-shore) creditor in the recent CBL Insurance collapse
- A major creditor of Solid Energy Limited in relation to the voluntary administration of that company
- The receivers of Dominion Finance Group Limited
- The liquidator of Goodall ABL Construction Limited
- The secured creditors of the Shanton Apparel chain
- One of the largest intentional telecommunications equipment suppliers on a USD100 million project financing transaction
- A utilities company investing in a local fibre company involved in the Government’s ultrafast broadband initiative (share of a NZD100 million investment)
- Directors of insolvent companies, defending various types of claims made by the liquidators of these companies
Mike also has significant commercial and corporate governance experience.
- He is currently the chair of a large provincial construction company, a role he has held for more than a decade, and is an observer on the board of a large financial services organisation.
- For a number of years he also chaired a company involved in the paper industry
Qualifications and Memberships
- Bachelor of Laws (Honours)
- Bachelor of Commerce
- Fellow of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (FCA)
- Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (FCIS)
- Member Institute of Directors in New Zealand
Insolvency in New Zealand
Level 9, 38 Wyndham Street, Auckland 1010 PO Box 106-586, Auckland City 1141