New Zealand scenery L&E Global


Global network of the year 2016

SBM Legal has expanded its global reach by accepting an invitation to join L&E Global – a rapidly growing international integrated alliance of premier labour and employment law firms in North America, Latin America, Europe and the Asia Pacific Region. Visit the L&E Global website.

L&E GLOBAL is an international alliance of law firms, which provide counsel to employers on labour relations, employment law, immigration law and employee benefits.

L&E Global’s client service strategy is effectively responding to economic challenges and changing client expectations, as well as the internationalization of legal services by delivering simplified attorney-client relationships in regards to billing, and overall advice and counsel, by offering clients a one-stop shop for all of their employment law needs.

L&E Global has 21 international members, which have more than 1,500 attorneys across 5 continents with firms in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States.

In addition, L&E Global has established law firm relationships in more than 30 other important international business regions - such as those found in Colombia, Japan and the United Kingdom.

By aligning their forces together, through L&E Global, these independent law firms become a global resource for businesses working on complex cross-border labour and employment projects.

L&E Global has received accolades from esteemed legal industry insiders including The Lawyer European Awards 2016 (“Global Network of the Year”), the FT Innovative Lawyers Report 2015 (“Commended” as an “Innovator in Growth and Business Development”) and Chambers Global 2016 (Band 1 Leading Law Firm Network).

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WEBCAST: L&E Global APAC Labour Law Luncheon

Posted on 5 December 2017

SBM Legal recommended as a TOP-TIER FIRM in the Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018

Posted on 29 November 2017

Legal 500 Asia Top Tier 2018

SBM Legal has been recommended as a TOP-TIER FIRM in 1 practice area:

  • Labour and employment

3 lawyers are listed in the elite "Leading lawyers" list. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018's guide to outstanding lawyers in Asia Pacific.

2 lawyers are listed in the "Next generation lawyers" list. The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2018's guide to up-and-coming lawyers in Asia Pacific.

Chambers Commends L&E Global’s Asia-Pacific Members in 2017

Posted on 20 January 2017

Chambers 2017

“The 2017 edition of Chambers Asia-Pacific was recently published, and I am delighted to report,” said Jeroen Douwes, Executive Director of L&E Global, “that all of our member firms in that region were recognised for their expertise in the field of labour and employment law.”

“[The SBM team is] highly recommended specialist employment law firm offering seasoned practitioners. Notable areas of expertise include guiding clients through sensitive workplace investigations and defending unfair dismissal claims, as well as other industrial relations matters. Advises employers and unions on collective agreement negotiations and strike actions.”

Kathryn Beck is highly skilled in industrial relations matters and advised McDonald's on unlawful strike action and issues concerning zero hours contracts. Peers identify her as a "standout" and "a really strong practitioner" who is "very highly regarded in the market.”

Don Mackinnon specialises in union bargaining and has extensive experience advising clients in the sports sector. He assisted Emirates Team NZ in its retention and hiring of key staff and sailors to participate in the America's Cup. He is recommended as "an excellent and very experienced employment lawyer," who "tells you how it is and is very practical.”

Penny Swarbrick has considerable experience advising clients on contentious employment law disputes. She acted for The Warehouse in successfully defending against an employee who claimed she had been disadvantaged by a workplace injury. Interviewees identify Swarbrick as "highly regarded for her expertise in advocacy." One notes: "She has technical experience, but her pragmatism makes her unique. She will give you a range of options, and cover all the benefits and risks of each of the options. She really adds value.”

Chambers Praises L&E Global’s Asia-Pacific Members

Posted on 11 February 2016

Chambers 2016

Stephan Swinkels, Executive Director of L&E Global noted, “The fact that all of L&E Global’s Asia-Pacific members were included in the Chambers 2016 rankings for that region, illustrates the success of our client service strategy – to provide the highest quality expertise across borders, throughout the world.”

According to Chambers, SBM Legal is a "highly recommended specialist employment law firm offering seasoned practitioners. Notable areas of expertise include guiding clients through sensitive workplace investigations, defence of unfair dismissal claims and industrial relations matters including collective agreement negotiations and strike action preventions."

Chambers and Partners have published world-famous guides to the legal profession since 1990. Their independent research produces rankings of the world’s top lawyers in over 185 countries.

Kathryn Beck Elected President of the New Zealand Law Society

Posted on 4 November 2015

Kathryn Beck

L&E Global is proud to announce that Kathryn Beck, Partner at SBM Legal (L&E Global New Zealand) has been elected President of the New Zealand Law Society and will take up the role in April 2016.

Ms Beck will take over from the current President, Chris Moore, who completes his three-year term in April 2016.

Her election means she will be the third woman to be President of the New Zealand Law Society. Since the first President was elected in 1897 the national lawyers’ organisation has had 29 Presidents.

Kathryn Beck has BCom and LLB degrees from Auckland University and she was admitted as a lawyer in May 1991. She specialises in employment law and alternative dispute resolution.

After working with Auckland law firm Haigh Lyon, she was a founding partner in the specialist employment law firm SBM Legal. She is currently the New Zealand Law Society’s Auckland Vice-President and is a former convenor of the Law Society Employment Law Committee.

L&E Global Winter Newsletter

Posted on 6 December 2012

L&E Global Winter Newsletter

“Redundancy and the obligation to provide information”

Redundancy and the obligation to provide information A common issue for New Zealand companies that are subsidiaries or branches of larger international organisations is managing the obligation to consult in good faith with employees about proposals which may impact on their continued employment. All too often, decisions are made internationally and New Zealand Managers are left in a situation where they are unable to comply with their obligation to consult with New Zealand employees about a proposal, as the decision has already been made.

The obligation to provide employees with information has arguably increased following a decision involving a New Zealand university. Until this decision, where employees were competing for positions in a downsizing situation, many employers had relied on the Privacy Act 1993 and not provided assessment material relating to other employees to individual employees. In this decision, the Employment Court clarified that the obligations under the Employment Relations Act 2000 trump obligations under the Privacy Act. As a consequence, the Court held that where there is a downsizing of roles (such as downsizing from five sales roles to three) and affected employees are competing for the remaining positions, those employees are entitled to request, and be provided with, information not only about their own assessment against the criteria, but also information about the other employees.

Read the full article in the latest LE Global newsletter >

L&E Global recognized by the Financial Times as a 2012 Legal Industry Pioneer

Posted on 5 October 2012

We are very proud to announce that L&E Global has been Highly Commended as a Legal Industry Pioneer by the Financial Times in their 2012 Innovative Lawyers Report which was published on Friday, October 5th 2012.

Now in its 7th year year – the annual Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report examines how law firms are contributing fresh thinking and practices to businesses around the world.

In 2012 there were over 450 applications made by law firms, from throughout Europe, to be recognized for their new and innovative approach to the business of law – in the very highly respected report on the European legal market.

Even more important to note though, is that out of the 13 organizations that were recognized as Legal Industry Pioneers, L&E Global is the only non-UK based legal business that appears in this specific ranking.

Read press release >

L&E Global Chambers Honour

Posted on 29 March 2012

The leading international legal research guide, Chambers Global 2012, has included L&E Global in its Spotlight Table of Global Employment Law Networks.

The newest edition notes: “L&E Global is an international network of elite boutique employment law firms. Members focus on all aspects of employment law, ranging from benefits to labour relations and immigration. The firms are recognised as premier exponents in the market and offer a worldwide service in more than 50 offices across the globe. Alliance firms have the ability to work together on complex cross-border organisational restructurings, and to deal with trade unions and offer integrated solutions in an international marketplace.”

“We are very pleased with this high honour,” says Stephan Swinkels, Executive Director of L&E Global. “To be recognised in this way is a testament to our innovative strategy of bringing together the premier labour and employment practitioners from around the world. In the coming months, we will be announcing the addition of other firms to our alliance as we continue the international expansion of L&E Global.”