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Top lawyer a Waikato distinguished alumna

10 August 2018

Miriam Dean web
Queen's Counsel Miriam Dean CNZM.

One of the country’s top women lawyers started her career with a Bachelor of Social Sciences at the University of Waikato.

Miriam Dean CNZM graduated in 1976 and it was staff in her faculty who encouraged her to study law. Ms Dean will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Waikato later this month.

She left Waikato to first study in Auckland then completed a Master of Laws at Harvard University in the USA.

She is a Queen’s Counsel who’s had 35 years’ experience in commercial dispute resolution with a particular specialty in competition, consumer and regulatory law. She was the first woman president of the New Zealand Bar Association.

Ms Dean is known for her strength in strategic issues and negotiations, representing clients in a diverse range of industries and has advised and acted as counsel in many significant corporate developments, including the early dairy company mergers, the merger of Carter Holt Harvey and New Zealand Forest Products, and the power company wars of the 1990s.

She’s also had considerable experience in governance roles. Her current directorships are chair, Banking Ombudsman Scheme; chair, New Zealand On Air; director, Crown Infrastructure Partners; director of the Real Estate Institute of New Zealand; and director, Ōtākaro Limited, which is responsible for delivering the Government’s key anchor projects in Christchurch.

She is also chair of the Ministry of Justice’s Legal Aid Advisory Board.

In addition, Ms Dean has undertaken a number of government inquires or reviews. These include her chairmanship of the Ministerial Inquiry into the Fonterra botulinum incident, her facilitation of, and report to Minsters, on the engineering options for Christchurch Cathedral and her recent review into access to justice issues as regards ACC’s dispute resolution procedures.

In 2004 she was made a Queen’s Counsel, and in 2011 she was named a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for her services to business and law.

Ms Dean has been a strong advocate for women, encouraging them to take up leadership roles and succeed in the legal profession. She regularly speaks at events celebrating women and leadership and presents to women on how to succeed in the legal profession. She encourages women to be bold and take calculated risks in their careers, to actively plan, and to think about what they want and how they are going to get there.

Ms Dean will receive her Distinguished Alumni Award on August 24, joined by four other high achieving alumni – politician Dame Annette King, Oxford archaeologist Professor Tom Higham, international businessman Jan Zijderveld and psychologist Dr Sarah Calvert.

Miriam Dean will give a public lecture from 1.30 - 2.30 on Friday 24 August at the Hamilton campus: "Leading Your Career: What do women need to achieve success?" Please register to attend.

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