Managing Partner of the Year (less than 100 Lawyers)

September 2018

We are delighted to announce Mark Lowndes’ nomination as a finalist in the 2018 New Zealand Law Awards Managing Partner of the Year <100 category.

Mark Lowndes has led law firms since the age of 26 and has made a career of innovation in the legal industry.  He is a talented lawyer recognised in international directories, and a strong business leader with a determination for excellence and elegance in all aspects of the firm.

Innovation is a key theme throughout Mark’s career.  He introduced the concept of the boutique commercial law firm in 1986 with what is now Lowndes Jordan which was the first law firm to be ISO9001certified.  He is an early adopter of technology: in 1986 he had computers on all lawyers’ desks, by 1988 he had an internal email system and in 1995 he adopted internet connectivity.

In 1997 Mark formed a new corporate structure for Lowndes, the second law firm he founded, which separates out legal practice from firm management leaving the specialist legal talent to focus on working with clients, while the business is run by an experienced management team which Mark leads.  This model remains innovative in various aspects and reflects New Law thinking despite being 21 years old at Lowndes.

In 2007 Mark led Lowndes to be the first CarboNZero law firm in New Zealand, well ahead of its time. In 2017 Lowndes received recognition from Enviro-Mark Solutions for Outstanding Performance for Carbon Management in a Smaller Organisation.

Lowndes has a strong international footprint with over a third of our work coming from overseas clients. Mark leads Lowndes’ main international relationships. The firm is the sole New Zealand representative of Multilaw (ranked as an Elite international law firm network by Chambers and of which Mark was a recent global Chair), Legalink (ranked as a Leading network by Chambers) and the International Network of Boutique and Independent Law Firms. Mark is Vice Chair of the Legal Practice Committee of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association. Lowndes is also a member of the Nextlaw network.

For a number of years Lowndes has run the flexible Parents-in-Law programme the creation of which Mark led to enable parents to focus on meeting client needs and not on where and when they work. In 2016 NZ Lawyer ran an article on this programme.

Focussing on the Gender Equality Charter guidelines, a recent internal audit demonstrated that Lowndes already achieves pay parity.  We are also focussed on gender balance at board meetings which by November this year will be 40% female.

Last year Mark initiated a programme which is an ongoing conversation with our lawyers and support staff to discuss what we want in a law firm.  This has already led to some worthwhile staff-led improvements and is ongoing.

In the end however a law firm’s strength is measured by the quality of the legal team. The strong focus on management and innovation has helped to attract a leading team of directors and other talented lawyers who are legal experts executing sophisticated and complex specialist work for sought after clients.

Congratulations Mark, well deserved.  And congratulations to the other finalists.


Lowndes is an award winning corporate and commercial law firm with offices in the heart of Auckland and Wellington. The firm serves local and international companies and investors doing business in New Zealand.

We are recognised for our technical expertise and exceptional client service including high levels of responsiveness and reliability, accessibility of our lawyers, and an unwavering focus on what matters – our clients’ commercial outcomes.