Best possible outcomes for clients

Patterson Legal specialises in designing commercial transactions and taxation law. Our promise is to deliver the best possible outcomes for each client we serve, by at all times:

  • Understanding each client’s commercial goals/challenge
  • Delivering practical solutions through technical excellence, craftsmanship, creativity, and first class service.

Areas of Speciality

Income tax and GST advice, with particular focus on corporate and international tax.

Resolution of tax disputes with IRD, including in the last resort by way of litigation.

Implementing commercial transactions and design of commercial structures.

Issues for closely-held private companies, including financing, business succession planning, shareholder agreements and use of family trusts.

“A great ally to have in a tax dispute with IRD – did all that could be done and negotiated a favourable and pragmatic settlement with IRD”
“Very experienced, personable, well connected and commercial”
“Very timely and practical advice within compressed deadlines.”


As one of New Zealand’s leading tax lawyers, David has a proven track record of delivering best possible outcomes for clients. He advises on all aspects of income tax and GST:

  • Tax advisory, including legal opinions
  • Tax aspects in drafting of legal documentation, in particular in relation to property sales and purchases, business sales and purchases, cross-border investment, financing
  • Obtaining IRD binding rulings
  • IRD tax audits and tax disputes, including negotiating settlements with IRD or, in the last resort, tax litigation against IRD
  • Submissions in relation to tax policy and legislative tax reform


With a proven track record of over 35 years, David has led and been a member of multidisciplinary teams that have delivered complex projects on time and to client requirements. He has given commercial and tax advice on, and negotiated and helped document, a wide range of commercial arrangements – including financings, acquisitions, business succession planning, shareholder agreements, employee share schemes, governance and ownership arrangements, and use of family trusts.

Where necessary and/or desirable, David also has a wide network of top quality specialist commercial lawyers in other firms who will work in collaboration with Patterson Legal to complete commercial transactions.

Submissions to Government

Submissions to government on policy/implementation and to Parliament on legislation

Patterson Legal will make submissions on policy issues and legislation with the aim of helping to move the dial on an ambitious New Zealand that maximises opportunities for all Kiwis to shine their light. This is built on a foundation of submitting to Government/Parliament on tax policy/tax bills over a 30 year period; and roles as a member of the Government Tax Review 2001 and as Chair National Party Policy Consultation (2004-2019).

David Patterson

Extensive experience as a tax and commercial lawyer:

  • Chapman Tripp (2014-2022 partner; 2010-2014 consultant)
  • Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (1990-2010 partner; 2002-2008 Chair)
  • Davis Polk (NYC and Paris, 1985-1990)


  • Barrister & Solicitor (NZ)
  • Admitted as an attorney in New York (1986)
  • BCA, LLB ( Hons) (VUW)
  • LLM (Harvard)

David is a member of the International Fiscal Association, NZ Branch (and a former Chair). He was a member of the Government’s Tax Review 2001. He is ranked in international directories such as Legal 500 Asia Pacific and is a co-author of Bloomberg BNA’s international Tax Management Portfolio for New Zealand entitled “Business Operations in NZ”.

Practical Governance Experience

Governance Experience

  • Dingle Foundation Wellington (2020 to date: Chair)
  • Wellington Tennis (2014 to date: Chair)
  • Fulbright NZ (2008-2020: Deputy Chair, Chair and Treasurer)
  • Tennis NZ (2007-2013: Chair; 2002-2013: board member)
  • Minter Ellison Rudd Watts (2002-2008: Chair)
  • Solid Energy (2010-2013: Director)
  • National Party Policy Consultation (2004-2019: Chair)

Pro Bono

Patterson Legal takes on a discrete number of pro bono/low fee clients who need legal help but cannot afford to pay for it. We believe that quality legal advice should be available to all. Experience in the last 10 years includes matters in the following legal areas: matrimonial property and custody of children; immigration; property; Family Protection Act; wills; intestacy; discretionary trust disputes; defending tax prosecutions.