Barrister thrives on 'intellectual challenge'

Published date27 May 2023
Publication titleOtago Daily Times: Web Edition Articles (New Zealand)
She calls herself a converted Dunedinite

When South African-born Taryn Gudmanz arrived in the city in 2007, she told her husband she would ''give it a go'' for a couple of years. She has been here ever since.

A senior barrister who specialises in commercial and civil litigation, Ms Gudmanz emigrated to New Zealand when she was 17. Her parents were seeking a better life for themselves and their children, and the family settled in Christchurch.

On reflection, she found it fascinating no-one suggested law to her as a potential career, despite being top in English, a dux scholar, editor of the school newspaper and president of the debating society.

On that basis, it seemed law would be a good option but there might have been more barriers to being a lawyer in South Africa, certainly as a woman, she said.

Initially, she enrolled at Canterbury University for a commerce degree, figuring it was a good foray into the world of business. In her first year, a law-slanted paper piqued her interest and it was what she described as that serendipity that led her to the law.

She graduated with a law degree with first class honours and a commerce degree and that accounting background had proven very valuable in her subsequent career, given there was so much accounting and maths involved in law, she said.

Ms Gudmanz began her career in 2002 in the Bell Gully litigation team in Wellington, where she gained experience in a wide range of complex commercial matters covering a range of industries, including pharmaceuticals, insurance, electricity, media and venture capital. She also had a secondment to Pharmac as legal counsel.

In 2005, she moved to London, where she joined the professional liability and commercial litigation department at Barlow Lyde & Gilbert (now Clyde & Co) and was admitted as a solicitor in 2006.

She acted for insurers in the London market advising on coverage issues and on negligence claims against solicitors, accountants, company directors and trustees. The value of claims was as high was $US100 million.

Experiences included going to Lloyd's of London and to the Privy Council where she was not arguing, but acting for the insurers - ''I literally fetched the coffee for the QC'' - and she got to hail a black cab and say ''Downing St, please''.

While in Wellington, she had met her now husband Regan, a Dunedin boy who had already done his OE and returned to Victoria University to study architecture.

He ''commuted'' sometimes to London to see her and visited...

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