James Varney


Albany Office
Business & Corporate
Contract Law
Company Incorporations and Structures
Intellectual Property
Sales and Acquisitions
Commercial and Contract Disputes
Resource Management
Personal Matters
Residential Property
Sub-Division Development
Commercial and Consumer Law
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While I help my clients with a wide range of legal issues I have developed, over 30 years of practise, very good practical skills and knowledge in the areas of commercial, property law and trusts.

I am able to understand concepts and get to the crux of issues quickly. My pragmatic and practical approach means that you can expect me to give you answers that will work commercially, and achieve the outcome you need. You can also expect me to respond quickly to your phone calls and emails, regardless of how busy I am.

I am lucky to have a number of longstanding clients who refer me to others and, because I tend to relate well to most people, I have built long term relationships and am loyal; an “old school” concept I know, but one I value greatly.

Twenty years ago I moved from the City to set up the North Shore practice of McVeagh Fleming starting from one man and we are now arguably the biggest practice north of the bridge (with over 30 lawyers and legal executives).  My concept was, and still is “a Queen Street firm in the suburbs”.

To my mind, the North Shore has its own identity and feel, and is a city of the size and commercial weight that individuals and business owners should not have to “cross the bridge” to get specialist legal (or other) advice. We are here on the Shore, we know the issues particular to the Shore and can factor these into the advice that we provide. The practice here offers the full gamut of legal services with degrees of specialisation in most areas, and the added benefit of back up from experienced specialists, particularly in the commercial area, from our city office. Our formula has worked well to date, and I don’t see that changing.


LLB, University of Auckland 1983


  • Advising a high profile family company on the North Shore on a family buy out, restructuring and on bringing in a major corporate as a shareholder. This involved dealing with an internal shareholder conflict which required the removal of two shareholders and restructuring the business into an acceptable form, so that the corporate would come on board. The company remains a client, and continues to perform very strongly.
  • Helping to set up the franchise for Waitakere United Football Club when the current National League was established. This included working with the principals to bring together 12 football clubs under one umbrella, and ensuring that both Soccer New Zealand and FIFA’s bid requirements were met – all on a very tight budget.
  • I act for a number of developers in the North Harbour region on a variety of matters, including acquisitions, subdivisions, funding, leasing and sales.


Throughout secondary school and Varsity, I worked a variety of holiday jobs, working on the wharves, driving trucks, working as a brush hand for a large commercial parking company, and working as a courier for the Education Department.  Anything for a dollar, and I would like to think those jobs helped me develop as a person, and the experience I gained continues to help me relate well to others in all walks of life.

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I left school, and although I fancied being a doctor, my chemistry and physics marks were not good enough. On the basis that no education is wasted, I drifted into law, graduated and had my one and only interview with McVeagh Fleming in 1982. I got the job and, in little more than three years, was fortunate enough to be made a partner.

Outside Interests

Apart from family, outside of work I have wide sporting interests, particularly soccer. I played 17 seasons in the National League for North Shore, and was lucky enough to win with that club the National League, Chatham Cup and Air New Zealand Cup. I represented Auckland at all levels, New Zealand Secondary Schools and New Zealand at indoor football.

I have also coached at all levels, junior, senior and representative, both men and women. The women are the most rewarding to coach.

I love contact sports, particularly league and rugby, and more latterly I have become interested in American Football.

I enjoy snow skiing, cycling, fishing and diving, which is about all age and the body will permit these days.



  • Honorary Solicitor for North Shore Association Football Club
  • Honorary Solicitor for Sport North Harbour
  • Assisting Soccer New Zealand with judicial matters

Main Practice Areas