Richard Wells


Richard is a commercial lawyer with broad experience gained from both in-house and private practice roles in several jurisdictions.

He is sought after to help clients establish new ventures, commercialise technology, assess risk, and resolve any problems arising while pursuing their goals. His experience spans the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT), health, privacy, consumer, charitable, and sport sectors.

An expert legal draftsperson and trouble-shooter, Richard assists with issues arising at all stages in a product lifecycle. He enjoys first understanding and then helping bring his clients’ objectives to life through clear and concise contracts. His wide commercial contracting experience includes procurement, licensing arrangements, research agreements, and commercialisation of new technology and intellectual property both in New Zealand and overseas.

Renowned for his calm approach to critical situations, Richard also helps his clients mitigate risk and contractual exposure when things go wrong. He has helped manage some of the most high-profile and significant data breach and cyber security episodes in New Zealand. He is experienced in all areas of privacy and data protection law and regularly deals with complaints and regulator enquiries, including those brought by the Office of the New Zealand Privacy Commissioner.

Richard’s clients include significant media organisations including state broadcaster Television New Zealand, the Radio Broadcasters Association, MediaWorks, and leading digital agencies. He advises charitable and not-for-profit organisations such as the SPCA and The Lion Foundation. He is also a trusted adviser to several national sporting organisations and is highly regarded for his expertise in relation to Major Events. This expertise carries though to roles as Chair of the Elite Selection Committee for Triathlon NZ and, formerly, as Deputy Chair of the NZ Events Association (NZEA).

Ranked as one of New Zealand’s leading TMT and Sports and Events lawyers by legal directory Chambers Asia-Pacific, Richard is praised by clients for his prompt, practical, and easy to understand advice. He has been described as an “excellent communicator. He combines a personable demeanour with detailed legal knowledge and offers his clients timely and practical legal advice” - The Legal 500 Asia Pacific 2022. As another client says, Richard “gives quick, concise and accurate advice and is great to deal with as we can be comfortable that we will have a quick response with good answers" - Chambers Asia-Pacific 2022.

Richard has significant international experience, having worked at Linklaters and as in-house IP counsel for De Beers Group in London, handling De Beers’ international IP portfolio and famous brands.

Career highlights

Responding to some of the largest and most significant data security incidents in New Zealand.

Acting for Brandon Capital, a seed and capital venture investor focusing in New Zealand on the animal health and life science sector. In each case we assisted with drafting and negotiating not only subscription and shareholding arrangements but also licensing arrangements in respect of the relevant technology.

Advising on the terms of the media rights agreement with Amazon for the grant of exclusive rights to transmit and use audio visual coverage of the New Zealand Men’s and New Zealand Women’s International cricket matches played in New Zealand (or in any location where New Zealand is considered the home side) on multiple media platforms within India.

Assisting Sport New Zealand in the RFP, contracting and negotiation of a new Sport and Recreation Complaints and Mediation Service (SRCMS) funded by Sport New Zealand and rolled out nationally.

Advising a variety of clients on licensing arrangements, research agreements and commercialisation of new technology. Assisting clients in understanding their contractual needs when working with suppliers for the development of new technology and software.

  • Chair, Elite Selection Panel, Triathlon New Zealand
  • Board Member, MinterEllisonRuddWatts
Achievements and recognition
  • Band 1, Sports Law, Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Recognised, Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT) , Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Band 1 team, Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT), Chambers Asia-Pacific
  • Tier 1 team, Technology, Media & Telecommunications (TMT), The Legal 500 Asia-Pacific
  • Recognised, Corporate Law, Best Lawyers