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Kirsten Massey



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Kirsten is a commercial litigation and dispute resolution specialist, with particular expertise in class actions, financial services litigation and professional negligence disputes. She also has experience in restructuring, turnaround and insolvency.

Before returning to Russell McVeagh in 2020, Kirsten worked in London for 15 years at international law firm Herbert Smith Freehills, where she became a partner in 2009. Kirsten advised on some of the largest cases in the Commercial Court of England and Wales, including advising Chevron in a £1 billion class action and Royal Bank of Scotland in its £4 billion shareholder class action, following the bank's near collapse and government bailout. She has also been involved in a number of significant professional negligence cases, defending directors, accountants and lawyers.

Kirsten delivers invaluable advice and a distinguished quality of service, and was recognised for her involvement on the RBS litigation by The Lawyer Hot 100 (2018), which lists the most daring, innovative and creative lawyers in the UK. Kirsten is recognised in the Best Lawyers® New Zealand 2024 Guide for Insolvency and Reorganisation Law and in the Benchmark Litigation 2022 Guide as a 'Litigation Star'. She has also been recognised in the UK by The Legal 500 as a Leading Individual in Banking Litigation, by The Times as a Lawyer of the Week in 2017, and as a named individual as part of her firm's ranking as the Number One Law Firm for Commercial Dispute Resolution by The Times' Best Law Firms 2019.


Kirsten's recent work includes:

  • Advising TSB Bank following its well-publicised IT issues, including advice in relation to Treasury Select Committee hearings and related internal and external investigations.
  • Representing RBS in its landmark shareholder rights issue litigation, following the near collapse and government bailout of the bank in October 2008.
  • Conducting an investigation for Ted Baker Plc, following allegations of misconduct against its CEO.
  • Advising two leading Queen's Counsel in relation to a potential £1 billion professional negligence claim.
  • Advising a leading accountancy firm with respect to a threatened £40 million professional negligence claim arising from their advice on a large-scale acquisition transaction.
  • Representing the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (the UK's statutory investor compensation scheme) in relation to large-scale High Court litigation and related advisory work.
  • Advising a major financial institution on the recovery of its £300 million investment in a failed structured finance transaction.


LLB (Hons First Class), BSc, Law and Psychology, University of Otago.


Kirsten returned to Russell McVeagh in February 2020 from Herbert Smith Freehills, where she worked in the firm's dispute resolution practice in London for almost 15 years, the last 10 of these as a partner. Before moving to London in 2004, she was an associate at Russell McVeagh for three years, following two years as a clerk at the Court of Appeal in Wellington.

Kirsten co-authored the New Zealand chapter of the Enforcement of Judgments 2022: A Chambers Global Practice Guide.

Kirsten is member of Global Women, a collective of ambassadors for Global Women with the goal of driving diversity in leadership in Aotearoa New Zealand.

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