John Elwood

What I love about my job is helping parties come together to achieve great things. I get to understand what both parties want to achieve and what could get in their way. Then I package it up as simply as possible in an agreement that gives everyone what they want, appropriately allocates risk and is legally robust. Every situation is different and there are always new challenges. Having the opportunity to help in that way is just awesome.

My work experience has been a mixture of commerce and law. Russell McVeagh in Wellington was where I spent my first three professional years working as a law clerk and lawyer in their property and corporate teams. In the early 1990s I moved to London and devoted 10 years to work outside “the law”, in ICT commercial and procurement roles at Bankers Trust, British Telecom, BP Amoco, and UBS Warburg.

By the time I returned to New Zealand, my practical experience had attracted the interest of Chapman Tripp, and I spent the next 5 years becoming a lawyer again as part of their ICT team. At the end of this time I followed my passion for science into a two-year, part-time role as sole in-house legal advisor to the Ministry of Research, Science and Technology (as it was then). At the same time I established my own consulting firm, which over the last 7 years has evolved into Elwood Law.

Elwood Law has taken me into some fascinating work – research and development projects, system acquisitions, syndicated procurements, outsourcing deals, and public/private partnerships. I am also a regular team member in gateway reviews of large New Zealand public sector projects. I have presented on many topics such as software testing, intellectual property, open source software, and best practice contract negotiations.

The varied positions I’ve held over the years have given me a deep understanding of the role contracts play within organisations and between them, and I am passionate about making the contracting processes better, faster and cheaper.


Degrees: BCA, LLB
Admitted: 1990 (New Zealand) and 1996 (England and Wales)

Contact John Elwood

Elwood Law Limited
Level 8
23 Waring Taylor Street
PO Box 25 058
Wellington 6146
Direct dial: +64 4 831 1367
Mobile: 027 547 0775

About Elwood Law

Established in 2010, Elwood Law is a niche, Wellington-based firm with a steadily growing reputation and client base. Its talented lawyers work mainly for public sector organisations and focus on commercial and public law – from high-level strategy to detailed advice. They have worked on many high-profile procurements, complex technology and funding contracts, law reform initiatives and public private partnerships. Elwood Law is a member of the All-of-Government External Legal Services panel.

John’s areas of practice

Technology law
Procurement and contracting
Intellectual property