Virginia first joined the partners of Fee Langstone at Jones Fee in 1999, after graduating from the University of Otago with BA and LLB degrees. As a junior lawyer she gained litigation experience with all types of liability and professional indemnity claims and general insurance related issues.
In 2001, Virginia set off for the United Kingdom. What was intended to be a working holiday turned into nearly a decade in London where she gained invaluable insurance litigation experience working at two well-regarded practices specialising primarily in professional indemnity claims. Virginia was admitted as a solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales in January 2003.
In May 2011 Virginia re-joined Jones Fee. She now specialises in insurance litigation and advice with an emphasis on liability claims (particularly professional indemnity) fire and general insurance (including earthquake claims) and policy coverage. Virginia enjoys being back at the firm where she started, tackling difficult legal issues and finding commercial and pragmatic ways to resolve issues.
Work highlights in NZ
- Successfully defended a claim brought by a real estate agent against a firm of solicitors in relation to a sale & purchase agreement (Messenger v Stanaway & Ors).
- Acted for a valuer in the defence of a number of claims brought by a lender on the grounds that the valuations were negligent.
- Acted on behalf of an insurance broker in relation to a claim that it failed to obtain sufficient cover leaving the client insufficiently insured in the Canterbury Earthquakes (resolved through mediation).
- Assisting with the drafting of a “new to market” home, contents and motor insurance policy for a major NZ insurer.
- Assisting various professionals in relation to complaints made to their regulatory bodies (in particular solicitors, accountants and immigration advisors).
- Assisting insurers in responding to complaints made to the Insurance & Savings Ombudsman.
- Advising insurer clients on the many issues arising out of the Canterbury earthquakes.
- A two month (part time) secondment at a major insurance company to cover the Financial Lines/Casualty Claims Specialist role until a permanent replacement was found.
Work highlights in the UK
- Acted for a firm of architects in the successful recovery of outstanding fees and the defence of a counterclaim alleging that the work undertaken by the architect was negligent.
- Defended adjudication proceedings issued against a firm of asbestos surveyors alleging that they had failed to identify asbestos in a large housing estate.
- Acted on behalf of a structural engineer in a claim arising out of the alleged negligent design of a large tenpin bowling and event centre.
- Acted for an insurance broker in the defence of proceedings relating to the placement of Bankers Blanket Bond insurance for a South American bank.
- Member of a team acting for the applicant (an American engineering firm) in a US$100 International Construction (ICC) arbitration relating to the design of a sulphur recovery unit.
- Acted for the applicant in a reinsurance arbitration between an insurer client and its reinsurer where the reinsurer disputed the terms of the contract.
- Acted on many product liability cases including defending two large pharmaceutical companies.
- Had a three month part time secondment in the professional indemnity claims team at WR Berkley.
- Presented risk management seminars at the Insurance Advisernet Training Days held in Auckland, Wellington & Queenstown in 2012.
- New Zealand Law Society
- Women’s Law Association
- New Zealand Insurance Law Association (NZILA)