I am stepping down as a director and owner of AlexanderDorrington. In fact, the resignation is effective from 31 March 2020. I will remain here, supporting the business in the short term and in particular as we manage our way through dealing with the lockdown in its different stages.

It has been a big decision, not least of all because the firm has been such an enormous part of my life for the last 20 plus years. Craig Alexander and I first opened the doors in November 1999. Rachael Stevenson was there too. The three of us were stepping into the great unknown. We had big plans and high aspirations, but we really didn’t know how it would all pan out.

In fact, it turned out to be wonderful. The business grew and AD transitioned from a three-person firm to 20 plus people over the years. In that time we have seen a lot of change, in how we have conducted business and in the personalities involved. We have seen a lot of stability too, especially with staff retention and with long-term client relationships.

Reaching my decision

Many people have asked me how I reached my decision. It was always clear that one day I would leave. From the beginning, Craig and I had talked openly about our ten-year plan. By year ten we aimed to move on and our successors would take over. We wanted to make sure the firm remained dynamic, modern, relevant and an exciting place to be. But by year ten it turned out I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want to go. The succession plan was well in place though. So the decision to be made was never whether to go, but when to go. I thought it was years away yet. Then COVID-19 changed the world and now became the time for making big decisions. I became of the view that the best thing for AlexanderDorrington was for me to resign as a director.

Having been away from the office on sabbatical, I knew the place ran extremely well without me. Denise and Jourdan have shown great leadership both in extremely busy times and then in extraordinary times. AD staff have met my clients’ needs well. They have developed great expertise. Having seen how this has worked, my expectation is that the transition to life at AlexanderDorrington without me will be smooth. I am confident that the firm will continue to evolve as a successful vibrant law firm with a reputation for outstanding legal advice.

What’s next?

There is no doubt that this is an end of an era, the end of a stage in the evolution of the firm. It is tinged with sadness and emotion but it is also exciting. I believe it imbues AlexanderDorrington with fresh energy.

I am excited too to see where this decision will lead me. It’s time to look for a new job, a new challenge, an opportunity to keep learning and to use the skills I have. Perhaps as in-house counsel, or working in and around climate change matters or social housing. Both are causes I am particularly interested in. I have unfinished business on my walk too. I was 531.8km shy of Bluff when I headed back to Auckland. That will need to be completed before too long.

I am excited, sad and proud of the firm and the way it has grown. I am nervous but also certain that my timing is perfect for AlexanderDorrington and for me.

By Debra Dorrington