Mai Chen may not yet have reached the “Power List” top position, but she is undoubtedly one of New Zealand’s highest-profile lawyers, combining her public law position with writing, lecturing and a range of other activities that see the diminutive figure of Mai Chen stride the New Zealand political and legal stage.
Few New Zealand lawyers have achieved their own Wikipedia pages replete with details of their legal and commercial exploits, but Mai Chen’s accomplishments and boundless ambition and energy have resulted in a range of significant achievements ranging from her University of Otago attendance, where she graduated first equal with her first class honours degree to setting up her law firm with none other than former Prime Minister and fellow Power Lister Sir Geoffrey Palmer QC in 1994.
The eponymous law firm, from which her partner Palmer retired in 2002 when he turned 60, has represented an array of high profile clients with a particular effectiveness representing disgruntled groups seeking public law redress.
An author of the “Public Law Toolbox” published by LexisNexis, and an adjunct Professor at University of Auckland, she has also found time to act as Chair of New Zealand Asian Leaders (she was born in Taipei and came to New Zealand as a six-year-old in 1970), she was also appointed as a director of the BNZ in 2015. She has also undertaken a range of pro bono work for a range of groups ranging from the Auckland Zoo to a Wellington school for teenage parents.
She opened her firm’s office in Auckland in 2013 and now lives in the Queen City and is married to Dr John Sinclair with one son.