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My name is Tom Fail. I am widely recognised as a person who is both great to work with and one of New Zealand's leading lawyers for project finance and banking.

I bring a sophisticated approach and a down to earth attitude to my work, even when structuring challenging and complex infrastructure projects and banking transactions.

My Experience

I have worked with many different types of clients and other advisers over the last twenty or so years on project finance and banking transactions in New Zealand and Asia.

I have been fortunate to have worked for four great law firms covering deals in a number of jurisdictions and lots of different industrial sectors. I have learnt from working on many transactions that, while there are some differences between sectors, fundamental bankability principles remain fairly consistent.

In my banking roles, I have worked on corporate finance, leverage finance and deals with distressed borrowers and brought my problem solving and deal-doing approach to all of them. I am particularly proud though of the various “first of their kind” deals that I have worked on in the past (whether it be New Zealand’s first PPP, first rural irrigation project financing or the bulk infrastructure financing model used at Milldale).

In my spare time, I try to keep fit and I enjoy fishing and skiing. I haven’t been overly successful in any of those so far. They remain aspirational.

My Past Projects

Discover my featured past projects and transactions.


International individual recognition examples

Legal directory recognition

Clients laud him as:
“One of the leading finance lawyers in New Zealand”.
– Chambers Asia Pacific

“From Tom, you get clarity on what the issue is.”
– Chambers Asia Pacific

Tom Fail is highlighted for his representation of financial organisations in relation to PPP financings and acting for borrowers on secured lending transactions. One client reports:
“He is a good all-rounder who understands the commercial and financial requirements of the client.”
– Chambers Asia Pacific

How I work - in brief


I carefully identify issues, questions, and tasks and suggest how to resolve, answer, or complete them with a creative approach.

Thriving on complexity

I am at my best working on complex and challenging projects and transactions. 

Naturally proactive

I look for work opportunities and want to be involved in exciting or novel transactions.

Driven by efficiency and results

With my approach, I aim to make things efficient, simplify deal execution and reduce the risk of time and cost expansion.

Why partner with me?

My grounded nature also brings an approach to building relationships across deal teams - this enables people to work together to solve issues.

I am known for my understanding of what makes projects and transactions bankable, what various stakeholders need and how to solve project and financing issues efficiently.

That “cut-through” ability is valuable for my clients who are working on projects and transactions that are not straightforward and which normally have time and cost imperatives.

Get in touch


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