are a SPECIALIST GENERAL/LEGAL PRACTICE.
specialise in keeping our clients satisfied!
When Alex started out at 21 in 1970 young
lawyers were given the opportunity and challenge to take on all kinds of legal work.
Those days have long gone. Today, young lawyers must specialise to cope with the
complexities of the law. Alex has been fortunate to have been exposed to a very wide
range of work. He has long had something of the actor in him and enjoys the cut and
thrust of legal argument on his feet in the Courtroom. He can claim worthy successes
in litigation in the Court of Appeal, the High Court, District Courts and Employment Court
and many other Tribunals from town planning to employment. Having said that, the
financial and emotional cost of litigation to the client is such that Alex prefers to
achieve a mediated result that resolves problems as expediently as possible.
Over 38 years of
legal practice, many of Alex's clients have become friends and he recognises that as both
a privilege and a pleasure. The whole office thrives on an ambience of
friendliness. A happy legal team results in happy clients!
We can assist you
in the following areas
pride ourselves in the service we can offer in helping people through what is usually the
most important financial investment in their lives.
we prefer to be able to see a contract, whether for sale or purchase, before it is
signed. If a real estate agent faxes a draft contract we give it urgent
attention. We won't let you lose a deal while we pour over the fine print!
While real estate agents often do a sterling job in putting contracts together, they do
not have our legal training and may not appreciate some of the nuances or difficulties
that can arise when clauses are not clearly drafted or even not included at all.
It is amazing how often what
starts out as a simple transaction can become complicated when something of concern arises
late in the piece. Murphy's Law being what it is, that is usually the day before
settlement! We are willing and able to throw all our resources into ensuring that
difficulties are overcome and that settlement takes place on due date and if at all
possible at the appointed time to suit the removal trucks!
We have considerable experience in
handling cross-leasesub divisions and in strata titlingor unit
titlingand of course sub divisions.
Where planning approvals are
required, if a notified application is necessary then Alex has the necessary experience to
appear before either the relevant local authority or, if necessary, before the Environment
Court. If the case is particularly complicated then specialists are available to
Alex has a special interest in
acting for private companies where the directors are tired of being pushed from pillar to
post among the personnel of large city, glass tower firms. Alex is happy to get in
his car and visit clients in their office, in their yards, their factories or even in some
cases their quarries! His pragmatic and down to earth approach enables him to move
as easily and effectively with men in muddy work boots (women don't wear them!) as men and
women in executive suits!
We have the expertise and ability
to handle effectively and efficiently commercial transactions, whether millions or merely
thousands of dollars are involved.
We can assist in raising
finance or handling the documentation where you have arranged finance yourself.
Banks are normally happy to instruct us to act for them also, thereby reducing your costs.
If we arrange finance for you
through ASB Bank Limited we receive a commission that otherwise might go to a mortgage
broker. We share that commission with you - effectively reducing your legal fees -
Money to invest? We can
give sound general advice based on many years of practical experience.
Amongst other things, Alex has
been involved in matrimonial law for most of his years in practice. These days his
involvement tends to be with matrimonial property issues or serious contested
Susan Howard has considerable
expertise in the stressful matrimonial area too. She has a special ability to
empathise with and support people struggling with the difficulties and trauma of a
matrimonial dispute. When battle is inevitable Alex takes the Courtroom floor and together
with Sue they are a formidable team!
Currently we are assisting
with more than 250 family trusts we have set up. We have systems in place which give
us the capacity to handle many more. We have a linkage with an expert Trust Service
that in turn is associated with Russell McVeagh, solicitors, the largest law firm in the
country, which provides updating, precedent and advisory services at no additional cost to
you, the client. There are many different reasons why it may prove to be
advantageous to form a family trust. These are best discussed at interview with Alex
*. You will be surprised how straight forward it can be and how relatively
inexpensive. We have taken the mystique out of it!
* or Sue
We are experienced in acting
for clients who are either selling or buying businesses, large or small. You will
get practical advice that is not restricted to examining the fine print of the lease!
Over recent years, Alex has
become increasingly involved in employment related issues. While predominantly he
acts for employers, that gives him an edge on those occasions when called upon to act and
advise employees. You should not hesitate to have us peruse an employment contract,
or if you are an employer, to draft one.
If you are an employer, it is
critical that you obtain legal advice before taking disciplinary action with an employee
and especially in the event of a dismissal situation. Alex prides himself on being
able to mediate out disputes in this area. However, on those occasions when a matter
must go to a hearing we have the experience to put forward your case effectively and so as
to achieve the best possible outcome.
Wills are important.
Mistakes or misunderstandings can be costly, both emotionally and financially for your
heirs. It is important that your Will is carefully drafted so as to ensure, as far
as possible, that it will not be attacked from some quarter following your death.
Straight forward Wills can often
be prepared from telephone instructions and for a very modest cost indeed.
Where someone else has
prepared the Will which governs the Estate of one of your family members who has died and
you have not been properly provided for, then we can assist you in either negotiating for
a fairer share or if necessary to bring a family protection claim before the Court.
Equally, if you are a trustee or a beneficiary having to defend a family protection claim,
we are well placed to assist you.
Coping with the death of a
loved one is never easy. If you are confronted with that situation we are able to
assist you in every possible way, even if that involves us in attending to funeral
Once the funeral is over and you
must turn to more practical matters resolving the Estate, again, we are very well placed
to assist you in administering the Estate from start to finish. We pride ourselves
in obtaining Probate from the High Court (the authority to enable you to administer the
Will) quickly and efficiently. This is very important so that you can gain access to
Bank accounts and so on at the earliest possible opportunity.
You will find us able to look
after you sensitively and expeditiously at a difficult emotional time.
Over the years we have been
involved in a considerable volume of civil litigation - Court proceedings. These
range from the District Court where only a few thousand dollars are involved (although
these days minor disputes are being steered towards the Disputes Tribunal for economic
reasons) or in the High Court where millions may be involved. Alex has experience as
an advocate/barrister before the High Court of Appeal*. These days, the litigation
pressures on major matters are such that it may be necessary to brief a specialist
barrister to assist or take over a case. Where this is appropriate, Alex's
experience over 38 years of litigation makes him particularly well placed to effectively
instruct and assist a specialist barrister to actually conduct the litigation before the
* And the Privy Council in London
Litigating disputes in the
Courts has become so time consuming and expensive that it is usually preferable to achieve
a mediated solution to a dispute as soon as possible. Alex has considerable
experience with mediations and is well placed to advise you how to take advantage of this
process. The success rate from mediations is remarkably high and if parties can be
steered to mediation there is a very strong prospect of being able to settle a dispute
themselves without having a result forced upon them by the Court.
If you get caught in a
situation where the police are involved whether for alleged traffic or criminal offending
you should not hesitate to contact Alex at the earliest possible opportunity.
Believe it or not, having Alex plead your cause before the Judge can make a dramatic
difference to the outcome - in your favour!
The days when Alex conducted
lengthy criminal trials are largely over because of the demands of the practice
generally. Nevertheless, his long experience in handling these matters pragmatically
will enable him to ensure you get the best possible defence with a specialist barrister.
Whether you are a large or
small company or a small trader business, debt collection can be a real frustration.
We achieve good results by communicating effectively with debtors at an early stage.
If necessary, we can pursue a debt through to the winding up of a company by the High
Court or steering a difficult debtor to payment with the threat of bankruptcy proceedings.
At any one time we
usually hold more than $5 million of clients' monies on trust for them. We
have a very efficient computerisedbanking system that enables us to place your monies on
term deposit without even leaving the office! The funds are usually placed in a call
account where the daily rate of interest has a modest margin over and above what you are
likely to get from the Bank if you went in off the street. That is because of the
sheer volume of funds that we maintain with the Bank.
Funds are placed on term deposit
for short or long periods. Sometimes, a house sale may settle on a Friday afternoon
just before 5pm. We can hold the funds on term deposit over the weekend earning you
interest until you can take possession of them to your own account on the Monday.
The only charge for the term
deposit service is a deduction of 5% of the interest earned (a very small fraction of the
interest you are actually earning).
Where you have funds which you
wish us to hold on term deposit for a month or more you should not hesitate to discuss
instructing us to negotiate a higher rate of interest than the call rate. We are
happy to negotiate this directly with the Bank to your best advantage. There is no
charge for this service over and above the standard administration costs referred to.
Alex became a marriage
celebrant in 1978 and performed his first marriage that year for two clients who were
Opera singers! Since then Alex has performed more than 120 marriages - often for
clients who enjoy the special drama and humour he is able to bring to the ceremony.
This is not an area of work that is sought out. The last thing that Alex needs to do
after a busy week in the law is to spend his weekend performing marriages! However,
it is always a special pleasure and privilege for him to be able to marry friends and good
clients and invariably a great time is had by all! 30 years as an advocate before
the Courts has given him the confidence and ability to conduct a marriage with special
flair. If you want Alex to perform a marriage ceremony for you, be prepared to
ensure that it is not only a ceremony but also an event!