Christchurch: CBD – (03) 379 7690 | Ferrymead – (03) 940 2435 | Hornby – (03) 349 5111


Technology is a fast growing and exciting sector, with its implementation now a key part of almost every business.

When it comes to tech start-ups there are some specific mechanisms that need to be put in place to ensure success when commercialising new ideas and software.

These include sourcing venture capital and taking on investors, protecting intellectual property, confidentiality agreements, software licensing, structuring and distribution agreements.

Negotiating these matters can be a risky and complex process for the uninitiated and why expert advice from our specialist legal team is critical from the outset.

We also provide a range of general business legal advice to technology clients at all stages of operation, including buying and selling of businesses and property, employment matters, tax advice, partnership agreements, succession planning, and risk identification.

As a firm, Saunders & Co has a strong interest in new technologies. We are investors in our own software platforms – the OneLaw practice module and Justly online wills software, so have a good understanding of how to approach an investment in technology and the challenges Start-ups face from protecting IP right through to exit.

One of our Partners, Toby Giles, has a significant understanding of the business operations of Internet Service Providers, having held governance positions on two major Telcos and is currently on the board of a Start-up.

7 Tips for Commercialisation

Our services to technology companies include:

  • Company formation and structuring
  • Co-founders agreements
  • Non-disclosure Agreements (NDA)
  • Intellectual Property (IP) Protection & Management
  • Freedom to Operate Assessment
  • Research & Development (R&D) Funding
  • Governance
  • Term Sheets
  • Capital raising
  • Shareholders Subscription Agreements
  • Share Schemes (ESOP)
  • Capital (Cap Table) structuring
  • Valuation models
  • Subscription agreements
  • Software as a Service (Saas) agreements
  • Joint Ventures
  • Due Diligence (DD)
  • Insurance requirements
  • Employment Agreements
  • Independent Contractors Agreements
  • Negotiation of sale (EXIT)

Examples of our recent work

  • Virginia Nichols, Senior Associate, is a member of Canterbury Tech and is currently working with a high-tech manufacturer in Christchurch to obtain Callaghan funding for their new R&D project.
  • Liam Glubb, Partner, recently completed a development agreement for an established local game studio to work with a smaller US company on a $1million new project.
  • Julia Johnston, Senior Associate, recently advised a tech firm on the tax considerations when expanding overseas.
  • Toby Giles, Partner, is a board member of, and provides governance expertise to, Justly NZ Limited. Justly is a high-tech legal software platform that has secured R&D project funding from Callaghan Innovation and has raised private equity seed funding of $1 million, including investment from the New Zealand Venture Investment Fund (NZVIF).

Get further advice from

Liam Glubb


Direct dial: +64 3 966 7710
Mobile: 021 026 19110
Office: CBD

I am a commercial and property specialist who joined Saunders & Co in 2016 after gaining extensive experience at a major Christchurch firm.  I have also worked overseas in the UK.  I was made a partner of the firm in 2018.

My client base covers a wide spectrum from corporates, to smaller ‘mum and dad’ business owners, property investors and private clients. I work with clients in buying and selling property; shares and businesses; negotiating a range of commercial documents such as shareholders agreements, franchise agreements and terms of trade; leasing; and commercial and residential subdivisions. My accounting degree allows me to clearly interpret financial information and work closely with accountants, bankers, and other financial professionals. I am also a member of the Canterbury Property Investors Association.

With a strong interest and background in business and property,  I have a great understanding of my clients’ needs, and enjoy working closely with them to help achieve their goals.  I have a particular interest in providing guidance and advice for new businesses on formation, ensuring that correct structuring and documentation are in place from the beginning and helping to connect new business owners with other professionals they might need.

When it comes to client contact, I tailor my approach and advice to the needs and experience of each individual. I endeavour to be approachable and adaptable, and always have my eye on the detail.

I specialise in the following areas:

Toby Giles


Direct dial: +64 3 963 1466
Mobile: 021 441 255
Assistant: Kathryn Whinray
Office: CBD

Nicky McCormick – Senior Legal Executive
Direct dial: +64 3 963 1452
Mobile: 021 564 259

I am an experienced Partner who joined Saunders & Co in 2003 and operate across the Commercial and Property teams.

My wide range of experience includes:

  • Significant exposure to the contracting industry, acting for major Canterbury civil contractors, quarries, demolition contractors, and transport and logistics companies.
  • Experience within the insurance industry with local brokerage companies, particularly merger and acquisition-based transactions.
  • Extensive property development background dealing with local iwi development, major developments in Christchurch, Queenstown, and Amberley, with greenfield residential, commercial, and supermarket developments.
  • Mergers and acquisitions (both national and international), share and asset sales, tenders and RFP processes, as well as prior experience within the Telco and ISP industries.

I advise across the business and commercial spectrum in all fields and am ably supported by Senior Legal Executive, Nicky McCormick. My style is to be as pragmatic and commercial as possible in all dealings and to work with a client to achieve their goals in a transaction

I hold a governance role with the Christchurch Rugby Football Club and I’m a delegate to the Canterbury Rugby Football Union (CRFU), a role that has exposed me to significant disciplinary and judicial representation experience. I have also held governance roles with a major Canterbury based Telco firm and a national consulting engineering company.

I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“Toby Giles has looked after me and Dormer Construction’s legal matters for several years. Toby is tremendous to deal with. He goes to great effort to ensure he understands the issues affecting our business. I know he always has our best interests at heart.

Another attribute I value is his promptness in dealing with urgent matters. I recall one particular time when an unforeseen matter arose and Toby put his dedication and focus to work instantly. The situation was settled within a very short time. Problem solved.

I have no hesitation in recommending Toby to other friends and colleagues.”
Peter Dormer, Director, Dormer Construction Ltd


“Toby Giles of Saunders and Co has been looking after the legal affairs of Amicus Group for a number of years. We have had a number of issues regarding changes in constitution, changes in ownership and other general legal questions that Toby has helped us with. We have also used Toby to check loan documentation and finance agreements that we use, and his advice in those areas has been top notch. Toby handles things with great efficiency, especially in responding to e-mails and phone calls.

We are happy to refer Toby to other colleagues as a trusted legal professional.”
David Gyde, Adviser/Director, Amicus Group Ltd

Virginia Nichols

Senior Associate

Direct Dial: +64 3 963 1463
Mobile: +64 27 449 8893
Assistant: Michaela Combe
Office: CBD

As well as being a lawyer, I am a Registered Trans-Tasman Patent Attorney, and a Registered Australian Trade Mark Attorney.  I worked for over 10 years in specialist patent attorney and IP firms before joining the team at Saunders & Co in 2015.

I advise local clients looking to protect and exploit the intangible assets in their business.  This may include all aspects of intellectual property, from simple matters, such as protecting a company name, to the complexities of protection of designs, brands, ideas, and inventions through copyright, trademarks, and patents.  If disputes arise, I work with clients to pursue commercially realistic solutions.

I also work for international clients looking to protect and maintain their IP rights in New Zealand and Australia, and with our full commercial and litigation teams, offer support in developing their business interests in New Zealand and enforcing their rights here.

Working with our commercial teams, I have experience in licensing intangible assets, and work to cover issues with intangibles that may arise during the sale and purchase of a business, or entering a franchise or distribution agreement.  I also undertake civil litigation work in the District Court and High Court, as well as IPONZ hearings.

A key aim is to provide clients with clear communication and regular updates throughout what can be a complex and unfamiliar process.

My technical background is in a BSc(Hons) in Physics and ME(Elec) from the University of Canterbury. My post-graduate work was in the Nanostructure Engineering Science and Technology (NEST) group, focussing on the fabrication and characterisation of wide band-gap semiconductors, particularly Gallium Nitride, which was one of the first materials used to make blue LEDs, and can be used to make UV detectors.  I enjoy learning how things work, and identifying and resolving issues.


I specialise in the following areas:

What My Clients Say

“Welhaus engaged Virginia Nichols of Saunders & Co to work on a case where we argued another party couldn’t monopolise a generic name for a process. From the outset, Virginia’s confidence, decisiveness and expertise in the field were evident and she quickly presented us with some good, clear options for moving forward. We appreciated her evidence-based approach, specific knowledge of the subject and willingness to dig deeper into the matter. This greatly helped our decision-making process and resulted in a speedy conclusion, achieved in just a few days. The process even proved inexpensive given Virginia’s efficiency. The experience of dealing with Virginia and Saunders & Co was refreshing and I have no hesitation in recommending them to others.”
Dan Tremewan, Welhaus


“I’d like to take this opportunity to personally recommend Virginia Nichols, currently a Senior Associate with the Christchurch legal firm Saunders & Co. It must be said that Virginia is a unique and special person. She is not only skilled and very capable at her craft – but better still she actually listens to the client, finds out their total requirements and then efficiently moulds their needs into a strong legal format. Importantly she is not afraid to advise her clients where she believes an aspect of their demands may be unreasonable or inappropriate, doing so with caring and a gentle yet firm approach. Virginia sees herself as a regular down to earth individual with a burn to help others and make a difference. She truly does that in spades!”
Bill Rodger 


CBD: 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch, NZ

Ferrymead: Unit 2, 987 Ferry Road, Christchurch, NZ

Hornby: 5 Goulding Avenue, Christchurch, NZ

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