Our Christchurch law firm office is divided into teams.
The Property and Commercial teams deal with residential and commercial land transactions, family trusts, wills and estate planning, tax law, company law, mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, commercial financing, and complex land development projects.
Our Litigation team deals with proceedings in all Courts and Tribunals, including insolvency, employment law, insurance law, criminal and family law, traffic offences, complex contractual and liability litigation. We also have specialists in family law, relationship property, and immigration.
Our main CBD office is situated at 131 Victoria Street, Christchurch and we also have fully staffed offices at Bishopdale, Ferrymead, and Wigram.The majority of the partners practise from the main office and partners are also located at each of the branches.
Saunders & Co has a broad range of clients, ranging from private individuals and families through to large companies, statutory bodies and local iwi.
We have the optimal experience mix to suit your requirements – senior lawyers offering wisdom and know-how, matched with younger lawyers accustomed to innovation and a can-do attitude.
Theory can often be a far cry from commercial reality. We are real-world lawyers offering practical solutions that will work for you.
We insist on professional excellence across the firm. Simply put, we know our stuff and embrace a “learning for life” philosophy.
Many issues are multi-faceted. We can ensure all the bases are covered with a comprehensive in-house approach.
Whilst we do have lives outside of work, we are contactable as much as possible.
Your feedback is invaluable to us in maintaining our service standards and we welcome all comments and suggestions, complimentary or otherwise.
There are a number of ways you can assist us in providing you with value in a cost effective manner:
If you are prepared to let a range of our staff manage your affairs we can ensure your requirements are met by the right level of qualifications, experience and availability to do the job. We welcome your preference for a particular lawyer and you will never be sent “down the hall” against your wishes. However, a different lawyer from time to time may save you money and get the job done more quickly in some circumstances. This also gives you an opportunity to meet a variety of lawyers and see what style and personality best suits you.
The old adage of the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff rings no truer than in law. Timing can be everything and it is essential you contact your lawyer as soon as a problem or opportunity arises. This can often save you additional expense, and worry.
Depending on the nature of your instructions to us, there may be many documents and pieces of information you have collected prior to our involvement. The more you can arrange these in a logical and complete order, the easier it is for us to assess your requirements or situation.
Lawyers are skilled in law and their time is not optimised if tied up in substantial administrative tasks. Whilst not always practical, these may be able to be undertaken or assisted by you, resulting in cost savings. Discuss this option with your lawyer at the commencement of our engagement.
There will be several times during our engagement that we will need to make contact with you. By providing us with a variety of communication options and responding to those promptly, we can keep your work progressing and save time.
Clear and full instructions avoids unnecessary delay, rework and misunderstanding. Depending on how detailed your requirements are, written instructions are a useful addendum to any oral instructions, preventing the need for us to recreate in memo form.
All of these suggestions will help us manage your file more efficiently, and will often result in quicker turnaround and lower fees to you.
Saunders & Co is mindful of allowing community and not for profit organisations to access quality advice and skills that would otherwise be unaffordable or a significant drain on their resources.
We support the following organisations in a number of ways including pro bono or discounted legal advice, board representation, and advocacy:
Nurse Maude Association
Christchurch Football Club Inc
Waimari Tennis Club Inc
Bowel & Liver Trust
Repertory Theatre Society
Malthouse Theatre Trust
Christchurch Music Theatre Education Trust
Christchurch Early Intervention Trust
Bevan Werry Memorial Trust
NZ Mathematics Enrichment Trust
Christchurch Golf Club
Windsor Golf Club
Southern Centre Trust
Southern Ballet Foundation
Te Whatu Ora - Waitaha Canterbury (previously CDHB)
Fire and Emergency NZ
Saunders & Co was founded by Robert Louis (R L) Saunders who was originally a licensed land broker. Mr Saunders later became qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor and commenced practice in 1923 with a staff of two.
The practice was first housed in Hereford Court, on Hereford Street between Colombo Street and Oxford Terrace. The staff numbers grew as the practice expanded until, in the late 1920s, Mr Saunders employed 13 staff. One particular employee, by the name and title of Baron de Montalk apparently found the hurly burly of legal practice in the colonies not to his liking, so returned to England to become, in later life, a poet of some note.
The firm was then guided through the depression years of the 1930s by Robert Childers (Bob) Saunders, son of the founder. In due course, the number of partners grew, and by the end of the 1950s the firm comprised three partners. During this time there was an emphasis on conveyancing, estates and involvement with large residential developments. In the mid 1970s the firm took the decision to increase its common law and litigation expertise, an area now forming an integral part of the practice. It was at this stage that - now retired partners – Cran Bull, Robin McSporran, and Phil James commenced their enduring legal careers with the firm. Geoff Saunders, son of Bob Saunders also formed an integral part of this defining alumni, joining in 1976 and becoming the third generation of Saunders to practise here. In the late 90s Geoff proceeded to form his own successful law firm currently known as Saunders Robinson Brown.
In the volatile economic years of the 1980s the firm continued to grow and, while continuing to offer the broadest range of services, specialised in many areas with an emphasis on commercial and corporate advice, civil litigation, insurance work, insolvency and property law. This period also saw the addition of two long standing and influential partners in the form of David Lang and Ben Frampton, the latter retiring from practice in 2022.
The next major step for the firm involved broadening its service access base with the introduction of suburban offices in Ferrymead and Hornby (now based at Wigram), and most recently Papanui. This was a common strategy of the day and, although many firms have since retrenched from direct suburban involvement, it continues to be one of the defining aspects of Saunders & Co, while still maintaining a strong inner city presence.
The new millennium saw Saunders & Co emerge as a resilient and cohesive firm, embracing new information technologies and work practices such as Landonline electronic registrations, real-time banking systems, and remote workplace. The practice has steadily grown its existing client-base in conjunction with the incorporation of the Wood Marshall practice in 2002, Michael Kirkland (formerly of Malley & Co) in 2005, Paul Coghlan (formerly of Coghlan Smith) in 2011 and Bishopdale Law in 2022.
The “tenties and twenties” has seen Saunders & Co cement its place as one of Canterbury’s true general practice law firms with specialists added in the immigration consultancy, taxation, intellectual property and resource management fields. It was also during this period that the firm carved out an enviable reputation as experts in large scale property development and subdivision, under the guidance of Senior Partner, David Lang.
Shaken from its former offices at 227 Cambridge Terrace, directly alongside the PGG building earthquake tragedy, Saunders & Co regrouped to a new CBD location in Victoria Street during 2013. It has been an active participant in the ongoing Christchurch rebuild, assisting private and business clients developing new properties, entering building contracts, resolving insurance disputes, in addition to the “business as usual” affairs of resilient Cantabrians.
The firm was,already well-placed to weather the storm of the COVID-19 crisis, adapting well to remote workplace and communication channels, with many of the required technologies and infrastructure investment already in place. It also took quiet satisfaction in not making any redundancies or reductions in staff remuneration during this period.
2023 sees Saunders & Co complete and celebrate its 100th year of business in its various guises, joining other notable Canterbury firms Duncan Cotterill, Malley & Co, Meares Williams, Wynn Williams, and Harmans in this feat. The partners and staff of yesteryear would likely find the present day firm unrecognisable. Where are all your files, the typing pool, jackets and ties, they ask? Why are there dogs roaming about? What on earth is a bootcamp? It begs the question what might mystify our present day staff in the future Saunders & Co, but for now we are just happy to be busy building that future.