Private Client & Trust
I completed my law degree at the University of Otago in 1979 after having spent a period working for what was then known as The New Zealand Tourist & Publicity Department, including secondment to Brisbane, Australia. Following my graduation I completed professional studies while working for a law firm in Dunedin and moved to Tauranga in September 1980 where I became a partner in a local firm. In April 1985 I entered into the partnership of Cooney Lees & Morgan.
For the first ten years of my career, I had a general practice including commercial work. I became involved in family law when the Family Court was established in 1980/81. In 1988, the emphasis of my practise switched to family law work, while at the same time, retaining my links with commercial clients in a supervisory role.
Over the last 30 years I have specialised in working with children in domestic disputes between their parents, and in resolving relationship property matters.
In more recent years, I have been involved in dealing with more senior clients in respect of issues relating to powers of attorney, personal care, welfare and the organisation of their affairs for the purposes of estate planning.
I stepped down from partnership and became a consultant in April 2013 and currently work four days a week.
My primary role is to support and supervise the relationship property/family lawyers in our Private Client & Trust team. In addition, I continue to be actively involved in the Family Court advocating for children as a Lawyer for Child in parenting disputes, and advocating for the elderly in respect of their personal care and welfare and property matters. I’m often appointed by the Family Court to act for several elderly folk whose family, for one reason or another, are unable to assist.
I find that with maturity comes different insights into how work can best be handled, and that you are able to form more objective and wider-ranging views of ways to resolve legal issues that clients might have. After many years of successful practice, I believe that if I had my time again, there’s very little I would do differently.
Outside of work my wife and I have a well-rounded family, and we’re proud of our children’s achievements. I love living in New Zealand and enjoy travelling through the countryside and along the coasts, exploring and enjoying the magnificence of our country.