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 Ferrymead and Hornby. In August 2017 the Ferrymead office relocated to 987 Ferry Road. 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.
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
Tug Lyttelton Preservation Society Inc
Repertory Theatre Society
Malthouse Theatre Trust
Christchurch Music Theatre Education Trust
Christchurch Early Intervention Trust
NZ Mathematics Enrichment Trust
Bevan Werry Memorial Trust
Burnside Park Tennis Club
Christchurch Golf Club
Crockfords Bridge Club
Windsor Golf Club
Just Dollars Trust
Southern Centre Trust
Southern Ballet Foundation
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 1922 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 practice here. In the late 90’s 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.
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). 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.
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 2003 and Paul Coghlan (formerly of Coghlan Smith) in 2011.
The “tenties” 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 and intellectual property 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 PGC 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 and remains well placed to weather the storm of the recent COVID-19 crisis, adapting well to remote workplace and communication channels, with many of the required technologies and infrastructure investment already in place.
Our confidence in the future of our firm, Christchurch, and Canterbury is as strong as ever. This is reflected no more elsewhere than the firm’s investment in a brand new suburban hub office at The Landing, Wigram in 2020, from where we are ideally placed to cater for the growing needs of southwest Christchurch and its arterial rural centres.