We are not the kind of lawyers who serve at a “distance”. We like to form a “team” with our clients – and above all, we are friendly provincial people with a wealth of experience in law and in making people feel at ease.
We’re the kind of team who think differently about accountability, implementation and follow up, and we are always exploring new ways of delivering legal services that make our clients’ experiences even better. Our focus always starts with a full respect for what clients value and expect.
There is no culture of individualism or ego here – we are a real team with no prima donnas (except when required in the courtroom!) That means that whilst we are always seriously on the ball, we are really into spreading our positive vibe around. In 2014, we were finalists in the NZ Law Award as “Employer of Choice.” We are proactive around skills development training for all staff with a particular focus on management and leadership. It’s a happy place to be.
Lee James – Director
Lee comes from a farming background and is an astute businesswoman who loves the outdoors. A valuable combination when one of her passions serving the provinces from a place of experience and heart. The Stevens Orchard team describe her as a natural leader – organised, efficient, articulate, dependable and compassionate. She has been practising law since 1996 and has extensive experience in family and civil litigation, commercial, company and trust matters. In 2008, Lee was accepted on the Counsel for Child List. She is a well-respected mediator and an Associate Member of AMINZ (the Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand). Outside work, Lee has recently taken up mountain biking and makes the most of the excellent trails Nelson has on offer. She also loves skiing, a passion she shares with her two teenage sons. For relaxation she enjoys singing and playing the guitar with her partner and oil painting in her spare time. Lee is also currently completing a Masters of Law part time by distance through Otago University.
“We confidently push the barriers in support of our clients.”
Margot Harkness – Director
Margot has a Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws from the University of Otago. She practised as a lawyer in Auckland before making her home in Nelson. Margot’s broad experience in law includes sales and purchases of homes and businesses, commercial law, trust and estate planning, estates administration and family law.
The Stevens Orchard team describe her as serious but fun, a sincere humanitarian, and in particular, a person with a strong presence of calm in stressful situations. Margot is a trustee of Nelson Bays Community Law Service and Workstar (a supported employment agency in Nelson.) Outside work, Margot loves cycling, spending time with family and indulging her interest in good food and fine wine.
“It’s our common ground of genuinely wanting to do good that drives us. It makes us approachable, supportive – but highly effective.”
Jane Duncan – Director
Jane is a farm girl at heart and is as equally comfortable in gumboots as she is in suits. She joined the busy Westport team in 2010. Jane studied Law at Victoria University and was admitted to the bar in 2007. She also has a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology. In Wellington she gained experience in business and property law, trusts, wills, relationship property and conveyancing. The Stevens Orchard team describe her as a confident high-energy person, with a sharp mind and wit – and a great protagonist of the Westport office. Jane is a member of the Westport Rotary Club and the Chairman of the Buller Rugby Union. Outside work, Jane enjoys sport, the outdoors and a good book.
“We’ve all got razor sharp legal minds. We don’t beat around the bush and are always ready for a challenge.”
OUR VALUABLE STAFF
Stacey Daily – Nelson Office
Stacey specialises in family and civil litigation. Nelson is her hometown, and after spending a number of years away she is happy to return home – as her heart is very much in the provinces. After graduating from Otago University she practised family and civil litigation in Invercargill for Ward Adams Bryan-Lamb (2006 – 2010). She returned to Nelson in 2011 and worked for Fletcher Vautier Moore before joining our practice in January 2015. The Stevens Orchard team describe her as articulate and a bit of an Aladdin (genie) – delivering the goods with apparent ease and friendliness. Outside work, she enjoys spending time with her daughters, family and friends. Stacey enjoys playing and watching netball, volleyball and snowboarding.
Amanda Munting-Kilworth – Nelson Office
Amanda joined Stevens Orchard in February 2017.
She grew up in Nelson and spent her youth riding horses before attending Canterbury University where she completed an LLB/BA (Psych). Amanda commenced practice in 1994 at Wolfe Cadenhead Stone in Christchurch, a general practice firm with particular interest in employment and family law.
Amanda and her husband moved to London in 1998 for 4 years where Amanda worked firstly as in-house counsel for the Church of England and then for an international law firm Bird and Bird in the telecommunications property team.
In 2002 Amanda took time out to raise her three children, returning to work in 2010 in Christchurch as an employment advocate for McPhail, Gibson and Zwart Ltd.
Amanda and her family moved to Nelson in 2011 where she worked at Fletcher Vautier Moore for 5 years practicing employment law, general property and family law.
Amanda and her family are thrilled to be living in Nelson and to have at their fingertips the enjoyment of mountain biking, tennis, boating and walking the hills. She also spends many hours on the sports fields supporting her children’s various sports.
Amanda has been described by previous employers as pragmatic, efficient, cheerful, resourceful, a great communicator with a good sense of humour.
Paula Dobbs – Westport Office
Paula joined team at our Westport office in September 2017. She graduated from University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws in 1992. Paula worked with law firms in Christchurch, North and Mid Canterbury before taking a career break to bring up her family. During this time Paula took the opportunity to train and volunteer with St Johns ambulance as a qualified Emergency Medical technician as well as joining the NZ Land Search and Rescue, Christchurch Red Cross Disaster Support & Welfare Team and the Red Cross National Disaster Team as an operational team member.
Paula is assisting the Westport team with conveyancing, wills, estates, trusts family law and civil proceedings.
Outside of work Paula is busy rearing rare breeds of sheep on her lifestyle block in Westport which she shares with her partner and children. She may also be seen out of office hours assisting on the Westport ambulance.
Paula enjoys hunting, fishing and tramping in her spare time.
Tamara Millard – Nelson Office
Tamara spent the first 20 years of her legal career working as a Legal Executive in London where she undertook complex property transactions. She moved to New Zealand in 2001 and took up practice with David Orchard in 2004. Tamara’s strengths lie in her superbly efficient and competent work practices and her knowledge and expertise in dealing with conveyancing transactions. The Stevens Orchard team describe her as feisty, smart – and someone who radiates reliability whilst getting the job done with a smile. Outside work Tamara’s interests include cooking, karate, socialising, shopping and spending time with her two sons.
Martha Phillips – Nelson Office
Born in Scotland, Martha emigrated to New Zealand in 2004. Prior to having her two children, she worked in retail banking. As her children were growing up, she retrained in information technology working as an IT technician in the education sector. Always one for a challenge, Martha commenced studying for the NZ Legal Executive Diploma which she successfully completed in 2016. And here she is with us as the practice manager who also wears a very welcome IT guru hat! Outside work Martha enjoys walking, yoga, kayaking, skiing, cycling and gardening. She belongs to a book club, loves travelling, and mentors a 12-year old girl through the Big Brother Big Sister programme.
Charmaine Mitchell – Westport Office
Receptionist / Personal Assistant / Deeds Clerk
Charmaine is an integral part of the Westport office as personal assistant, deeds clerk and receptionist. She is currently training as a backup trust administrator. The Stevens Orchard team describe Charmaine as “gorgeous” in the truest sense of the word – being bright, light hearted and highly effective. Outside work, Charmaine continues to multi-task. She runs a household of 5, manages her lifestyle block and helps her partner with his building business – and enjoys walking, socialising and skiing.
Wendy Jaeger – Westport Office
Receptionist / Personal Assistant
After years away, Wendy returned home to Westport, joining the practice in June 2014. She qualified in information and library sciences in Wellington, and worked for over 15 years in the business administration, advertising and communications fields in Christchurch. In 2001, she founded her own company providing accounting and administration services to a wide range of businesses. The Stevens Orchard team describe her as a grounded and effervescent person who gets things done – just the right person for a receptionist and Jane’s personal assistant. Outside work, Wendy loves yoga and exploring the spectacular West Coast countryside. She is also a dancing teacher and examiner for the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society.
Giselle Fish – Nelson Office
Giselle grew up in the Nelson region and is an experienced Personal Assistant having worked at local law firms such as Pitt & Moore for 8 years and O’Donoghue Webber for 2 1/2 years before taking leave in March 2013 to raise her first child. She joined Stevens Orchard in May 2015. Her experience in office administration is invaluable in our busy office.
Outside of work she enjoys spending time with her family and friends, taking her two whippets to Tahunanui Beach and going for walks with her son. She also assists in the running of her husband’s business.
Lynda Greer – Nelson Office
You will be be greeted with Lynda’s lovely smile when you visit our Nelson office. Lynda moved to Nelson in 2004 from Wellington where she grew up. She has worked in various administration roles in Nelson before joining us in April 2017.
Lynda and her husband Brett have four children, with the youngest still at home. They are looking to build a new nest in Stoke and hope to move into their new home in early 2018.
Lynda is involved in a very successful annual fundraising event with Nayland Primary School where she performs in flamboyant outfits, dances and lip-syncs to many upbeat songs.
In her spare time Lynda loves walking on Nelson’s beautiful beaches or catching up with friends for wine or coffee.
Lynda also enjoys reading and baking.