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The team

We are a team of diversified specialists, who understand people and their immediate and long term needs.

Our partners at Thomas Dewar come with a wealth of experience, each having practiced for over 20 years in the legal industry.

Specialising in litigation, all six partners bring different fields of expertise to Thomas Dewar. From representing clients in civil litigation to criminal law, insolvency to family law, and across all levels: various Tribunals, the Family Court and District Court, the High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court.

We focus on building our team by developing young lawyers under the mentorship of our partners - passing on their vast range of knowledge and skill sets. This results in a strong, tight-knit firm, ready to provide you with great legal advice.

Partners

Gerard Dewar

LLB

Gerard heads the civil litigation team at Thomas Dewar.  Gerard has been working in litigation since 1979.  His fields of expertise include insurance law, insolvency, employment law, contractual disputes, banking, debt management and recovery, and education issues.  Gerard appears regularly in the District Court, High Court, Court of Appeal, Employment Relations Authority and Employment Court, and in a number of tribunals.

Gerard is regularly retained in a wide range of commercial litigation, leading a team of lawyers who undertake assignments for both large corporate entities and individuals.

Gerard serves as Chairman of the Wellington Rugby Union Disciplinary Committee and is on the Board of Te Omanga Hospice.  He also advises a significant number of local charities.

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Louise Sziranyi

LLB

Louise leads the criminal law team at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts and has extensive experience in the field, having commenced practice as a litigation lawyer in 1984.  Louise specialises in criminal law and youth advocacy, and also acts for clients in family and civil law matters from time to time.

Louise was appointed a District Inspector for Mental Health under the Mental Health (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 1992 in June 2014 and a District Inspector under the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003 in September 2016.  Louise was also appointed a District Inspector under the Substance Addiction (Compulsory Assessment and Treatment) Act 2017 in January 2018.

Louise is the managing partner of the firm, and oversees the day-to-day running of Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts’ busy litigation practice.

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Gerard Letts

LLB, BSc

Gerard heads the family law team at Thomas Dewar and has specialised in civil and family litigation since commencing practice in 1993.  

As well as supervising the firm's family lawyers, Gerard's practice comprises relationship property and trust property division, estate litigation and Court appointments as Counsel for Child in care of children, child protection and estate proceedings and as Counsel for Subject Person in PPPR proceedings. 

Gerard has been involved in various community organisations and is currently the Law Society appointee to the Board of the Personal Advocacy Trust (PAT).

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Clare Stanley

LLB (Hons)

Clare oversees the firm’s property and local government teams, and is also a criminal and civil litigator.  She regularly appears in the District and High Courts, including jury trials and appeals.  Clare’s local government work sees her assisting local authorities on a variety of matters, including rating issues, property and development, infrastructure matters and dog prosecutions.  

Clare heads our property team, undertaking conveyancing and subdivisions, and providing general property advice.  She is a member of the Criminal Bar Association and the Property Law Section of the NZ Law Society.  Clare joined Thomas Dewar in 1998.

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Matt Freeman

LLB, BSc (Hons)

Matt provides advice and representation in all civil litigation matters but has a particular focus on construction litigation, and property and trust litigation. He acts for a wide range of private, corporate, and institutional clients. Matt is a Fellow of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand (arbitration), and is available to be engaged as an arbitrator, on request.

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Gavin Cairns

LLB, NCBS, TEP

Gavin heads up our trusts and estates team and has over 20 years’ experience as a lawyer specialising in all aspects of elder law including trusts, wills, estates, enduring powers of attorney, property manager & welfare guardianships and family protection & testamentary promises claims. Working closely with the firm's property team, Gavin also deals with general property law matters, conveyancing and subdivisions.  In addition to private legal practice, Gavin has extensive trustee industry experience having worked as legal counsel for Public Trust and having managed the Private Wealth legal unit at Trustees Executors Limited.  Gavin is a member of the Property Law Section and the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), being a global professional body for specialist trust and estate practitioners.

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Consultants

Greg Thomas

LLB, BA

Greg has 40 years' experience in all Courts as a litigator and in general legal practice. He is able to give practical advice on disputes, negotiation, litigation and alternative dispute resolution. His fields of expertise include estate litigation, contractual disputes, and relationship property and trust litigation.

Greg was a partner at Thomas Dewar from 1995 to 2013. Greg retired from the partnership and became a consultant partner on 1 January 2014.

Greg has been involved in various community organisations and is presently Chair of E Tu Awakairangi Hutt Public Art Trust.

[email protected]

Special Counsel

Rosie Purchas

LLB

Rosie works in the areas of family law, trust law, estate law and health law.  She joined Thomas Dewar in 2015 and has a wealth of experience having worked Miriam Menzies & Co in Upper Hutt, Bell Gully in Wellington, Freshfields in London, and as an in-house solicitor with the AMP Society.  Prior experience includes work involving the Misuse of Drugs Act, ACC Reviews, Fair Trading Act compliance, employment law, commercial trusts, superannuation, employee benefits schemes, and insurance law in New Zealand and the EEC (prior to Brexit). 

[email protected]

Associates

Matthew Crooymans

LLB BA (Hons)

Matthew works in the fields of family, criminal and civil law litigation and has appeared in the District Court and Family Court on numerous occasions. Matthew is a registered legal aid provider for family and criminal matters and is a supervised provider for civil matters. He is a member of the Wellington Family Courts’ Association. Matthew also provides volunteer advice through the Hutt Valley Community Law Centre and the Lower Hutt Citizens Advice Bureau. Matthew graduated from Victoria University of Wellington where he studied law, English literature and media studies. Matthew began working at Thomas Dewar in 2016.

[email protected]

Joshua Pietras

LLB (HONS), BSc, LLM

Joshua provides legal advice and representation in the areas of civil litigation, including trust, property and estate litigation, conflicts of law (private international law), employment disputes and ACC reviews. Joshua appears regularly in the District Court and High Court. Joshua is a registered legal aid provider for civil and criminal law matters. Joshua graduated from the University of Waikato where he studied law and science. He graduated from the Australian National University with a Master of Laws (specialising in International Law). He is the author of the Lexis Nexis Practical Guidance chapter on Restraining Orders and a member of the ADLS Civil Litigation Committee. Joshua began working at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in November 2020.

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Senior Solicitors

Natalie Moore

LLB, BA

Natalie works in the field of family, civil, criminal and property law including estate administration.  Natalie graduated from Victoria University of Wellington where she studied law and international relations.  Before coming to Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in February 2020, Natalie was working for 2 years at The Office of the Clerk of the House of Representatives.

[email protected]

Kayla Herbert

LLB

Kayla works in the family law area and advises clients on all family related matters. She regularly appears in the Family Court. Kayla is also a registered legal aid provider for family matters. Kayla graduated from the University of Waikato and began working at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in June 2021. Before commencing work at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts, Kayla worked for the Whangarei firm, Wills Westenra, for just over two years.

[email protected]

Staff Solicitors

Nicole Donaldson

LLB

Nicole works in the fields of criminal, civil and family law. Nicole studied law at Victoria University of Wellington and University of Canterbury where she graduated. Nicole began working for Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in 2019 as a Law Clerk and as a Solicitor in June 2020

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Grace Adeyinka

LLB, BA

Grace works in the fields of family, criminal and civil law. Grace graduated from Victoria University of Wellington where she studied Law and Arts in History. Grace began working at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in July 2021 as a Law Clerk.

[email protected]

Brooke McCormack

LLB

Brooke works in the fields of family, criminal and civil law. Brooke graduated from the Victoria University of Wellington where she studied Law. Brooke began working at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in June 2021 as a Law Clerk.

[email protected]

Hannah Nelson

LLB, BA

Hannah works in the fields of family, criminal and civil law. Hannah graduated from the Victoria University of Wellington where she studied Law, International Relations and Political Science. Hannah began working at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in May 2021 as a Law Clerk.

[email protected]

Lucy Prestidge

LLB, BA

Lucy works in the fields of family, criminal and civil law. Lucy graduated from the University of Otago where she studied Law and Chinese (BA). Lucy began working at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in May 2021 as a Law Clerk.

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Rosa Bull

LLB BA

Rosa works in the fields of family and criminal law as well as civil litigation. Rosa graduated from Victoria University of Wellington where she studied Law and also graduated with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Italian. Rosa began working at Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in March 2022 as a Solicitor.

[email protected]

Family Administrator

Robyn Walker

Robyn is the firm's Family Team Administrator and started with Thomas Dewar Sziranyi Letts in 2019.  Robyn assists with the management of family law work within the firm and is the first point of contact and support for new clients.  She also provides direct secretarial support to a number of the family lawyers.  Robyn has worked in the legal profession for over 20 years as a legal secretary and administrator. [email protected]

Civil & Criminal Administrator

Janne Fulcher

Janne is the firm’s Civil/Criminal Team Administrator and has been with Thomas Dewar since 2005.  Janne works directly with Gerard Dewar and Louise Sziranyi, providing PA support for them in their busy practices and assists new and existing clients with their initial enquiries relating to civil and criminal matters.  Janne has spent most of her life living and working in the Hutt Valley.

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