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New Zealand's Oldest Law Firms

02 July 2018

New Zealand has a large number of very durable law firms. The first lawyer to arrive in New Zealand, Richard Davies Hanson, stepped ashore in Wellington on 3 January 1840. Hanson left in 1846 for Australia, later becoming Sir Richard Hanson and Attorney-General, Prime Minister and Chief Justice of South Australia. Just before he left New Zealand, Hanson joined Robert Hart in legal practice. The firm which Hanson started in 1840 - now known as Treadwells - still practises today in central Wellington.

The list of our oldest law firms has been compiled from many sources - but it is recognised there may possibly be some firms which should be included. The criteria for inclusion is that a firm must always have been in existence. While legal partnerships change relatively frequently, the firm must always have been doing business.

NameBeginningAge in YearsCurrent Name AdoptedLocation
Treadwells 1840 178 2006 Wellington
Bell Gully Buddle Weir 1840 178 1984 Auckland/Wellington
Brandons 1841 177 1991 Wellington
Jackson Russell 1844 174 1864 Auckland
Brookfields 1856 162 1991 Auckland
Duncan Cotterill 1857 161 1879 Christchurch
Glasgow Harley 1858 160 1997 Nelson
Gallaway Cook Allan 1859 159 2001 Dunedin
Wynn Williams 1860 158 1956 Christchurch
Izard Weston 1861 157 1924 Wellington
Anderson Lloyd 1862 156 1987 Dunedin
Russell McVeagh 1863 155 1904 Auckland
Joynt Andrews 1863 155 1892 Christchurch
Pitt & Moore 1864 154 1879 Nelson
Hardy-Jones Clark 1865 153 2007 Blenheim
Anthony Harper 1865 153 1987 Christchurch
Hesketh Henry 1865 153 1986 Auckland
Hannan & Seddon 1867 151 1920 Greymouth
Downie Stewart 1867 151 1986 Dunedin
Gresson Dorman & Co 1867 151  Timaru
Whitcombe Guinness & Kitchingham 1867 151  Greymouth
Lane Neave 1868 150 Christchurch
Treadwell Gordon 1869 1491909Whanganui
Miller Poulgrain 1869 149 1921 Thames
Langley Twigg 1872 146 1976 Napier
Meares Williams 1873 145 1899 Christchurch
WCM Legal 1874 144 2006 Masterton
Cairns Slane 1874 144 1988 Auckland
Chapman Tripp 1875 143  Wellington/Auckland
Sainsbury Logan & Williams 1875 143 1900 Napier
Gawith Burridge 1875 143 1998 Masterton
Harkness Henry 1875 143 1945 Hamilton
Kensington Swan 1878 140  Auckland/Wellington
Nolans 1879 139  Gisborne
Gascoigne Wicks 1879 139 1945 Blenheim
Arthur Watson Savage 1880 138 1984 Invercargill
Corcoran French 1881 137 1988 Christchurch
Jack Riddet Tripe 1881 137  Wanganui
Weston Ward & Lascelles 1883 135  Christchurch
RSM Law 1883 135  Timaru
Helmore Bowron & Scott 1884 134  Rangiora
Helmore Ayers 1884 134  Christchurch
Rhodes & Co 1884 134  Christchurch
Innes Dean - Tararua Law 1884 134  Palmerston North
Halliwells 1886 132  Hawera
McKay Mackie 1886 132  Waipawa
Ross Dowling Marquet Griffin 1887 131  Dunedin
Simpson Grierson 1887 131  Auckland/Wellington
Johnson Prichard Fee 1887 131  Auckland
Harmans Lawyers 1888 130  Christchurch
Papprills 1894 124  Christchurch

Last updated on the 2nd July 2018