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Alistair Richard John Bowers, 1965 - 2017

By Craig Stephen

Nelson lawyer Alistair Bowers died on 6 March 2017 in an accident. He was 52.

Mr Bowers had his own practice in the city, and had previously worked at firms in Christchurch and Queenstown.

“He was the kind of person you would gravitate to at a party. There would be a lot of stuffed shirts, and then there would be Alistair,” says friend and fellow Nelson lawyer Steven Zindel.

“Alistair had a sense of humour that was as infectious as it was subversive.

“People gravitated to him and if he took the mickey, he did so gently, to the point where you didn't even know it was happening.

“He was also very intelligent and talented in all sorts of ways, including with DIY building. Probably consistent with that, he was self-deprecating and modest. He was also very generous.

“Clients and colleagues have been upset by his passing and all have commented, in varying ways, on his capabilities and his unfailing courtesy.” 

Mr Bowers is survived by five children. Mr Zindel says he is currently looking after his legal practice.

On his website, Mr Bowers, who specialised in civil litigation, promised to offer the “right advice at the right price.”

He criticised the way fees were charged and called for a new way of thinking.

“Lawyers need to change the way they charge fees to reflect the modern and competitive market. In today's technological World there is a strong case to be made for there being less of a need for lawyers to operate from expensive offices and employ so many staff.

“I am a problem solver and a strategist. I will give straight up answers to your questions.

“I pride myself on the ability to see the “big picture” and, whenever possible, avoid having my clients go to Court. But if that is necessary then I have the experience and fearlessness to do so.”

Mr Bowers began his career as a law clerk in Christchurch in 1987 before becoming a solicitor at Duncan Cotterill in the city.

Between 1992 and 2006 he was an associate at Wolfe Cadenhead Stone in Christchurch and then at Lane Neave Ronaldson, also in Christchurch.

He joined Macalister Todd Phillips in Queenstown in 2002 as a civil litigator and was admitted as a partner of the firm in 2003. A statement from the partners and staff of Macalister Todd Phillips says he resigned from the partnership in September 2006 to move to Nelson to be closer to his family.

"His partners remember him as an intelligent and resourceful practitioner, possessed of a gregarious nature and limitless charm.  Alistair was the life and soul of the firm’s social occasions,” it says.

In 2007, Mr Bowers served as a senior solicitor then Principal at Hamish.Fletcher Lawyers in Nelson until 2011, and he then started up his own practice.

His funeral was held on 11 March in Nelson.

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Last updated on the 16th March 2017