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Allan Duncan McLeod, 1942 - 2016

By David Welch

Allan Duncan McLeod died on 9 June 2016, aged 74 years after a short period of ill health. Allan was survived by his wife Sue, three daughters and four grandchildren.

Allan worked for Bell Gully and Co in Wellington from 1960 through 1963 in Wellington while attending Victoria University. He always took pride in the fact that he had devilled for Denis Blundell (later Sir Denis Blundell, Governor-General of New Zealand).

I first met Allan in Napier in 1963 when he was employed at his father's firm Sainsbury Logan and Williams – the oldest of the grand and glorious firms which dominated the Hawke's Bay legal world.

There was the hallowed tradition of newly arrived lawyers being taken around all the firms in Napier to meet the other lawyers. This was special as it was Allan's father Bill who was escorting him. Bill's pride in Allan and the pleasure that Bill took in taking Allan around all the firms in Napier was obvious.  

Allan was what would usually be described as a conveyancer. A solicitor who toiled away in the office and was not one of the flashy Court barristers. That is not to say Allan never went to Court.

Unless my memory betrays me I recall Allan appearing before the Supreme Court as it was then known.

I am able to recall verbatim Allan's address to the Judge

"I appear for the Plaintiff in this action. I am instructed to request an adjournment. I am advised the counsel for the Defendant will consent to the adjournment.

The judge duly granted the requested adjournment but history does not record whether the judge congratulated Allan on his erudite address to the Court.

Allan in his time at Sainsbury Logan and Williams handled the legal work for the Napier Harbour Board which was the single largest land owner in Napier as the Napier Earthquake in 1931 had pushed up a huge area of land which had previously been under the water in the harbour and which could now be sold or leased.  Allan also acted for other commercial enterprises in Hawke's Bay as well as for many of the farmers in the wider Hawke's Bay Province which had always been the backbone of the practice of Sainsbury Logan and Williams.

To all appearances Allan was settled in a comfortable prosperous law firm where he could expect to lead a pleasant life until retirement in sunny Hawke's Bay.

At the end 1980 I was in the process of purchasing a property in Kerikeri. Allan and Sue were holidaying in Kerikeri with Sue's parents, camping in Riverview Road and we were enjoying a convivial evening with them. After a few or so gins on my part and whiskeys on Allan's he asked me the most startling question: "If I came to Kerikeri would you go into partnership with me?" Then I knew Allan had had too many drams – to me he was well and truly settled in Napier and it had never occurred to me that he would move elsewhere, least of all to Kerikeri. But not wishing to seem ungrateful of Allan's request (and having had as I said the odd gin) I readily indicated I would be more than willing to join with him in a partnership knowing full well that I would not be called upon to honour the arrangement.

Well bugger me – it was no time until Allan and Sue had bought a house in Kerikeri and were telling me when I could expect them to arrive in Kerikeri. We duly launched our partnership of Welch and McLeod, I claiming the right to have my name first in the firm's name by virtue of my seniority.  Allan was delighted when the firm's letterhead arrived from the printer that I had put his name above mine in the list of partners. I magnanimously accepted his appreciation of this and I never dared tell him that the order of listing was due to a printer's error.

Allan and I enjoyed a wonderful partnership. Neither of us expected or wanted to work five days a week but the firm rapidly attracted a range of clients and more often than not we did work on five days.  Allan was always more interested in helping the client rather than getting rich at their expense. Unfortunately for our respective finances I shared a similar philosophy. For several years we happily worked together. We were fortunate in having staff who shared our philosophy of being happy at work. 

I became involved in activities outside of the practice which necessitated considerable periods of absence from Kerikeri. In 1986 Allan and I amicably ended our partnership and Allan formed McLeod and Partners – at last having his name at the front of the partnership. Subsequently the "and Partners" was dropped and Allan's name lives on in the firm's name of McLeods. Allan retired from McLeods in 2003 but continued as coroner, having been appointed in 1988.

Allan always took great pride in his office as Notary Public. Allan's original appointment was by the Archbishop of Canterbury. I have not the slightest idea why Notaries were and perhaps still are appointed by the Archbishop. It was a nice little earner for Allan in his retirement.

It is more than true to say that throughout all of Allan's legal career he observed the highest ethical standards and was always concerned to do his best for his clients even if it meant cost to himself. I know that many of his clients became and have remained his friends. I am sure that they share with me sadness at the loss of a good and great lawyer and a great friend.

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Last updated on the 25th June 2016