New Zealand Law Society - The lawyer, the chemist and one on the way

The lawyer, the chemist and one on the way

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Growing up the only biological child to parents with 10 children meant unique sibling benefits for Tauranga lawyer Chad Wallace.

“I have an interesting family history, and have nine siblings. I am in the middle,” says Chad.

“My parents foster children – newborn babies – and have three who are my younger siblings. I am their only biological child. My older siblings are from my parents’ previous marriages. It’s a unique family situation.

Chad Allen (Chad) Wallace
Entry to law
Graduated with LLB (First Class Honours) and Bachelor of Social Sciences in Economics from Waikato University. Admitted in 2013.
Associate at Cooney Lees Morgan, in Tauranga.
Specialist area
Property law.
Chad Wallace
Chad Wallace

“I had the benefit when I was the youngest growing up of having big brothers and sisters to look after me. Then I was the only child for a while. Then I was the oldest at home going through intermediate and high school.

“My parents are very involved in the fostering scene in Hamilton. They love it and love newborn babies. My mum does this full-time and Dad is a painting contractor.”

Chad is the first lawyer in his family and the first family member to go to university.

With a keen interest in rural property transactions, subdivisions, horticulture, forestry and farming, he has been with Cooney Lees Morgan for two and a half years and was recently made associate.

“I was always interested in politics and as it seems all politicians are former lawyers I thought this would be a good way to get into politics.”

A former chairman of the Young Nats at Waikato University, he retains his involvement in the National Party and enjoys the contribution he can make, including helping his local Bay of Plenty MP Todd Muller during the 2017 general election.

“I was fortunate to be taken under Hamilton West MP Tim McIndoe’s wing when I was in high school and he has been a great support for me. He also studied law at Waikato. My interest in politics got me interested in law and in year 12 at Fraser High School I did a legal studies course and really enjoyed that, so decided to give law a shot.

“I entered the Waikato mooting competition in year 12, went to a be a law student for a day at Waikato University and thought ‘this sounds like me’. I signed up and here we are.”

Charly the retriedoodle

Chad is married to Sara – “named after the Fleetwood Mac song” – who teaches chemistry at Katikati College. The couple met in that pivotal year 12 in high school and have their first child – a boy – due in August.

“We have a two-year-old retriedoodle, a cross between a retriever and a poodle, called Charly. He is named after Sir Charles Lyell, a famous Scottish scientist and lawyer (1797 – 1875). My wife and I combined our professions to name him. He keeps us pretty busy and we have been taking him to dog obedience training.

“I’m not a sporty person - my older brother Carl was into football and my sister Colleen into music and drama. By the time I came along my parents were happy for me to do my own thing. I didn’t get into music or sport.

“Hobbies and interests are pretty vanilla, enjoying time with friends and family. Being outdoors, walks and beach. Hence the move here from Auckland after three years with Minter Ellison.

“Growing up in Hamilton I knew what the good life was like. We enjoyed Auckland, but when we wanted to settle down and start a family we settled on Tauranga.

“I had been keeping in touch with Amanda Segedin, a friend from university who works at Cooney’s, who was keen for us to move there. It’s a great spot. I take Charly down to the water in the morning, the harbour is a couple of minutes walk away from where we live and I can be at work in 15 minutes.”

In his final year at university Chad did a student exchange to Gent in Belgium, an opportunity to feed his love of old buildings and architecture. “It was a great way to do some travelling and have a different experience.”

“Gent was my first choice and Copenhagen second. European universities offer a cross-credited scheme for their own domestic students in their last or second to last year of study at another university. So all these European students essentially do a big university swap, it’s great.

“I got to meet some amazing people who have become good friends from places such as the Czech Republic, France, Lithuania. I love Prague, it is my favourite city, and I got to see a lot of the Czech Republic, staying with friends’ families.

“We’ve been to Hawaii a couple of times, Australia, and most Pacific islands except Rarotonga. We are hoping to go their next year with our new baby.

“There’s a family bach at Whangamata we make the most of. And we did a road trip round the South Island two years ago. I’d like to see a lot more of the south, but it’s hard to beat Whangamata, which we like when it’s quieter.”

Cheerin’ for Sheeran

“I like music but don’t play anything. I’m an Ed Sheeran and Fleetwood Mac fan, went to all recent three Sheeran concerts in NZ, and also the last two Fleetwood Mac shows.

“We went to Mick Fleetwood’s restaurant in Hawaii. He wasn’t there but he does pop in and out.

“I read autobiographies and people’s experiences, mainly in the holidays, and for fiction I like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher series. He is methodical in his thinking.

“We don’t watch a lot of television but see some good Netflix series such as The Keepers and US programme Making a Murderer, about Steven Avery, who was convicted of murdering a journalist.

“My 4-litre Ford Territory takes me anywhere, I love it, and Charly enjoys it because he can sit in the back and look out all the windows.

“My first thought of a dinner guest was Barack Obama and I would probably stick with him. And treat him to a typical Kiwi barbie. Showcase some of New Zealand’s craft beers.

“Good George from Hamilton I recommend. They opened some bars in Hamilton and Tauranga and are doing well.

“I didn’t like beer until I did the exchange to Belgium – beer capital of the world. Delirium is one of the most popular. Typical strength would be 12%. And it’s a different culture. Everyone goes out in the evening to a local quaint pub.

“The thing I have enjoyed most is helping people get into their first homes and they come back to you later and want to upgrade or lease premises.

“Being there for people during their different life stages is important. And seeing people progress and being able to help them is quite rewarding. Knowing your advice is valued is rewarding.

“I guess my hobby is politics but there is still a lot I want to achieve in the law before I look to politics, which is something I may consider at some point in the future.

“Growing up I wanted to be an architect, then when I realised I could not draw and my maths was okay but not great, I thought architecture is not for me.

“Where I have landed in property law is as close to it as I can get. I enjoy the projects I work on and have been involved in some large forestry and kiwifruit transactions and enjoy working with those types of clients.

“They are generally good honest hardworking people who know their industry and good people to work with. At the end of the day there is a physical asset that is productive and has value that you can touch and feel.”

Over a long career in journalism Jock Anderson has spent many hours in courtrooms and talking to members of the legal profession. He can be contacted at

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