Our People

John French LL.B


John is the firm's senior partner and has practised in Invercargill for over 40 years. He is vastly experienced in all aspects of civil litigation, including building disputes, business and property contracts, insolvency and debt recovery.

He has appeared on many occasions in the District and High Courts.

John is also well versed and a recognised specialist on the often complex law of matrimonial and relationship property, and has prepared many "contracting out" and property division agreements. He appears regularly as counsel in the Family Court on property cases.

His thoroughness and legal knowledge is justifiably well recognised.

He is a past president of the Southland District Law Society (now a branch of the New Zealand Law Society). John has also been a member of the New Zealand Law Society Civil Litigation and Tribunals committee.

Outside office hours his interests include rugby, cricket, music, Rotary and holidaying in Queenstown.

Contact John


Craig Smith LL.B, B.COM


In 2009 Craig become a partner in the firm after a number of years as a staff solicitor.

Originally from an accounting and business background, Craig has specialised in employment law since entering the legal profession.

He advises his clients on employment contracts and other issues relating to law in the workplace.

He has a particular interest in farm employment law.

He also acts for a number of educational institutions and provides legal advice to their administrators.

Resource management matters can also be referred to Craig.

Craig's non-lawyer interests include sailing, ski-ing and fishing.

Contact Craig


Rachael Adams LL.B, BA


Rachael is a born and bred Southlander who, after qualifying and working for a time at the Southland Community Law Centre, joined the firm as a staff solicitor in 2008.

A self-motivated person, Rachael prides herself on her thoroughness, which together with her friendly manner has made her a valuable addition to the firm's qualified staff.

She advises family law clients and provides representation in the Criminal Courts.  Rachael is a member of the New Zealand Law Society Family Law Section.

Her outside interests include walking, soccer and socialising with friends and family.

Contact Rachael


Ben Nettleton LL.B, B.Com


Ben practices in commercial and property law and also assists with the firm's dispute resolution practice.  He has a wide knowledge of his chosen areas of expertise.

With his strong Southland connections and his practical experience, Ben is well qualified to advise his farming, commercial property, and business clients.

He is also a chartered member of the New Zealand Institute of Directors and holds or has held a number of board appointments in the commercial, local government, education and sport sectors.

His outside interests include rugby and thoroughbred racing.


Contact Ben

Ben Nettleton

Andrea Murchland 

Registered Legal Executive

Andrea has always lived in Southland and is an important member of our property and business law team.  She is also well experienced in estate administration.

After working for a time at French Burt Partners, Andrea completed her New Zealand Law Society studies and qualified as a Registered Legal Executive, achieving outstanding marks in her assignments and exams.

Andrea's outside interests include music, sports, reading and spending time with family and friends.

Contact Andrea


Andrea Murchland