Professional services that do not sacrifice on the human touch

Here at French Burt Partners, we give our clients peace of mind with friendly, professional legal services that provide the best results for every matter.

Legal Team

Craig Smith — French Burt Partners Lawyers, New Zealand
Craig Smith
Managing/Senior Partner

Qualification: LL.B. B.Com
Admitted: 1998

Craig was admitted to the bar in 1998, having previously worked as a tax accountant in Dunedin and as the company secretary for Southfert Cooperative.

Craig loves anything and everything to do with sailing, fishing and the great outdoors. He is very involved with the Bluff Yacht Club.

Craig is Trust Chairman for Presbyterian Support Southland, President of the Southland Medical Foundation, Chairman of SIT’s Business Consultative Group, a regular legal adviser for Citizens’ Advice, Board Member (Governance and Legislation) for Ruru Specialist School, Treasurer for the Windsor Community Church and member (and past President) of the Invercargill Rotary Club. He is also a past Board Chair for Southland Girls’ High School Board of Trustees and Myross Bush School Board of Trustees. Lastly, but certainly not least Craig is a Statutory Interventionist for the Ministry of Education.

Areas of Work

Employment Law
Deceased Estates Administration
Education Law


Rachael Adams

Qualification: LL.B. B.A.
Admitted: 2006

Rachael acts in the areas of Family Law and the Criminal Court. She is a Lead Family Legal Aid Provider and a Family Legal Aid Service (FLAS) Provider. Rachael is a trained Collaborative professional and is a member of Collaborative Resolution New Zealand.

Rachael is a Charter Member of the Waihopai Lions Club and a Past President.

Rachael is very family oriented and loves spoiling her nieces and nephews. She also reads, watches movies and loves true crime podcasts.

Areas of Work

Family Law
Criminal Law


Rachael Adams — French Burt Partners Lawyers in Invercargill, New Zealand
John French — French Burt Partners Lawyers in Invercargill, New Zealand
John French

Qualification: LL.B.
Admitted: 1968

John has been practising law for more than 50 years. He is well known for his legal expertise in civil litigation, matrimonial and relationship property law and family protection cases.

John is a past President of the Southland District Law Society (now a branch of the New Zealand Law Society), former Convenor of the NZLS Southland Branch Standards Committee, a former member of the NZLS Civil Litigation & Tribunals Committee and a former member of various Legal Aid Grants and Approvals Committees.

He is a member of the Rotary Club of Invercargill East (and a former President) and a lay minister at All Saints Church in Invercargill.

John is a cricket and rugby fan. Since 2009 he has been the appointed Citing Commissioner’s Liaison Officer for Rugby Park provincial matches. He enjoys gardening, which includes the involvement of home beehives.

Areas of Work

Civil Litigation – High Court/District Court
Relationship property
Contracting out agreements
Family Protection proceedings
Arbitration and mediation
Insolvency, debt recovery


Andrea Murchland
Registered Legal Executive

Qualification: DipLegalExec. (Fellow NZILE Inc.)

Andrea started her working life as a PA/Administrator (also working in retail in her spare time) before coming to French Burt.

Andrea is the Southern Regional Representative and President of the Canterbury Southern Districts Branch Legal Executives New Zealand Committee.

Andrea is a Fellow of Legal Executives New Zealand.

She enjoys watching sport, going to live concerts, is a regular aqua jogger and a doting aunty to three nephews. Andrea is a member of the Invercargill South Rotary Club. 

Areas of Work

Residential and rural property transactions/refinancing
Company and commercial transactions
Wills, powers of attorney, estate planning, trusts
Deceased Estates Administration


Andrea Murchland — French Burt Partners Lawyers, New Zealand
Jessica Hillman — French Burt Partners Lawyers in Invercargill, New Zealand
Jessica Hillman
Registered Legal Executive

Qualification: DipLegalExec.

Jessica started as a Legal Secretary at French Burt and took up the opportunity to gain a Legal Executive Diploma. Jessica is relishing her different role in the firm, and particularly enjoys working in the area of deceased estate administration.

In between ferrying her daughter to her performing arts and sports commitments, Jessica is an avid Southern Steel supporter, grows beautiful roses and is actively involved in C3 Church Invercargill.

Areas of Work

Deceased Estates Administration
Residential property transactions
Wills and Powers of Attorney


Administration Team

Janelle Ellenden — French Burt Partners Lawyers, New Zealand

Janelle Ellenden

David French — French Burt Partners Lawyers, New Zealand

David French

Melissa Hillman

Lili-Mae Lawlor — French Burt Partners Lawyers in Invercargill, New Zealand

Lili-Mae Lawlor

We enjoy dealing with people – and want you to enjoy dealing with us