Checketts McKay was formed in November 1987 from the amalgamation of Diehl Checketts and Williamson in Alexandra, and Brodrick Parcell and McKay in Cromwell and Wanaka.
In January 2009 the partnership of Checketts McKay was incorporated as a limited liability company as authorised by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006.
The firm whilst having a long history in the law has embraced new technology and has access to the same electronic libraries and research facilities as law firms in the main centres.
We have always had a tradition of public service and the partners and staff are involved in many voluntary and community organisations.
The computerisation of government registers means that the firm can now deal with most legal matters electronically in real time.
Justine graduated from Otago University in 1998 after taking several years off her study to travel and work overseas.
Before joining Checketts McKay, Justine worked as a solicitor in Queenstown focusing on commercial and property transactions.
She joined Checketts McKay in 2003, became an associate in 2006 and entered partnership on 1 January 2008.
Justine grew up on a farm in Central Southland and now lives in Alexandra with her partner, Jim, and three children. Justine and Jim, and their respective families, are involved in the Central Otago wine industry, owning producing vineyards in the region.
Based in Alexandra, Justine's main areas of practice include:
Justine is also a Court appointed Youth Advocate and Lawyer for Child.
Russell was admitted in 1974. He moved to Central Otago in 1980 and was a partner until 2007. In 2008, Russell continued to work as a salaried solicitor three days per week.
Based in Alexandra, Russell’s main areas of practice are:
Rural and Urban Conveyancing
Gillian Clarke has been a solicitor at Checketts McKay since 2001. After graduating from Otago University she worked as a civil litigator in Wellington for 9 years, the last 7 of which worked for a national law firm. Gillian moved to Alexandra in 1996.
Gillian grew up on a Maniototo family farm and has enjoyed raising her own two boys in a semi-rural environment together with her husband Dr. David Hill, a resource teacher in Learning Behaviours.
Gillian became an Associate in 2006.
She specialises in civil litigation, mediation as an alternative to court, resource management and farming resource law.
Dianne graduated in 1999 from Auckland University. She practiced law in Auckland until 2009 when her family moved to Central Otago. Dianne has a flair for completing any file which has an extensive history and her determination to solve issues is invaluable when working with complex property easements.
Dianne has embraced the Central Otago lifestyle and has been the driving force behind community gatherings in Fruitlands for the past 5 years; she enjoys a good book and is a regular attendee at Clyde Cinema.
Linnet graduated with a LLB and a BSc from Otago University in 2005 and worked in Central and West Auckland Law practices for four and a half years. After a break to have her two sons and a move to Alexandra in 2011, Linnet is now with Checketts McKay assisting with conveyancing and other legal work with a property focus.
Linnet enjoys getting involved with community groups and has been involved with Alexandra Parents Centre, Alexandra Girl Guides, Wanaka Plunket and Mini Muscles. Having moved back from Wanaka to Alexandra in 2017 with her Husband Carl and two boys, Linnet is now involved with The Terrace School PTA and Kopuwai Early Learning Centre’s Governance Committee.
In between chasing after her two boys, Linnet enjoys a bit of skiing, biking on the rail trail, sewing and reading.
Kirsten Knights has been a solicitor with Checketts McKay since 2004. After graduating from Otago University in 1998, she spent two years working in the outdoor education industry in England.
Returning to New Zealand in 2000 she worked for the Crown Solicitor in Christchurch in the area of Criminal law, before moving to Alexandra in 2003.
Kirsten became an Associate in 2006 and was appointed as a Director in 2012.
Kirsten grew up on a farm in coastal Otago and spent many summer holidays in Central. She is married to Ian, an outdoor educator, and they have four sons.
Kirsten covers most areas of general law and specialises in family proceedings. She is also a Court appointed Youth Advocate.
Gordon has lived in Alexandra since 1983 and became a partner of the firm in 1986.
Gordon is involved in a range of community projects including the Hawea Whitewater Park created for recreational kayakers, a trustee of the Central Otago Ecological Trust and its predator proof reserve at Aldinga for protecting a range of native species including the endangered Otago and Grand skinks, Conservation Officer for Central Otago Whitewater and is an organiser of the Central Otago Whitewater junior kayak programme.
Gordon is married to Mary and has three active children. His recreational interests include mountain biking, kayaking, skiing and travel.
Gordon specialises in:
In the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List, Gordon was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for his involvement and services to kayaking for 40 years.
Fraser is an experienced property and commercial solicitor admitted in both New Zealand and in England and Wales (non -practising). After 12 years working in the United Kingdom, Fraser has returned with his young family to beautiful Central Otago.
In his last 8 years in the UK, Fraser was Managing Partner for a specialist law firm primarily advising leading commercial banks and financial institutions in connection with real estate lending activities. Fraser has extensive experience in handling property transactional work relating to commercial property (industrial, warehouses/distribution, development land, retail, hospitality, leisure, agricultural, viticultural and horticultural), residential investment property and residential property. He has been a panelist at the Property Investor and Homebuyer Show, the UK’s largest exhibition of UK property and has been a commentator for property finance industry publications.
Areas of practice:
Maxine is the firm’s resident Director in the Cromwell office.
After graduating in 1988, Maxine commenced practice in Invercargill, becoming a partner in 1993. In 2005 Maxine moved with her family to Cromwell where she has become deeply involved in the community, including serving 9 years on the Cromwell College Board of Trustees, 6 of those years as Chairperson.
Maxine joined Checketts McKay as a Director in 2013. She has extensive business and property law experience and is known for her pragmatic approach in complex situations. Maxine has a particular interest in investment property and trust transactions.
Maxine served for 25 years as a Tenancy Tribunal Adjudicator, retiring in June 2018. Having that inside knowledge of rental investment property is a real advantage for her clients.
Maxine’s recreational time is spent with family and friends enjoying the Central Otago environment.
Areas of practice:
Alan joined Checketts McKay as a consultant in 2018 having returned from working overseas. In Australia, Alan worked as a legal practitioner in Queensland, in private practice for six years and then as an in-house lawyer for a large construction company for five years. He is in the process of being re-admitted as a barrister and solicitor in New Zealand where he previously practised for some 30 years, based in Christchurch.
After a career spanning 40 years, Alan has accumulated in-depth experience over a range of areas of the law including employment, risk management and health and safety, rural, residential and commercial property, construction and commercial contracts, financing, wills, estate planning and trust administration.
Alan was born and educated in Dunedin and now lives in Cromwell and is building a home in Bannockburn. His family has had a deep connection with Central Otago for some six generations. He has two adult children, one a lawyer and the other an artist. Alan enjoys the outdoors, making dry stone walls, skiing, kayaking, art music and reading.
Grant joined the firm in 1985 and became a partner for the Wanaka office in 1989.
Grant has a strong interest in outdoor activities including tramping, mountain biking and yachting and enjoys the benefits of living and working in the Southern Lakes Area.
Whilst maintaining a generalist practice, Grant has a particular interest in:
Rebecca is an Associate based in the Wanaka office. She joined Checketts McKay in 2009 after several years in Wellington working for a large national law firm.
Most of Rebecca's work is in the property and commercial arena and she has particular expertise in subdivisions and negotiating and drafting contracts. She regularly assists clients with buying and selling houses and other property and also provides advice on asset protection including trusts, wills and estate planning.
Rebecca has a wide network of clients and her work sees her liaising with a range of people including first home buyers, large scale property developers, business owners and other lawyers.
Rebecca lives in Queensberry with her husband and two young daughters. She is actively involved in the local community and is the secretary of the Luggate Community Association and a trustee of the Alpine Community Development Trust which oversees the operation of Community Networks.
Margaret has been with Checketts McKay since 2013 after relocating from Christchurch to Makarora at the head of Wanaka.
Margaret was previously an associate at a large law firm in Christchurch and is an experienced commercial solicitor with extensive experience in hospitality business matters, including motels, restaurants and bars, along with general commercial matters including all types of business sales and leases.
She is also a general property lawyer and specialises in Trusts, Wills and Powers of Attorney.
Margaret was born and bred in Central Otago and the family has had a holiday house at Makarora for over 50 years. Margaret and her husband enjoy being back in the mountains after many years in Christchurch and overseas. She has adult children and a few grandchildren as well.
Melissa joined Checketts McKay as an Associate in July 2018. Originally from Dunedin, after graduating from Otago University in 2006 Melissa spent 11 years working for a large firm in Dunedin and then Wanaka, after relocating there in 2009.
Melissa’s areas of practice include Relationship Property, Property Law including residential property transactions and land development, Trusts and Estate Planning, Banking & Finance and Commercial matters.
Melissa is committed to providing a high level of service. She enjoys building relationships with her clients, and working together to achieve their objectives.
Away from work, Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband and two young daughters, running, and generally making the most of what Wanaka has to offer.