The 16th January 1946 is an auspicious day for us. It was the day that Cliff Amies set up legal practice on his own account in Papakura under the firm name of "C H Amies – Barrister & Solicitor". It was the day our firm was founded. Cliff recalled, at the time of our 50th anniversary, that he was at the Papakura Military Camp at the beginning of World War Two. Although Papakura "was a sparsely populated rural town, I had a feeling that it might develop because of its position astride the Great South Road and the railway line." At the time, there was only one other lawyer practising in Papakura. Cliff's first office was shared with a real estate agent at the southern end of town opposite what was then Lees Bros Garage.
By 1948, the firm was thriving and changes were in the wind. Cliff decided that another solicitor was needed. He put the word about and it reached Norman Inder, who was then working for a legal firm in Auckland and had married the daughter of an old Papakura family. Cliff invited Norm to join him, which he did in August 1948. Later that year the firm moved to slightly larger premises at Broadway Papakura (where the ASB Bank used to be situated). On 1st October 1949, Norm Inder joined Cliff in the partnership and the firm's name changed to "Amies & Inder".
As a result of ill health, in 1951 Cliff retired from legal practice and subsequently bought the business known as Papakura Stationers. The firm name remained as "Amies & Inder" until 1955. After the sale of Cliff's retail business in 1967, he returned to the law and worked with the firm on a part time basis, ultimately retiring in 1982 but continuing as a consultant until 1988.
Papakura - First Broadway Office 1956
The 1950s were a time of significant decisions that would have a long lasting effect on the firm. In 1952 Norm employed Marjorie Phillips (nee Hill) as a legal secretary. With the exception of a period of time when Marj was raising her family, she has been with us throughout the intervening years. She now has the title of Assistant Practice Manager but that title does not do justice to the wealth of knowledge she has regarding our clients, the law and the best way to make our office operate efficiently.
In January 1953, Norm Inder employed Brian Lynch as a staff solicitor. Norm Inder took Brian Lynch into partnership on 1 April 1955 and the firm name was changed to "Inder & Lynch".
In 1956, the firm moved along Broadway to new premises. The office was subsequently extended to the adjoining building as well. The firm remained in those premises until 2002.
First Office at Birkenhead - 1987
Recollections of Papakura
In an article written by Norm Inder in 1990 for the Papakura Rotary, he recalled that "in those early days the practice was very much a country practice. The Papakura Borough, as it then was, had a population of only some 4000/5000 and was surrounded by the high quality farming districts of Karaka, Paparimu, Ararimu, Hunua and Clevedon. A substantial part of the legal work was oriented towards the farming community." Norm recounted that "residential conveyancing and commercial work gradually assumed a more important place in the practice" as South Auckland grew.
The Papakura Magistrates Court sat once each week on a Friday and the partners, as true general practitioners, mixed their conveyancing and general practice with a weekly visit to the Court to defend errant drivers and contest matters like fencing disputes, domestic proceedings and civil claims in general.
The 1960's - Manurewa
In 1960 the firm opened a branch office at Station Road, Manurewa. Initially, attendances at this office were by appointment only, but later in the decade, and after a shift to larger premises on the Great South Road, Cliff Amies became the resident solicitor.
Keith Reid joined Norm and Brian in partnership in 1964. The practice was called "Inder Lynch & Reid" until Keith retired in 1968.
1967 was the year when Kay Rule (nee Colman) joined us as an office junior. Kay is still with us today, apart from two short breaks. During those intervening years, Kay has been secretary to Norm Inder, Phil Saunders, Dave Conway and now Greg Stringer.
The firm became "Inder Lynch & Devoy", when Paddy Devoy joined the partnership in 1971, until Paddy's retirement as a result of ill health in 1973.
David Conway joined the firm as a partner in 1973 (with a change of name to "Inder Lynch Conway & Co") to take over the litigation work. Dave specialised in Criminal Law and what was then known as Matrimonial Law.
Philip Saunders joined the firm in 1974 as a staff solicitor and became a partner in 1975. Nicholas Fisher, who was employed as a staff solicitor in 1973, became our first Manurewa based partner in 1976. Nick subsequently resigned from the firm in 1987.
Papakura - Second Broadway Office with new logo-1988
The 1980's - Manurewa
Paul Maskell joined the firm in 1979. He was initially based at Papakura but moved to our Manurewa office in 1981. He became a partner in 1983. Paul continues with the firm as our Managing Partner based at our new Manukau City office. Paul is the leader of our Estate Administration Team.
In 1985 Dave Conway left the firm to travel overseas. At that time, we changed our name to "Inder Lynch & Partners". Three years later, the name was changed again to reflect what, by then, everyone called us – "Inder Lynch".
In 1987 we opened a further office at Birkenhead. More changes came in 1988 when we moved into newly built premises at Manurewa (on the same site as our earlier offices). The team were so grateful for the extended space and new facilities after having to operate out of temporary premises for eight months whilst construction proceeded.
Partners in 1990 - from left to right: Paul Maskell, Phil Saunders, Grant Litchfield, Norman Inder, Brett Norris and Brian Lynch
By 1990 the firm had grown to the extent that two of our staff solicitors (Grant Litchfield and Brett Norris) came into partnership. Grant resigned in 1998 and Brett resigned in 2001 (at which time we relinquished our office at Birkenhead).
Norm Inder retired from the partnership in 1992 and continued with the firm as a Consultant until his untimely death in 2000.
Chris Lynch and Craig Inder, sons of Brian Lynch and Norm Inder, joined us as staff solicitors in 1986 and 1987 respectively. They both became partners in 1996. Chris, who is based at our Papakura office, leads our Property Law Team. Craig, who was based at Papakura until 2012, leads our Trust Law Team at our new Pukekohe office.
1998 – Changes to the Partnership
Greg Stringer joined the firm in 1990. He was initially based at Manurewa, then helped grow the Birkenhead office and since 1998 has been based at Papakura. Greg, who joined the partnership in 1998, leads our Litigation Team.
1998 was also a turning point for the firm with the retirement from the partnership of Brian Lynch, after 43 years. Fortunately, Brian continued with us as a Consultant until his unexpected death in 2012.
The firm appoints a Practice Manager
The growth of the firm in more recent years required a much more structured management approach than was the case when the firm was founded. Matt Pirie was appointed as Office Manager in 1990. Matt's duties took a lot of the day to day responsibilities off the shoulders of the partners, who could get on with attending to our clients' legal needs. Matt retired from the role in 1998 to relocate to Australia.
Peter Vujcich was employed to replace Matt and given even broader responsibilities. In his role as Practice Manager, Peter has the primary role for managing the operation of the firm (the staff, the computers, the buildings, the marketing and just about everything else required to run a modern business).
Norman Inder was a partner in the firm now known as Inder Lynch, Papakura, for some 50 years. He was described by Brian Lynch, his partner for most of that time, as "a natural leader, but a very modest man - a meticulous lawyer whose first consideration was the interests of his clients. The fee was always a very secondary consideration."
Norman Inder was the son of Eric Inder, a well-known Auckland Lawyer. He attended Auckland Boys' Grammar School where he was head prefect, captain of the first XI and first XV and tennis champion.
During World War II Norman Inder served in the Middle East and Italy and in 1946 was a member of the occupation force in Japan. He studied for his LLB degree while he was in the army and on his return to New Zealand worked for Jacka and McElroy in Auckland before joining Cliff Amies, who had set up a practice in Papakura in 1946. He became a partner in 1949. Mr Amies left the firm in 1951 and the firm became Inder & Lynch in 1955.
Norman Inder was a member of the Papakura Rotary Club for many years and was rewarded for his service by being made a Paul Harris Fellow. He became a consultant to the firm before illness forced his retirement, but he continued to work part-time almost up to the time of his death on 10th November 2000.
2002 – New premises for the Papakura team
2002 was a momentous year for our Papakura people. After 46 years, the firm had to pack up and move to our new premises at the corner of Wood & East Streets, Papakura (back down at the southern end of town where the firm began).
2003 – The firm expands into Manukau City
Kantilal Balu, who had practised in Manurewa/ Papakura for many years, joined the firm as a Consultant in 2003, based at our Manurewa office. The following year was momentous for our Manurewa people. After being in Manurewa for 44 years we moved to new offices in Manukau City.
2007 – Two new partners
In 2007 Sarah Bush (who had been with us since 2003) and Julian Airey (who had been with us since 2004) were welcomed into partnership.
Sarah is the leader of our Family Law Team whilst Julian is the leader of our Employment Law Team.
It was with much regret that Brian Lynch passed away on 9 September 2012. Both Norm Inder and Brian Lynch provided legal advice and dedication to the people of Papakura and the wider community for more than 50 years, always maintaining the highest professional standards. Their knowledge of the law was supplemented with common sense and humility, enabling them to relate well with people from all walks of life.
Brian Lynch was highly respected within the legal profession, having held offices as President of the Franklin Law Practitioners Association and of the Auckland District Law Society and Vice President of the New Zealand Law Society. He also served on the New Zealand Law Society Ethics Committee and the New Zealand Law Society Disciplinary Tribunal and in 2001 received an award as Distinguished Member of the Auckland District Law Society, a rare and prestigious honour.
Both Norm Inder and Brian Lynch insisted upon the firm and its staff maintaining the highest possible standards in legal advice and services to clients, and the current partners strive to continue this tradition. We are proud that their names live on in the name of the firm and remind us of the obligation to continue to provide quality legal services to clients.
2012 – The firm expands southward
In 2011 an opportunity came to us to expand our firm into the Franklin area. On the 1st April 2012 John Lamborn (who had his own legal firm and had practised at Pukekohe for 20 years) joined us as a Consultant. We located premises in the heart of the shopping/business district of Pukekohe and had the interior refitted to give these offices a similar look to both our Papakura and Manukau offices. Despite many time pressures, we opened on Monday, 2nd April 2012. Craig Inder is now the resident partner at Pukekohe.
Phil Saunders, our Senior Partner, retired as a partner of the firm on the 28th February 2014. Phil commenced working at Inder Lynch as a Solicitor 40 years ago in 1974 and became a partner in the practice the following year.
After starting his legal career as a clerk at Newberry Mead in 1969 he was admitted to the bar as a Barrister and Solicitor in Auckland in 1971.
In his early days as a law clerk, in addition to assisting his employer in legal matters, Phil spent many hours back and forth to the Supreme Court (now the High Court), Land Transfer Office and Stamp Duties Office filing documents over the counter. During this time he built up a good relationship with personnel behind the counter enhancing the reputation of his employers. After a period practising as a litigation lawyer in Auckland, Phil travelled abroad on his O.E. returning at the end of 1973.
Phil practises in commercial and business law, property law, trusts and estate administration.
Phil and his wife live in Northcote and have three adult children and two grandchildren. Phil enjoys sailing, skiing and fishing. He is Honorary Solicitor to Counties Netball, Papakura Women’s Bowling Club and Papakura Senior Citizens Club and many of his clients have used his services for more than thirty years.
When the firm acquired the legal practice of Norman Harris on his retirement in 1999, Phil was responsible for setting up office in Mr Harris’s premises next door to the then Inder Lynch offices in Broadway, Papakura. His staff voluntarily offered to brighten the offices with paint and brush. Phil was successful in integrating that practice into our main Papakura operation when we moved to new offices at Wood Street, Papakura in 2003.
Phil continues as a Consultant to the firm working four days a week. We are pleased that he remains with us as he has a wealth of experience to impart and is a fantastic mentor to younger personnel. He will also be able to continue to assist his large client base. Our thanks go to Phil for his 39 years in partnership and look forward to his continuing association with us as a consultant.
2015 - The firm continues to grow
The firm’s expansion continued in 2015 with Grant Buchanan (formerly sole principal of King Gerrard Partners) joining us as a consultant at our Pukekohe office. King Gerrard Partners had been formed in 1913. It was a highly respected general practice providing a wide range of legal services. Those services will continue and have been expanded with our joint combination.
After over 70 years in business, we believe that the future is bright for our clients and our firm. South Auckland has changed from a rural outpost to a thriving metropolis of its own. The law has significantly changed over that time, presenting a challenge to us to keep up with those changes. In our first "Law Report" in spring 1999 Phil Saunders wrote that we are “a people oriented law firm with a business focus”. It is pleasing to note that we have a large number of loyal clients, with many families having been with us for three or four generations. The high quality of service has been our benchmark for over 70 years. Our commitment is that the same high quality will prevail for the next 70 years.
Our firm was founded by Cliff Amies on 16 January 1946 at Papakura. Cliff recalled, at the time of our 50th anniversary, that he was at the Papakura Military Camp at the beginning of World War Two. Although Papakura "was a sparsely populated rural town, I had a feeling that it might develop because of its position astride the Great South Road and the railway line." At the time, there was only one other lawyer practising in Papakura.
By 1948 the firm was thriving with Norman Inder joining Cliff in August of that year and becoming a Partner in 1949. Cliff retired from the practice in 1951, due to ill-health. In January 1953, Norm employed Brian Lynch as a staff solicitor. Norm invited Brian into partnership on 1 April 1955.
Norm retired from partnership in 1992 and Brian retired from partnership in 1998. Both continued for some time later as Consultants. Current senior members of the team are: Phil Saunders (Consultant who joined us in 1974); Paul Maskell (Managing Partner who joined us in 1979); Chris Lynch (Partner who joined us in 1986); Craig Inder (Partner who joined us in 1987); Greg Stringer (Partner who joined us in 1990); Sarah Bush (Partner who joined us in 2003); and Julian Airey (Partner who joined us in 2004).
Over the past 70 years we have remained committed to the South Auckland region and its people. This commitment is reflected in the continuation of the Inder Lynch Achievement Awards to local secondary school pupils, commenced at our 60th Anniversary. Our region has grown from a small farming community to a major urban area with rural activities on its edges. Our firm has developed its expertise in that time to meet the diverse needs of our clients. Our intention is to continue that development over the forthcoming decades.