Saunders & Co was founded by R L Saunders who was originally a licensed land broker. Mr Saunders later became qualified as a Barrister and Solicitor and commenced practice in 1922 with a staff of two.
The practice was first housed in Hereford Court, on Hereford Street between Colombo Street and Oxford Terrace. The staff numbers grew as the practice expanded until, in the late 1920’s, Mr Saunders employed 13 staff. One particular employee, by the name and title of Baron de Montalk apparently found the hurly burly of legal practice in the colonies not to his liking. He resigned and returned to England to become, in later life, a poet of some note.
The firm was then guided through the depression years of the 1930’s by R C (Bob) Saunders, son of the founder. In due course, the number of partners grew, and by the end of the 1950’s the firm comprised three partners. During this time there was an emphasis on conveyancing, estates and involvement with large residential developments. In the mid 1970’s the firm took the decision to increase its common law and litigation expertise, an area now involving three partners and an integral part of the practice.
In the volatile years of the 1980’s the firm continued to grow and, while continuing to offer the broadest range of services, specialised in many areas with an emphasis on commercial and corporate advice, civil litigation, insurance work, insolvency and property law.
The next major step for the firm involved broadening its service access base with the introduction of suburban offices in Woolston (now Ferrymead) and Hornby.
The new millennium saw Saunders & Co emerge as a resilient and cohesive firm, embracing new information technologies and work practices such as Landonline electronic registrations, real-time banking systems, and virtual workplace. The practice has steadily grown its existing client base in conjunction with the incorporation of the Wood Marshall practice in 2002, and more recently Paul Coghlan (formerly of Coghlan Smith) in 2011.
Of course, 2010 and 2011 were most testing years for any Christchurch business to endure. We all continue to “live through history”.
Saunders & Co and its staff have incurred their fair share of upheaval and distress, but our confidence in the future of our firm, Christchurch, and Canterbury is undiminished.