Our People

Our strength is our people. Our collaborative approach, consistency of service and wide range of in-house legal expertise ensures the best possible results for our clients.

Our Team

Rod Hooker

Partner | LLB

Bruce Murray

Partner | LLB (Hons)

Michelle Clark

Partner | BA, LLB

Tenille Homes

Associate | BA, LLB (Hons)

Debbie McNab

Associate | LLB

Frank Chan

Associate | LLB

Christine Oh

Associate | BA, LLB

Sara Taylor

Solicitor | LLB

Charlotte Woolston

Legal Executive

Clare Mcguinness-Goodwin

Manager

Susan Denning

Secretary

Victoria Robinson

Secretary

Michael Vallant

Consultant | LLB

Emma Davis

Maternity leave

Our People

VHP & YOU

When you contact a lawyer you should feel comfortable and confident in their abilities . Your lawyer should have a style and approach thats fits with you.

Our relationship with you is critical. Trust and open communication is our business.  We are approachable and polite. When you talk, we listen. Face to face we welcome the hard questions. We do everything within our power to make your legal experience as stress free as we can.

When you engage VHP you can relax knowing that we have got your back. We can assist you with everything from  conveyancing and business issues to family disputes and immigration services. Our solutions focused, in-house team offers a consistency of service that few other firms can.

Our team is encouraged to deepen their knowledge of all aspects of law and go beyond their area of expertise. This interdisciplinary approach strengthens our practice, facilitates collaboration and helps us to flag potential issues for clients. This means we can deliver the clearest, most effective strategies to settle your matters positively, as soon as possible. Our range of expertise means we handle the majority of your needs from one office.

Going to court is rarely the best way to resolve disputes. We work hard to find out of court solutions but sometimes we are left no option. We have a reputation for powerful advocacy. Our litigation team is highly skilled with decades of experience to draw on.  We take the hits so you don’t have to.

We pride ourselves on the ongoing relationships we have developed with our clients. Some have graciously made us feel like part of their family and their community.

The personal relationship you have with your lawyer is key to your success.  We find answers to problems that can sometimes seem insurmountable. We do not take risks for our clients. Instead we provide expert service and beneficial solutions that help people get the best out of their lives.

Our Team

For confidential service and expert advice contact the team that listens now.

Meet The Team

Rod Hooker

|  Criminal  |  Family  |  Employment  |  Immigration  |

Rod has over 40 years’ experience acting for clients in the District Court and High Court, as well as New Zealand’s highest Courts – the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court. He has handled civil matters, criminal trials, employment cases, family law cases and immigration cases. Rod’s depth of experience in the many different Courts is an invaluable asset when representing clients. He is known for his fierce advocacy and for taking on the ‘difficult’ cases. Rod is committed to getting to the root of what a client wants to achieve in Court and then formulating the best case to achieve that objective.

Rod’s career started in the 1970s- an era when all lawyers trained as general practitioners first. This helped lawyers gain insight into how each legal discipline and Court worked. In turn this knowledge enabled lawyers to give practical advice to clients about a spectrum of legal issues. That same ethos is cultivated throughout our entire VHP team today:

An inevitable strength of our business is that we cover almost everything. It is important that our practitioners get exposed to areas outside of their expertise to gain perspective on how things happen and find the angles to run a successful case.”

Aside from his work commitments, Rod spends his free time appreciating the fine arts, including films and local plays. He also has a keen nose for a decent pinot noir or a Central Otago chardonnay.

Bruce Murray

|  General Litigation  |  Civil & Commercial Disputes  |  Employment  |  Property  |

Bruce has had a long career that has spanned most practise areas. He has helped clients navigate issues both in and out of Court, whether it involves their work and family life or their business affairs. He has been to the Privy Council and back. Bruce is skillful at analysing situations succinctly and can advise on civil litigation and dispute resolution, employment and commercial law, as well as relationship property.

A family connection and a love of history and language propelled Bruce into the legal profession. His experience in providing personalised attention over a raft of service areas has earned him the trust of clients for over three decades:

A lawyer should be a conservative voice in people’s lives. We need to listen first to be able to give the right advice to people so they can make their own decision about risk.”

When he is away from the office, Bruce has been known to be an avid player of touch but now walks to keep fit. He is also is fluent in Spanish and will always say yes to a glass of top shelf tequila.

Michelle Clark

|  Litigation   |  Immigration  |  Criminal   |  Employment  |

 

Michelle is no stranger to the Courts and her experience includes all areas of immigration, employment law, criminal (including jury trials in the District and High Court) and litigation.

Going the extra mile is second nature for Michelle. On the rare occasion when she cannot find you an answer the first time, she will persevere until a solution is found. She admits being ‘feisty’ and committed to obtaining successful outcomes for clients.

Michelle’s success and established reputation means the majority of her clients are from word of mouth referrals. Clients feel comfortable with Michelle from their first meeting; many have become friends and in some cases, extended family.

Law is more than a job for Michelle:

Law challenges and excites me. VHP is not another tick the box law firm. VHP has a solid reputation in the Immigration field for taking on the difficult cases and challenging unfair and unlawful decisions in the High Court and Court of Appeal”.  

After the challenge of the working week, Michelle relishes spending her free time at the beach with her family, including her baby girl and two dogs Mollie and Winston.

Tenille Homes

|  Family  |  Litigation  |

Tenille has been practising law for over a decade, specialising in family and civil litigation matters.   She graduated Auckland University with a conjoint degree in Law (Honours) and Arts, with a major in psychology. During her career she has appeared in both the Family Court and High Court, as well as assisting in Court of Appeal cases and a recent appeal to the United Nations. She is hard working, personable and passionate about doing right by her clients. Tenille’s focus is on finding enduring resolutions to complex issues, quickly and with the minimum of fuss.

From parenting orders and adoptions to estate matters and relationship property, Tenille is an all-rounder who delivers a clear and coherent ‘roadmap’ to point her clients in the right direction:

I am driven by achieving the best possible resolution for people who are sometimes at a very low point in their life.”

Tenille was born in South Africa, emigrating to New Zealand at a young age. She loves travelling back to visit her family and explore Kruger National Park. Out of the office and Court, Tenille enjoys quality time with her family and has a secret penchant for science fiction novels.

Debbie McNab

|  Residential & Commercial Property  |  Estates & Trusts  |

With over three decades experience in property, few come better qualified than Debbie to ease the experience of buying, selling or developing property. She has handled transactions from all sides of the property cycle. She has also instructed industry professionals and law graduates on all matters property related.

Whether you need advice on the basics or are planning to build an apartment block, Debbie can assist you to achieve your goals. She handles residential and commercial conveyancing, commercial leasing, and also advises on wills, estates and trusts.

“ Debbie prides herself on giving timely and pragmatic assistance to ensure her clients’ have a worry-free experience.”

Outside of work, Debbie enjoys socialising and is an outstanding host and cook. Debbie’s leisure time includes travelling, skiing, yoga and (weather permitting) gardening.

Frank Chan

|  Residential & Commercial Property  |  Banking & Finance  |

Frank specialises in both private and commercial property transactions. He also has expertise in banking, commercial and corporate law. He can assist you with trusts, wills, estates and succession planning. During his career Frank has acted for local government, created a suite of loan and security documents for an overseas bank, advised locals on starting their own business and helped property buyers both into their first homes and with managing portfolios of investment properties.

One of Frank’s motivations for practising law is that it is a means of contributing to the wider community.

“I enjoy being able to assist people achieve their goals and get where they want to go.”

Outside of law, Frank cultivates both his love for his family and for all things film and television. Frank is an avid cricket fan and has captained a winning pub-quiz trivia team. He is also active in the community, serving on the board of his local toy library.

Christine Oh

|  Immigration  | Litigation  |

Immigration and litigation are Christine’s specialties.

Christine relishes the variety and challenge that each case brings, as well as the opportunity to meet and represent clients of all backgrounds and cultures. When you talk to Christine about law, the words you hear from her most are “helping people.” This was, she says, her “motivation for practising law.”

Christine was born in Seoul, raised in Auckland but has also spent time living in Japan. She is particularly skilled at languages, being fluent in Korean, English and Japanese and is currently learning Mandarin. Christine is also a foodie at heart who tries out new restaurants whenever she can.

Sara Taylor

|  Immigration  | Litigation  |

Immigration and litigation work requires an ability to think outside of the box. Sara is flexible and industrious, finding ways to assist our clients with a number of issues from immigration and criminal matters to debt enforcement.

Sara began her career with Immigration New Zealand working with the Skilled Migrant and Investor Categories. She also spent time in the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s litigation team with a focus on appeals and reviews. What gets Sara to work each day is, “striving for clients to achieve just outcomes”.

In her spare time Sara is an ardent sportswoman and is passing on her soccer skills to a new generation of young women through coaching and mentoring.

Charlotte Woolston

Charlotte is a pragmatic and hardworking legal executive and our ‘go-to girl’. Her areas of expertise include property, trusts, wills and estates. She assists the team with the preparation of documents and meeting with her clients.

Charlotte is dedicated to her role and adaptable to the nuances that every new case brings. The best part of her job she says, is, “helping clients achieve their end goal.”

Charlotte’s interests extend to travel and fashion and when at home likes to practise her cake decorating skills.

Clare Mcguinness-Goodwin

Clare has over 20 years of experience in the legal field, having worked in roles including Legal Executive, Trust Accountant and Practise Manager. She also contracted to lawfirms transferring their manual trust accounts to computerized ones while studying towards her Computer Systems degree at Unitec. The last 7 years Clare has managed a large Medical Centre in Auckland but decided to return to law.

When she is not in the office she enjoys reading, music (plays piano), travel, and cycling New Zealand’s many bike trails.   She has an eye for good design and a fondness for DIY projects which she put to good use renovating her home. She has two grown up sons, who live in Auckland.

Susan Denning

Susan is a senior secretary in our litigation/immigration team. She has worked for over 25 years in Auckland law firms, gaining diverse range of experiences.  Susan enjoys many facets of the job particularly the IT component.  She has strong interpersonal and communication skills coupled with the ability to prioritise and manage multiple responsibilities efficiently and accurately.  Susan is a hard working self-starter committed to providing service to clients.

Susan’s weekends include the regular Sunday movie night with her family and walking along Auckland’s waterfront.

Victoria Robinson

Victoria is a secretary in the litigation/immigration team at VHP. Victoria has a number of years’ experience working in Auckland law firms and has completed a Bachelor of Arts with a criminology major.

Victoria enjoys being part of an energetic environment, which is dedicated to helping people on a practical level. She is particularly passionate about our immigration clients and enjoys seeing them successfully establish their new lives in Aotearoa.

After hours Victoria can be found at a community yoga class or lost in a good book.

Michael Vallant

Mike is a true “general practitioner,” a characteristic not so easy to find these days. His practise areas include conveyancing, subdivisions, trusts, buying and selling businesses, estates, wills and real estate disciplinary law.

Mike has been practising law since 1978 and still gets a buzz from working with people from all walks of life, and helping them find solutions to the challenges they face. He is realistic, pragmatic and a trustworthy confidante.

He considers himself an approachable advisor rather than strictly a lawyer. His easy going manner and ability to demystify the language of law means his clients stay readily informed. “The most gratifying aspect of my job is achieving a good result for my client.”

When he’s not at the office, you will most probably find Mike on or near a hockey turf. He is a life member of North Harbour Hockey and their honorary solicitor.

Emma Davis

|  Immigration  | Litigation  |

Emma assists clients with an eclectic range of litigation matters in both the criminal and civil Courts. She is fearless in her approach to advocacy and pursuing the best interests of her client, whether that is in the context of a criminal prosecution or private litigation matter.

Emma’s spare time is spent either with her friends and family, on the netball Court or in the kitchen testing out new Chelsea Winter recipes. Emma is currently on maternity leave.