Outstanding Results for Over 15 Years



Founded in 2005 by Mark Ford and Jaesen Sumner, Ford Sumner has delivered outstanding results to our clients for over 15 years. We are skilled across many areas, but specialise in corporate, commercial and employment law, and dispute resolution.

Our clients are diverse, from individuals to SMEs, corporates, and public sector agencies, and are spread across the country.

Our team of enthusiastic and highly qualified professionals is passionate about getting to know you and your business. We focus on delivering accessible, flexible and personalised service to find the best solutions for your business; using the latest technology, we provide top quality fully automated legal documents.

You'll always receive personal and bespoke service from our partners and lawyers – get in touch, we’re here to help.

Our expertise


Whether your business needs advice on terms and conditions of supply, or agency, distribution, outsourcing or licensing agreements, we deal with all manner of commercial contracts. Our experienced drafters and negotiators will advise you on interpretation, and help you achieve the best legal outcomes for your business.

All commercial relationships involve elements of risk; we’re experts in developing strategies to best manage these.

Our service includes:

  • business sales and purchases
  • commercial contracting
  • procurement
  • professional services
  • trading arrangements
  • lending and finance
  • securities
  • intellectual property
  • competition
  • fair trading
  • technology
  • franchising.

Commercial Specialists

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Wherever your company is at in its lifecycle, we have the corporate law experts to support you. Whether you’re looking to review structure, governance or compliance arrangements, or have new strategic, business or financial goals, the Ford Sumner team have the knowledge and experience to guide you through. 

We’re ready to meet your needs in:

  • shareholder relationships
  • company law
  • governance
  • directors’ duties
  • mergers and acquisitions
  • compliance

Corporate Specialists

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Corporate insolvency & turnaround

With expertise and experience in all aspects of corporate insolvency, our insolvency team delivers tailored, commercial advice. Each situation is unique; we provide appropriate advice from business restructuring, to impact minimisation, and rights enforcement.

We’ll work with you to develop strategies for:

  • receiverships
  • liquidations
  • voluntary arrangements
  • statutory powers and duties
  • debt recovery
  • enforcement actions
  • restructuring
  • compromises

Corporate insolvency & turnaround Specialists

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Medico legal & health care law

We’ve represented clients in a wide range of medico legal and dispute resolution matters, as well as investigations and disciplinary proceedings. We have extensive knowledge around privacy and information, and health and safety.

Our clients range from medical practices and practitioners, to insurers and individuals. We know these matters can be sensitive; you can rely on us to act with discretion and care, whatever the matter or its complexity. Our team can support you in any aspect of medico-legal law.

Medico Legal & Health Care Law Specialists

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We provide advice on all aspects of insurance law, our experienced team acts on disputed claims, and provides regulatory and compliance advice. We also provide review and advice on Policy wording.

Other insurance law we deal with includes:

  • policy response advice
  • acting for insurers by appointment from insurer
  • reviewing and writing policy wording
  • providing regulatory and compliance advice to insurers
  • provide advice regarding scope of insurance cover for businesses
  • risk management
  • policy issues
  • disaster recovery

Insurance Specialists

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Dispute resolution

With a focus on quality and a pragmatic approach, we deliver outstanding solutions by combining in-depth commercial knowledge with technical excellence.

Every case is unique, and we listen and respond appropriately. Litigation isn’t the only option; we’re highly experienced in mediation and arbitration, and will recommend the most appropriate approach for your requirements.

Our litigation team can support you with:

  • litigation
  • mediation
  • preventing and resolving issues
  • arbitration

Dispute Resolution Specialists

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Mediation is a safe and effective way to get to the heart of the issue and to explore resolution options before getting entrenched in costly battles. Our highly experienced mediation specialists understand the time, cost and resource disputes can consume, not to mention the stress an active court proceeding can cause for you, your business and your family.

Importantly, Ford Sumner recognizes that in mediation, the parties control the outcome of the dispute in a way that provides certainty in a cost-effective manner. 

Types of disputes mediated:

  • Contract and Commercial Disputes
  • Employment
  • Shareholder, director and partnership
  • Wills and estates
  • Family protection and testamentary promises claims
  • Trusts
  • Insurance 

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Mediation Specialists

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Employment & HR

Whether you’re an employer or employee, when you want employment advice, you need approachable experts you can trust. Ford Sumner’s specialist employment team are genuine and relatable. With extensive experience in litigation and investigating grievances and incidents, we have a wealth of skills to support you.

Our team also provide workplace training on performance management and acceptable workplace behaviour, helping you to manage future risk and build safer workplaces.

Other areas we provide employment and HR advice include:

  • individual employment agreements
  • collective employment agreements
  • restructures and redundancies
  • procedures and advice for hiring, performance management, misconduct and dismissal
  • general advice – holiday pay, Kiwisaver, etc
  • health and safety compliance

Employment & HR Specialists

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When unbiased and legally robust workplace investigations are needed, our record speaks for itself. Our highly experienced team have worked with employers across New Zealand to scope and carry out investigations. This may include interviewing employees, and reviewing policies, documentation, and any other relevant evidence.

We draw our findings together into a confidential report, outlining the event and our recommendations.

If you’re wondering how to begin with a workplace investigation, contact us – our specialist team can help.

Investigations Specialists

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Property & construction

In a constantly changing legislative environment, property and leasing can be challenging. Our senior property lawyers ensure they’re up-to-date with these changes and industry practice, so you can focus on other things. They actively work with you to identify the approach that best meets your needs for each transaction.

We work with you to establish your requirements, and identify the risks of your project. The last thing we want is issues escalating and disrupting work; together we identify and implement strategies to manage these.

Our expertise covers:

  • buying or selling property assets
  • leasing and property management
  • licencing
  • due diligence
  • contracting and financing negotiations
  • construction
  • council and regulatory consents
  • development

Property & Construction Specialists

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Environment & regulatory

With environmental and land use development law becoming more and more complex, our specialist team cut through the red tape, to find solutions to your problems. We have a wealth of experience in complex litigation and environmental issues. Detailed legal advice and rigorous due diligence are our forte.

We bridge the gap between our clients and industry professionals, ensuring solutions are integrated and robust, while remaining cost effective.

We also provide advice on:

  • enforcement
  • statutory liability
  • planning law

Environment & Regulatory Specialists

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Family Law

Our Family Law team is led by Senior Lawyer Ruth Williams, who has expert knowledge in multiple areas of Family Law. Ruth was previously a clerk to the Principal Family Court Judge, where she provided broad research, executive and legal support. She has an in-depth understanding of the “why” as well as the “how” to key areas of Family Law including Care of Children, Relationship Property, Child Protection, and Protection of Personal and Property Rights. Ruth has previously made numerous appearances in the Family Court representing the State in Child Protection proceedings.

Senior Lawyer Jordan Todd also has significant experience across a wide range of Family Law matters including Relationship Property (both contracting out agreements and resolution of disputes), Adoption, Guardianship, Partnership Visa applications and all aspects of Estate Planning. 

Partner Jaesen Sumner works with both Ruth and Jordan, bringing a broad knowledge and understanding of Family Law matters to the team, with particular expertise in Estate claims and disputes.

We assist clients through this delicate area of law by appreciating the bigger picture of family dynamics. We apply a careful and considered approach, take time to understand your unique situation, and focus on achieving fair, appropriate and expedient outcomes for our clients. 

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Family Law Specialists

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