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Ford Sumner partner recognised as Rising Star

Sarah Churstain from Ford Sumner, the specialist Wellington commercial law firm, has been named by NZ Lawyer in their inaugural 2020 Rising Stars’ list acknowledging up and coming stars in the legal profession who are committed to making a difference.

NZ Lawyer describes these Rising Stars as future leaders who have not only made incredible advancements within their own companies, but who are also recognised by the wider legal profession for their work with charitable trusts and organisations; for leading on diversity and inclusion; for producing books and papers on their areas of expertise to drive the industry forward; and most importantly, for being mentors to aspiring junior lawyers.

Ford Sumner partner Jaesen Sumner said, “We are extremely proud of Sarah’s achievements including her selection by NZ Lawyer as a Rising Star. She is an exceptional colleague and an expert corporate and commercial lawyer.

“Sarah has guided Ford Sumner clients through many mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures across a wide range of industries. She delivers a strong focus on business and corporate restructuring, corporate governance and financial matters, including company liquidations.”

Sarah who is qualified in finance and law, joined Ford Sumner in 2009 and became a partner in 2017, in recognition of her professional, legal, and leadership development over the years since her admission to the Bar.

Since becoming partner, Sarah had her first child in mid-2018 and, after a short period of parental leave, she returned to the office, balancing family life with a growing personal practice. In the time that she’s been partner, Ford Sumner has undergone significant developments in which Sarah has played an instrumental role. These changes include a 50 per cent increase in the number of lawyers at the firm; specifying and moving to new and larger premises; rebranding and developing, and formally adopting firm values and policies.

Her work covers a range of property, general contracts and business acquisitions. She is also an appointed senior counsel for the Accident Compensation Corporation, the youngest and one of only 15 throughout New Zealand on this panel.

As a working mother, she has also promoted Ford Sumner’s approach to being an employer which assists new parents in their return to work and tailors employment benefits to suit staff’s varying personal circumstances.

Jaesen Sumner said, “The entire firm join me in congratulating Sarah on receiving this well-deserved accolade.”

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