– Wellington – A number of law firms in the Hawkes Bay… – Wellington – A number of law firms in the Hawkes Bay and East Coast regions have landed significant payments from the legal aid system, notwithstanding claims that funding of legal aid is insufficient and people are being left unrepresented in Court.

The top earner in the region was Gisborne’s Burnard Bull with legal aid earnings of $434,000 for the 12 months until June 2006. They were followed by barrister Tony Snell with $392,000.

The figures were obtained by legal news website, under the Offical Information Act, which show payments made to over 1400 New Zealand lawyers and law firms. The top 50 claimants together shared over $20 million in legal aid payments for the year. (See full list:

Top of the heap in terms of legal aid earnings was Kensington Swan, Wellington, which took $2.268,000 for the 12 months.

Among the top group was Solicitor General, David Collins QC, at Number 18 on the list of lawyers who shared most from the largesse of the Country’s legal aid payments where he took home almost $400,000 for the 12 months’ period.

Two lawyers, one in sole practitioner in Wellington and one barrister in Auckland earned almost $1 million each in legal aid takings. Wellington’s Sonja Cooper took home over $950,000 beating Auckland barrister Charles Hirschfeld by $14,000. Hirschfeld handles Maori and fisheries work.

The top 10 firms, and their legal aid earnings, from the Hawkes Bay / Gisborne region were:

Hawkes Bay / East Coast

1. Burnard Bull 434,000
2. Tony Snell, Barrister 392,000
3. Eric Forster, Barrister 323,000
4. Rishworth Wall 273,000
5. Carlile Dowling 211,000
6. Paul Harman, Barrister 169,000
7. Steve Manning, Barrister 148,000
8. Philip Jensen, Barrister 139,000
9. Gresson Grayson 138,000
10. Napier Law 137,000
© 2007

The full list is available for free download from the website: log in to

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