06 758 7101

our people

Karen Venables

Director, LLB

Property & Commercial Law Expert, Director & Business Owner

Karen has significant experience in understanding the legal challenges which business owners and leaders face and is passionate about helping small to medium Taranaki businesses to access upfront and affordable legal advice.

Karen is actively involved in the community and is a Trustee of the Taranaki Life Education Trust and the Mellowpuff Charitable Trust. Karen is enthusiastic about supporting Taranaki children and families wherever she can and helps children with writing skills at Fitzroy School once a week. Karen also assists Fitzroy Surf Club and various local swimming clubs with their legal work where she can.

Outside of work, Karen enjoys spending time with her partner Tom and their young children Emilee and Samuel. She also enjoys hitting the beach, swimming, trekking (she has trekked in Nepal twice) and spending time with good friends.

Karen Venables, Property lawyer, Commercial Lawyer
Cara Gelston, Family lawyer & Employment Lawyer

Cara Gelston

Director, LLB (Hons) BA

Family & Employment Law Expert, Director & Business Owner

Cara brings a pragmatic and empathetic approach to family and employment law. Cara is passionate about helping people with the best legal advice and solutions. Cara is a genuine people person who prides herself on being able to find solutions to difficult situations.

Helping others really motivates Cara and in addition to being on the Central School Board of Trustees, she is also a Trustee for Taranaki Women’s Refuge. Despite all these good things Cara doesn’t like to share cupcakes and watchout when she is hungry!

For fun, Cara likes to eat great food, read great books, drink great wine and go for long walks with friends. Cara also enjoys going on bike rides with her boys Cam and Dylan and is just getting into mountain biking and running. Cara shares a love of travelling with her husband Tim and would ideally like to live in both NZ and UK (summers of course) one day in the distant future.

Kathryn Price

Legal Executive

Kathryn joined the Legal Solutions 4 years ago. Prior to joining the team she was with the Ministry of Justice for 10 years. During that time she gained a wealth of knowledge in respect to court processes and Family Court work. Kathryn has recently obtained her Legal Executive Diploma and is looking forward to putting those skills to use within her role.


Kathryn is a people person who enjoys interacting with people from all walks of life.  She is passionate about her work and provides invaluable support to the team of family law specialists within the firm. She is often the first point of contact for new clients requiring family law assistance.


Kathryn grew up in Taranaki. She is married to Ian and has two teenage children Khiarn and Katana who manage to keep her busy when she is not at work. Kathryn enjoys home renovating in her spare time and is often on the end of a plastering trowel or paint brush. She also enjoys baking and spending time with family and friends or just relaxing listening to music.

Kathryn Price, Legal Executive
Ashleigh Gilmour, Legal Executive

Ashleigh Gilmour

Legal Executive

Currently on maternity leave, Ashleigh is a bright and energetic Executive Assistant, whose main role is to provide support to Karen to ensure everything in their property and commercial team runs smoothly. Ashleigh has worked exceptionally hard on her legal career and is currently studying for a Legal Executive Diploma through the Open Polytechnic.

Ashleigh and her husband Tim recently become new parents to a gorgeous daughter Milla.  Ashleigh also enjoys sports and socialising with friends and family.

Emma Hamilton



Emma loves interacting with people and meeting those from all walks of life. A graduate from Victoria University of Wellington, Emma is fanatical about providing humanitarian based legal solutions, which led her to specialise in Family Law. 

Emma is passionate about active living, health, food and travel. She loves a sunny weekend in New Plymouth, making the most of the walkways, beaches and enjoying delicious food and wine with family and friends. Emma is also a keen skier and enjoys adventures in the mountains with her partner and family.            

Emma Hamilton, Family Law Expert
Susan Brooke, Executive Assistant

Susan Brooke

Executive Assistant

Susan, a talented multi-tasker, assists the commercial team at Legal Solutions. 

Susan has two beautiful daughters Millie and Pippa who love to dance and both do competitive dancing. Susan likes to keep busy and doesn’t sit still for very long. Whether its baking with her girls, being a 'dance' mum, socialising, entertaining, photography or doing DIY projects at home – she’s always planning the next activity.            

Rachel Evans

Lawyer, LLB


Rachel is a recent graduate from Victoria University of Wellington. While at university Rachel discovered a passion for Contract Law which focused her degree on the Commercial Law area. Prior to becoming a Lawyer Rachel worked the hospitality industry for a number of years where she enjoyed meeting lots of different people and hearing their stories.

Rachel grew up in rural Taranaki, she comes from a very large extended family. Rachel is an avid music lover and enjoys going to concerts, musical stage shows and even the odd opera. Rachel enjoys the unique lifestyle Taranaki offers and loves to spend time with family and friends.            

Rachel Evans, Property lawyer & Employment Lawyer
Jessica Churchman, Family Lawyer, Employment Lawyer

Jessica Churchman

LLB, BA, GDipTeach


Jess brings her experience in litigation, family and employment law to the team at Legal Solutions. Jess is motivated to achieve great results for clients, and breaking legal jargon down into easy to understand, accessible information. She is also passionate about being upfront with respect to fees and timeframes, and making legal advice as uncomplicated and stress-free as possible.

Also a qualified primary school teacher, Jess is passionate about the achievement of young people, and tries to be involved in any way she can with events that benefit children’s health and wellbeing.

Outside work, Jess is busy running round after her young son, Charlie, and spending quality time with her husband Joe. She enjoys being outdoors and exploring the beauty that Taranaki has to offer with her family and friends. In her free time, you can generally find her building sand castles with her son, or fishing at Oakura beach.

Amanda Bound

Registered Legal Executive

Estates, Family Trusts & Wills

Amanda is a Registered Legal Executive and has worked predominantly in law since leaving school.  She is married with two adult sons.  Her legal interests are in the areas of conveyancing, estates, trusts and estate planning.

In December 2014 Amanda was appointed as a Justice of the Peace, and in March 2015 was appointed as a Marriage and Civil Union Celebrant.  Amanda has also studied Reiki and is a Level 3a Master in Reiki and Level 4 in Shamballa.  Amanda brings all these outside interests into her daily life and believes that she treats her clients with the respect and dignity they deserve.  

Amanda is currently learning the Gypsy Caravan style of dance and to Stand up Paddleboard.  In her spare time she loves to relax with a good book.

Phone: 067587101
Amanda Bound, Legal executive. Estates, Family Trusts & Wills
Fiona Nicholson, Business Coordinator

Fiona Nicholson

Business Coordinator / MLCO

Fiona provides financial and marketing solutions for the company. With a  diploma in Financial Services, Fiona’s background has been in parallel sectors of the financial arena – predominately within Real Estate and Insurance industries. Bringing with her a vast array of transferrable skills, Fiona is ardent on customer satisfaction and has a zealous approach to her job.  

Fiona has recently taken on the role of Compliance Office for the AML/CFT Act 2009 ensuring Legal Solutions obligations are met under the new legislation which came into effect on 1st July 2018.

After cycling the length of New Zealand for awareness of rural mental health, Fiona’s time outside of work now consists of the exhilaration brought about by mountain biking. “I love it!” she says with excitement; “It takes me out of my comfort zone and forces me into situations that test me both mentally and physically”. Needless to say, she is continually up for a challenge both in her personal life and at work.

Phone: 06 7587106

Michyla Hart

Lawyer, LLB

Family Law

After testing the waters in an in-house legal compliance role, Michyla knew private practice was the exciting next step for her. She has always been passionate about finding ways to help others in both her work and personal life. With this, and a bit of help from the movie Erin Brockovich, Michyla knew that becoming a lawyer was the role for her.  Here at Legalsolutions, Michyla is excited to give clients the experience of a modern law environment and she prides herself on providing efficient and understandable legal advice.

Outside of work, Michyla loves to spend time with family and friends. She is a DIY art and crafts kind-of-girl, and has a love for scrapbooking with her daughter, Janaya. You will find her and her young boy, Kayden at the beach taking on the waves, or at the BMX park dropping into the bowl. He is just as adventurous as she is, so they make a good team on the weekends finding fun things to do.

Michyla Hart, Family Lawyer
Amanda Clinton-Gohdes, Legal Clerk

Amanda Clinton-Gohdes


Amanda completed her law degree at the University of Auckland in 2011. After several years working in relationship management and policy roles within the tertiary sector, Amanda joined the Commercial and Property team at Legal Solutions in 2018. Amanda enjoys working with people to navigate the law and to help solve problems.

Amanda is passionate about contributing to her community. While living in Auckland Amanda served on the Board of Professionelle Foundation, and since moving to Taranaki in 2017 she has been volunteering her time at Taranaki Retreat.

In her spare time, Amanda likes to explore the outdoors, enjoy the lively Taranaki arts scene, cook for friends, and spend time with her husband Justin. She is also currently studying Te Reo Māori at Te Wānanga o Aotearoa.

Maryanne Rossiter-Bennett

Executive Assistant

A positive and enthusiastic person, Maryanne’s main role is to provide support to Karen and the dedicated folk in the Property and Commercial team.

Maryanne loves to travel and has gained a wealth of experience across a range of industries from educational publishing to IBM and Apple to African safari adventures having spent 10 years living, working and exploring around the world. She brings with her a wide range of transferrable skills and a love of people and new challenges. Back in Taranaki she helped found Arthouse Cinema, and was a Playcentre and Active Birth stalwart for many years.

Maryanne loves living in the friendly village of Oakura with her husband, Ross, and two young daughters, Sula and Siena.  She holds a BA in Psychology, is currently studying for a Graduate Diploma in Human Resources Management, and has an enthusiasm for people from all walks of life. Speaking of which, Maryanne loves walking, tramping, exploring the outdoors, beach life, great food with friends and family, fine wine, good movies, live performance, Spanish and Maori culture, and is a member of the like-to-think-they're-famous, fabulous Ladies 80's Choir.


Maryanne Rossiter-Bennett, Executive Assisstant
Tabitha Petersen, Customer Service Coordinator

Tabitha Petersen

Customer Service Coordinator / Executive Assistant

We are thrilled to have Tabitha as our customer service coordinator. Her bubbly nature and can-do attitude makes you feel right at home in our firm. While she is the face of Legal Solutions, behind the scenes she is also balancing the role of executive assistant for our family team lawyers.

With a passion for travel, water sports and spending time with family and friends; Tabitha has been involved in the oil and gas industry for the past 5 years. Prior to this she was immersed in the legal profession and has a vast array of experience in support roles within the industry making her the ideal person for her role at Legal Solutions.

Phone: 067587101