How To Become A Client

Engaging a lawyer can be a daunting process. At Smith and Partners Lawyers, our friendly and approachable team will help take the stress out of this situation.

How to request an estimate

To request an estimate for how much it will cost for us to provide you with advice on your matter, simply phone us on 09 836 0939 or email We will identify the area of law that is concerning you and direct you to someone who can provide you with an estimate of costs or an hourly rate.

You can also send us an enquiry online here.

Please note that in accordance with our obligations under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, we cannot provide legal advice unless you have become a client of Smith and Partners and have received our Terms & Conditions of Engagement and Information for Clients.

Where possible, we will provide you with an estimate for our services. However for some matters, particularly in regards to disputes, we will provide you with an hourly rate.

How to become a client

To become a client of Smith and Partners, we will require you to complete a Client Information Form and to provide proof of identity and address information.

In some instances we will require a retainer to be paid before we start providing advice or acting on your matter.

In some cases we are required to collect extra information from you to complete our obligations under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing Terrorism Act 2009 (AML/CFT). Learn more here.

The law means that in some cases we won’t be able to start any work for you beyond the first appointment until you have completed the form(s) and we’ve verified your ID and proof of address. We may also need to ask you some further questions at your appointment to complete our Due Diligence.

ID and Proof of Address Requirements

It is our preference to verify your identity and address electronically via a third party app, if you have a NZ or Australian passport, or a NZ Drivers Licence, and access to a cell phone with a camera (read about the security of your information here). Instructions for providing electronic verification are located on our Individual Client Information Form.

If this is not possible, please read the instructions for ID, address and trusted referee requirements here and bring them to your first appointment, or pop into our offices with them. If you cannot use electronic verification or come into our offices in person, please take your ID(s) to a Trusted Referee to verify your identity.

If you have any concerns about being able to comply with the above requirements, please discuss this with us.

Why do we need this information?

The New Zealand Government has recently brought in new legislation that requires lawyers to undertake more formal due diligence (investigation) into the identity of our clients in most cases. This process is very similar to what is currently required by banks.

The good news for you as a client is that this more thorough fact-checking should help prevent you from being the subject of identity theft. We appreciate your cooperation.

What happens next?

We will not begin work for you until you have clearly stated your intention for us to proceed. If you do decide to proceed, we will discuss how the law applies, and how we can help. We will then send you a “Letter of Engagement” outlining the work you have instructed us to carry out on your behalf, naming the people responsible for carrying out the work and re-stating the costs estimated for you.

If there are unforeseen complications, we will advise you as soon as possible to confirm that you are happy for us to continue working on the issue, this work will be charged at a pre-determined hourly rate.

When you work with us, you can rest assured that you’ll receive professional legal advice that is easy to understand, ensuring that you achieve practical results.