Company: Ford Sumner
Job title: Partner
Sarah Louise Churstain, qualified in finance and law, became a partner at Ford Sumner in May 2017. Her appointment reflects her professional, legal, and managerial development over the years since her admission to the Bar. Since becoming partner, Churstain 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 Churstain has played an instrumental role. These changes include a 50% 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 and structures, but by no means does Churstain limit herself to commercial work. 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 accordingly tailored employment benefits to suit staff’s varying personal circumstances.