Rural law has progressed dramatically in recent years, and Partner Aaron Drake loves being right in the thick of it.
Aaron divides his time between AWS Legal’s head office in Invercargill and its Gore branch, enabling him to take his expertise directly to the firm’s rural clients.
“I’m not the sort of person who likes to sit in the back room – I like to get out there and meet the people,” he says.
A rural law expert, Aaron also specialises in commercial law, particularly in company formations, small business and property subdivisions, as well as wills and trusts.
Aaron relishes any opportunity to arm himself with new skills. “Law is always changing so you have to keep up with it.”
Gone are the days of farms being regarded as small family businesses – with many farms worth over $1 million, farmers have adopted a more professional approach. “They’re now more business orientated than they ever have been,” Aaron says. “They’ve got more advisors on board than they used to. There’s just so much to be gained if they look at it seriously.’’
Since joining AWS Legal as an office junior in 1993, Aaron has progressed through the ranks. “Just being involved in law, that’s where the interest evolved,” he says. After graduating from Otago University in 1999, Aaron honed his skills at the firm before seeking out the bright lights of London in 2002, where he worked in general and property litigation. “I did learn a lot – it was another perspective,” he says. Making a lifestyle choice, Aaron and his wife, Amanda, returned to New Zealand in December 2003.
A self-confessed “sports fanatic”, Aaron says Southland provides the perfect playground to actively pursue his sporting passion and his latest recreational pursuit – flyfishing.