Find our team members
who have the right expertise to assist you
with your legal requirements.

Senior Associate

Jane Howden

Jane has been practicing for a number of years and has a considerable experience in a wide variety of legal matters. Hailing from Taranaki she completed her legal studies at Victoria University before moving to Napier and eventually joining Bramwell Bate as a Senior Associate.

Jane specialises in the following areas of practice:

  • Property including subdivisions
  • Trusts
  • Estates and succession planning
  • Wills and Powers of Attorney
  • Elder Law and Residential Care

Jane has a particular interest in:

  • Assisting first home buyers
  • Residential Conveyancing
  • Assisting older clients

When not at work Jane enjoys tramping, cycling, and time with friends and family.

Senior Associate

Anna Bernie

Having been born and raised in Gisborne, Anna returned to Gisborne to practice law after graduating from Victoria University with a Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Arts in Japanese in 2004.

Anna then continued her legal practice at a central Wellington firm before moving to Hawkes Bay in March 2015 with her Hastings born and bred husband and their two young children.

Anna works in the following areas:

  • Property
  • Trusts, estates & succession planning
  • Wills & powers of attorneys
  • Relationship property

Outside of work Anna likes to enjoy the Hawkes Bay lifestyle with family and friends.


Nick Aveling

After more than two decades in the UK, Nick has brought his wealth of experience and expertise back to Hawke’s Bay. Specialising in residential and commercial property, asset planning, Estates, and Trusts, Nick’s professional journey in London included serving a diverse clientele, from high-net-worth individuals and investors to public entities and first home buyers.

In his most recent role at Amphlett Lissimore Bagshaws LLP, Nick also managed a team of solicitors and paralegals. His leadership style is characterised by a welcoming and open approach that extends seamlessly to both clients and team members.

A graduate of the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts, Nick’s early career involved working with a respected law firm in the Manawatu before he set off for Europe.

Now back in Hawke’s Bay, Nick enjoys the relaxed pace of life in one of New Zealand’s most spectacular regions. His return reunited him with family, allows him time to catch up with old friends, and enjoy the proximity of some of the world’s best vineyards right in his backyard.


Alex Fanning

Alex has a Bachelor of Laws from Otago University. Alex focused on family law at Otago University, and he received a research scholarship and prize due to his efforts in this area. Alex has been practising family law since approximately 2016. Alex started his family law career as a lawyer for Oranga Tamariki in Dunedin, regularly appearing in Court on behalf of the Chief Executive. Alex subsequently relocated to Hamilton where he worked in the family law team at a mid-sized firm. More recently, Alex worked at a large national firm where he specialised in resolving complex relationship property disputes. Alex is an experienced litigator and can assist with the resolution of a wide range of family law issues, whether by agreement, or via an application to the Family Court.

Alex works in the following areas:

  • Relationship property disputes
  • Contracting out agreements, or separation agreements
  • Spousal support
  • Dissolution of marriage
  • Parenting orders and agreements
  • Oranga Tamariki matters
  • Paternity and adoptions
  • Child support
  • Other Family Court proceedings

In his spare time, Alex enjoys tackling a home DIY project and working in his garden.


Amy Cowan

Amy has wide ranging experience in property law, with a focus on subdivisions, property developments and commercial and residential conveyancing.

She is a Conveyancing Practitioner and Registered Legal Executive and has extensive experience advising on Lending and Regulated Financial Services, and has provided high level advice to lenders, borrowers, and guarantors in all types of commercial and private transactions.

Amy also serves as an Executive Board Member for the NZ Society of Conveyancers, a member of the Standards Committee, and an associate member of the NZ Law Society.

Amy has both managed and been involved with the following range of transaction:

  • Joint ventures to apply for town planning changes to maximise future urban growth
  • Subdivisions of urban housing, rural lifestyle estates and horticultural/viticultural land
  • Freeholding of unit title and cross lease properties
  • Large scale Auckland subdivisions (300 plus lots within numerous stages)
  • The establishment and legal management of a mid-sized wholesale lending company in Auckland
  • Establishment and ongoing management of owners’ associations and joint access ownership lots via encumbrances, covenants, and easements.

Amy moved down from Auckland recently and is enjoying the pace of life in Hawke’s Bay. She holds a Diploma in Dance and Theatre Arts and has an ongoing interest in musical theatre.  While a known performer, Amy is also a Trustee of the Amici Trust and a committee member for the Napier Operatic Society.


Charlie Robson

Charlie has been practising relationship property and Family law since 2018 following completion of his studies at the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Laws. He joined Bramwell Bate as an Associate in March 2024 following his return to home to Hawke’s Bay and we’re thrilled to have him back.

But Charlie’s contributions extend beyond the office. He’s deeply committed to advocating for the rights of Māori and improving access to justice for Māori communities. As a member of the Te kōmiti ture-ā-whānau o te hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa (Māori Family Law Committee), he’s at the forefront of this mission. Charlie is also a Lead Legal Aid Provider (Family Law).

He adds to our firm’s growing number of sports enthusiasts and has previously played rep cricket for Hawke’s Bay and up until the end of 2023/24 cricket season was a keen member of the Weedons Cricket Club in Christchurch. Keep an eye out for his return to the Hawke’s Bay cricket scene this summer!

But Charlie is not just about work and cricket. He’s involved in giving back to the community, having lent his support to Ronald McDonald House and It Takes A Village charities while in the South Island.

Charlie specialises in:

  • relationship property and spousal maintenance disputes.
  • the protection of assets prior to a relationship.
  • the division of assets upon separation including personally owned assets, companies and trusts.
  • care of children, guardianship and family violence disputes.