Michael was admitted to the bar in 1987. He has over 25 years commercial litigation experience gained in New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Michael Thornton | mike@thornton.net.nz |  LinkedIn

Michael Thornton | mike@thornton.net.nz | LinkedIn

Michael has been in private practice as a barrister and solicitor since 2005, when he established his own specialist litigation practice. Prior to that, he spent a number of years as partner at a commercial law firm in charge of its litigation department. Before that he practiced for eight years at a leading insurance law practice.

Michael’s principal areas of expertise are in building and construction litigation, landlord and tenant law, and insurance litigation. Since 1996 he has had experience in dealing with various building defect and leaky building cases. He has acted for owners of leaky houses, standalone dwellings and multi-unit complexes, and has also defended claims against developers, architects, vendors, builders, plasterers, and other tradesmen.

Since the development of Alternative Dispute Resolution in New Zealand in the mid 1990’s Michael has gained widespread experience in representing clients at mediations and Settlement Conferences. He appears regularly at the Weathertight Homes Tribunal and the courts and has extensive advocacy experience in both those jurisdictions.

Fiona McLaren |   fiona  @thornton.net.nz

Fiona McLaren |  fiona@thornton.net.nz


Fiona completed a BA and LLB at Auckland University before returning after 5 years’ law practice to complete an MA (Hons). Admitted to the bar in 1988, Fiona practised in multiple areas of litigation before specialising in civil and commercial litigation. This involved disputes over contracts or damage caused by negligence.

Fiona’s clients have ranged from large corporates to part-time employees, for whom she has appeared at specialist Tribunals and all Court levels up to the Court of Appeal. Specialising in leaky building litigation for the last several years, Fiona has acted for local authorities, home owners and those involved in construction proceedings before the High Court and the Weathertight Homes Tribunal. 


Jennifer Danielsen | jennifer@thornton.net.nz

Jennifer Danielsen | jennifer@thornton.net.nz

Jennifer Danielsen

Jennifer was admitted to the bar in both New Zealand and New South Wales in 2011 after obtaining her Bachelor of Laws in 2010 from James Cook University in Australia. In 2004 Jennifer completed a Bachelor of Business in her home country of Canada and following this moved to Taiwan and later Australia for work and study.

Jennifer spent a year and a half working in the areas of Criminal and Immigration law prior to making the move to building and construction litigation and joining Michael Thornton in 2013.



Karen Stark  | karen  @thornton.net.nz

Karen Stark | karen@thornton.net.nz

Karen Stark

Karen provides secretarial and receptionist support to the team and will be your first point of contact. In January 2015 Karen returned to New Zealand after living in Australia for 13 years where she worked as a legal secretary in a number of different areas of law.  One of Karen’s first assignments on her return to New Zealand was working for Mike and his team, and later that year Karen joined the team on a permanent basis.