Our Team

Jeff Walker

Jeff grew up in Invercargill and attended James Hargest High School.

When he left High School, he worked as a commercial diver and cray-fisherman, before starting extramural tertiary studies in 1973. He completed a Law Degree at Otago University in 1976. While at University, Jeff obtained his commercial skippers ticket and joined the New Zealand Territorial Army. Jeff was commissioned as an Infantry Officer before completing his university studies. In 1977 he worked as a tutor at the New Zealand Technical Correspondence Institute in Lower Hutt, before accepting a job as a staff Solicitor at Watson Savage at the beginning of 1978. His initial practise area involved all sorts of Court appearances, and commercial work associated with the fishing industry.

In March 1981, Jeff joined Trevor Savage in the firm Watson Savage. In 1984, Watson Savage amalgamated with Hanan Arthur & Co to form Arthur Watson Savage. Jeff continued as a Partner at Arthur Watson Savage until 1999. Jeff was the first managing Partner of Arthur Watson Savage and held that role for about 5 years. As a Court Lawyer, Jeff has conducted Jury Trials, civil cases in the District Court and High Court. Jeff has also conducted a number of appeals to the Court of Appeal as Counsel.

Jeff continues to be appointed as Lawyer for Children and also as Counsel to Assist the Court. He was appointed Amicus Curiae in a case resulting from the sinking of the ‘Easy Rider’.

Throughout his career, Jeff has been active in the Governance of both not for profit and profit organisations. He was elected to the Board of the Southland Building Society (SBS Bank) in 1998 and resigned as Deputy Chairman in 2016. Jeff was Chairman of the Bank’s Subsidiaries, Finance Now, and Funds Administration New Zealand Limited for a number of years. 

Jeff continues to be involved in a number of community organisations and is currently:-
• President of Southland Football;
• President of the Southland WEA – trading as Southland Education;
• President of the Federation of Workers Educational Association in Aotearoa.

Cleland Murdoch

Cleland was born and bred in Southland and is in his 40th year of practising law in Invercargill. Cleland began his career at Tait Ward & Co in 1977 before beginning his own legal practice as a sole practitioner in 1999. In 2005 Cleland joined forces with Jeff Walker.

Cleland’s work includes conveyancing, trusts, wills, estates, matrimonial matters and is also Lawyer for child. Cleland has a down to earth approach to matters and provides reliable and honest advice to clients.

He has also been the District Inspector for Mental Health for a number of years.

Out of work Cleland is involved with Harness Racing, enjoys watching sports and spending time with his wife and family which includes 2 grandchildren. He also enjoys the odd bit of travelling.

Cheryl Officer

Cheryl is a solicitor specialising in property and conveyancing matters. Cheryl, an Otago graduate was admitted in 2012. Prior to obtaining her law degree Cheryl was the office manager and law clerk for Jeff Walker. She has been with the firm since its original inception in 1999. Cheryl is a past chairperson of Southland District Rugby League and is a current Board member of Southern Zone Rugby League.

Pip Walker

In 2019, Pip returned to Walker Murdoch Law where she had first worked as an office junior, a law clerk and later, a graduate lawyer.

Pip grew up in Invercargill and attended James Hargest College and graduated from the University of Otago with a double degree in Law and Arts majoring in Communication. Following her admission to practice law in Invercargill in 2013 she then practiced in Melbourne and Sydney specialising in family law and associated private client matters.

Pip is passionate about the delivery of sustainable long-term outcomes to disputes, especially those that arise from relationship breakdowns. Pip believes in applying a costs sensitive approach and the importance of having a "big picture" outlook when navigating disputes involving children.

Pip has acted in a variety of matters including complex financial matters involving corporate entities, third party intervenors, disputed valuation matters and matters involving complex trust structures. Pip enjoys the challenges of the varying nature of client’s financial arrangements. Pip has been involved in a variety of complicated and sensitive parenting disputes including those involving allegations of family violence as well as alcohol, illicit substances and sexual abuse allegations. Many of these have required strong advocacy in a Court setting.

Pip believes that litigation in some matters is unavoidable, but where possible, prevention is better than cure. As such, she provides clients with advice in relation to asset protection and estate structuring and encourages and provides a range of alternate dispute resolution including collaborative practice and mediation. In Melbourne, Pip held the Executive Committee Role as the Vice President of the Victorian Association of Collaborative Professionals. Pip is available to assist with Trans-Tasman disputes and is admitted to practice in the Supreme Court of Victoria, and previously in NSW.

Outside of the office, Pip enjoys a great variety of outdoor pursuits which played a large role in her desire to return to Southland.

Sarah Templeton

Sarah has been working in the law industry for 22 years. She began with Cleland Murdoch at Tait Ward Adams & Murdoch and then moved with Cleland when he started out as a sole practitioner. She then moved to Walker Murdoch Law. Sarah deals with conveyancing files. Sarah enjoys the variety that you get in this line of work.

Kylie Keen

Kylie is a Law Clerk in our firm working with Cheryl. She undertakes conveyancing and enjoys the variety that comes with this.

Christie Nelson

Christie has worked in the legal field since 2005 and with our firm since 2013. In her full time position as a Law Clerk, Christie is involved in all aspects of Conveyancing.

Whilst Christie is a mother of three, she is also in her fourth year of study for her Legal Executive Diploma.

Natasha Careswell

Natasha has 10 years’ experience in the legal industry. She has recently completed her qualification in Legal Executive studies.

In her role, Natasha is involved with assisting the Directors in several aspects of the law, including:-

  • Family Law
  • Trust and Asset Planning
  • Estate Administration
  • Conveyancing
  • Debt Collection

Rheanna Hunt

Rheanna joined our team at the beginning of 2017. She is our Trust Account Administrator as well as Legal Secretary to Jeff Walker. 


Courtney Dempster

Courtney joined our team in June 2019. Courtney is a Legal Secretary for Cleland and our receptionist.