Steve Winter


Steve has been a lawyer for just over 25 years. He studied law at Otago while working as a Probation Officer. He started out as a lawyer in Feilding until becoming one of the founding Partners of WinterWoods. Steve is experienced in a wide range of general legal work with his specialist field being criminal defence work. He has appeared for clients at almost all levels of the New Zealand criminal jurisdiction, including the Court of Appeal. He has been involved in a number of high profile criminal trials in the High Court, and applies his experience and skills to all levels of criminal advocacy.

Michelle Woods


Michelle first started practice in Palmerston North in 1996 and is the other founding partner of Winter Woods Lawyers. Michelle specialises in family law and youth advocacy.  She is regularly appointed as counsel for children and young persons in the Family and Youth Courts.  Michelle currently serves as a District Inspector for Mental Health Services in the Manawatu region.  

Michelle has a particular interest in promoting the efficient resolution of disputes, particularly in relation to children with the use of alternative dispute resolution processes where possible.  She is well regarded by legal, family and youth services in the area and is known for her fair and pragmatic approach in promoting the interests of vulnerable members of our community.


Carly Linton


Carly graduated from Otago University with a Bachelor of Laws in 2004 and was admitted to the bar the same year. She began practicing in Christchurch where she worked both in the Family and Criminal Courts. After traveling, she settled back in Palmerston North in 2007 and has been with WinterWoods ever since. She has over 15 years’ experience in litigation both in the District Court and High Court jurisdictions. Carly is an approved provider for Legal Aid and is also recognised as a Lawyer for Child and Counsel to Assist. Born and raised in the Rangitikei, she is committed to providing down to earth advice and support for her clients.

Gareth Stone


Gareth graduated from the University of Otago in 2016 with a Bachelor of Laws. He moved to Palmerston North specifically to join our growing litigation team. He has a passion for criminal law and advocacy. He is an approved legal aid provider in the criminal jurisdiction and has experience through the District and High Court making him a huge asset to our firm and to his clients.


Nicole Kelly


Nicole graduated from the University of Canterbury in 2010 with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts. Originally from Northland, Nicole chose to relocate to the Manawatu where she practiced as an in-house counsel for the Ministry of Social Development for over 6 years. With this experience, she joined our growing Family law team in 2017.
Nicole is focussed on ensuring her clients have quality committed representation.

Davida Iosefa


Holding a double degree in Law and Commerce (majoring in Commercial Law and Management) from the University of Auckland, Davida was admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court in 2020.


Davida has recently moved to Palmerston North from South Auckland. Since joining the firm, Davida has worked closely with support networks such as Women’s Refuge and Te Roopu Whakaruruhau o Nga Wahine. She is an approachable person who is willing to provide practical and quality advice.


Wendy Browne

Support Director

Criminal Team Assistant 

Wendy has been working as a Legal Secretary/Personal Assistant for 24 years in the legal industry primarily in Family Law.  More recently she became Practice Manager at WinterWoods Lawyers to cover maternity leave.  She is PA to Steve and undertakes the Conveyancing for the firm.  She has enjoyed learning new skills and working with the Criminal Team.  Wendy has two sons who keep her busy and active.  She manages to juggle a good work/life balance.

Niki Ellingham

PA- Nicole Kelly
Support Coordinator

Niki has been working in the legal industry for 13 years, dealing mainly with family law, and has experience in criminal and conveyancing. She enjoys travel having spent two years in London working for one of the key health regularity law firms.


Lauren Emirali

Legal Secretary

Originally from the Kapiti Coast, Lauren relocated to the Manawatu and has worked with WinterWoods for nearly 4 years. She has significant experience in administrative roles and now focuses on legal support work for Family, Mental Health, and Criminal Law.

Aries Pearson

Legal Secretary

Aries has also recently joined our expanding firm. She has a number of years of experience, offers exceptional support, and is a valued member of the family litigation team


Brooklyn Davidson


The newest member of WinterWoods, Brooklyn has begun working with us to gain experience in all aspects provided within the legal support role.

Clare McGuinness-Goodwin

Trust Account Administrator

Clare has been working in legal firms since the 80s; from junior to Legal Executive and then Managing several different firms in Auckland. She has just recently moved to Palmerston North with her husband and three bichons, not forgetting the cat. She loves working with numbers. In her spare time she enjoys gardening, reading and riding her e-bike.