LLM, LLB (Hons), BA, GDipBusStud (Dispute Resolution)
Sonja is the principal of Cooper Legal. Starting her career as a family lawyer and a Youth Advocate (a lawyer working with young offenders), Sonja has undertaken a wide range of litigation work, including employment law, medico-legal work, privacy law, accident compensation work and general civil litigation. Sonja has appeared in all levels of the Courts, including the Supreme Court.
Sonja and her team are part of a small group of lawyers who act for those who have suffered abuse in care (including State care), and are developing the law in historic abuse claims. Sonja has a strong focus on human rights issues, access to justice and the resolution of disputes. In that context, Sonja was a District Inspector of Mental Health for nine years. Sonja was also a member of the New Zealand Youth Justice Committee for some years, as well as local Law Society Committees.
Amanda has been working as a lawyer for 13 years. She began her legal career as a graduate with Cooper Legal before working in an insurance and commercial litigation team and as an in-house employment lawyer. Amanda rejoined Cooper Legal in August 2014.
Amanda works on historic abuse claims against the Ministry of Social Development, the Ministry of Education and various Churches, as well as entities contracted by the government to care for children. Amanda can advise on privacy issues and has a growing practice in the area of prisoner rights, seeking compensation for breaches of the rights of prisoners or people detained by the Police. In addition, Amanda can assist with discrimination claims and employment issues. Amanda has a volunteer role with the youth organisation InsideOut.
LLB, BA (International Relations and Political Science)
Toni graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with a LLB and BA in International Relations and Political Science. She started out at Cooper Legal in August 2015, as a law clerk. Since being admitted to the bar in December 2015, Toni has continued at the firm as a solicitor.
Toni has volunteered at the Wellington Workers’ Rights Service as an Employment Advocate. She has co-lead a training session at Community Law about historic abuse claims.
Toni works on the residential special school, Health Camp school, psychiatric hospital and Department of Social Welfare historic abuse claims. She is a Legal Aid Lead Provider for civil historic abuse claims.
In her spare time, Toni enjoys being with friends and family, going for long walks, reading and travelling.
LLB, BA (Political Science and Development Studies)
Maia graduated from Victoria University in 2019 with an LLB and a BA in Political Science and Development Studies. Maia worked for one year in early assistance dispute resolution at FSCL, before beginning as a Law Clerk at Cooper Legal in December 2019. In April 2020 Maia was admitted to the bar, and joined the firm as a solicitor.
Before studying Law, Maia spent several years abroad, including one-year volunteering at Aramitan Community Centre, in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
When not at work, Maia enjoys surfing, swimming, and any activity that involves being by the sea.
Grace graduated from the University of Canterbury in 2019 with an LLB. She moved to Wellington at the beginning of 2020 and spent some time working in immigration and refugee law, before beginning as a Solicitor at Cooper Legal in September 2020. Grace was admitted to the bar in July 2020.
Grace volunteers for Community Law as a refugee advocate, and is the Coordinator for the Public Legal Education project with Human Rights Pulse. The project aims to make human rights issues engaging and accessible for high school students. She is also involved with UN Youth.
In her spare time, Grace enjoys brunching with friends, the gym, yoga, and any activity that involves staying active.
LLB, BA (Communication Studies)
Rebecca graduated from Otago University in 2018, before spending some time travelling overseas. Rebecca has worked for one year at the New Zealand Law Society as a legal assistant, before interning at Community Law and then Beachside Legal while she studied her professionals. She continues to volunteer at Community Law on the tenancy sessions.
Rebecca was admitted to the bar in September 2020 and joined the firm as a solicitor.
Personal Assistant to Sonja Cooper
Summer graduated from Victoria University in February 2020 with an MPPE (Masters of Philosophy, Politics and Economics) and a BA in Political Science and History in 2019.
Summer interned at the National Council of Women of New Zealand during her Masters and began working at the Ministry of Health in early 2020 before joining Cooper Legal in September.
In her spare time, Summer enjoys reading, travelling and hiking, and spending time with friends and family.