Our Team - Shanahans Law
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Our Team

Trusted Advice Since 1956

Meet the team. Friendly, professional and confidential.

Mary Anne Shanahan


Mary Anne Shanahan obtained her LLB from the University of Auckland in 1980, following this with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in 1989 and a Diploma of Business (Finance) in 1995. She has been admitted to the High Court of Australia and to the Supreme Court of Victoria in Australia. Mary Anne joined Shanahan & Co as a staff solicitor in 1981 and went into partnership with her father, Mick Shanahan, in 1988. After Mick died in 2004, Mary Anne continued the family practice under the name Shanahans. In 2013, Frances Edmonds joined as co-director of the firm now known as Shanahans Law Limited. Mary Anne is involved in a number of charities. In addition, she is a council member of the Auckland District Law Society Incorporated, a board member of Odyssey House, a member of Baradene Properties Board, and is a former member of the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Mary Anne is a mother of two and is a keen skier and walker. Mary Anne maintains a general practice specialising in conveyancing, trusts, wills, estates, matrimonial property, and some general family law. Her work hours are flexible and she is available by email.

Frances Edmonds


Originally from Wellington, Frances Edmonds obtained her BA and LLB at Victoria University in 1999. She joined Shanahans in 2005 after gaining experience in large Auckland and London firms. Frances became a co-director, with Mary Anne Shanahan, of Shanahans Law Limited in 2013. Frances advises on residential and commercial property transactions and assists with estate planning. She has a special interest in residential building contracts and enjoys advising both builders, developers, and owners on new-builds. Frances has a keen attitude towards the law, always keeping up-to-date with legislative and precedent developments and changes. To accompany this, her efficient and understanding approach to client circumstances, friendly disposition, and diligent negotiation skills, have assisted in the steady growth of her loyal client base. With advances in technology, Frances hopes to carry the firm into the future, regularly reviewing office processes to ensure clients are kept up-to-date with their transactions. Outside the office, Frances and her husband, who is in the NZDF, support each other in their careers and the raising of their two young children, while maintaining an active social life with their many friends and family spread over New Zealand.

Marnie Blank

Marnie Blank

Senior Associate

Marnie joined Shanahans in October 2019 having gained experience in several law firms in Auckland which has given her a broad background in property, commercial and family law. Marnie obtained her LLB in 2005 and a Diploma in Management in 1997, both from Auckland University. Marnie has a general practice and advises in residential and commercial property transactions, trust and asset planning, relationship property, estates and wills. Marnie has a pragmatic approach to law coupled with strong communication skills. She enjoys getting to know and understand her client’s needs. Outside of work she enjoys keeping fit and maintaining a healthy social network of friends and family.

Wendy Anderson

Registered Legal Executive

Wendy Anderson qualified as a Legal Executive in 1992 and has been with Shanahans since 1996. We proudly celebrated her 20th anniversary with us in 2016. Wendy is a Fellow of the New Zealand Institute of Legal Executives. This is the highest level of membership of the Institute and enables her to take statutory declarations. Wendy specialises in all aspects of residential conveyancing including sales, purchases, refinancing, and associated transactions. In addition, she assists first home buyers with Homestart loans and the withdrawal of KiwiSaver funds. Having a helpful, practical, and supportive disposition, Wendy provides significant help to clients during what can be a stressful exercise of buying and/or selling a home. Wendy is also the Office Manager and oversees the running of the office. This includes providing information on the services offered by Shanahans Law. Wendy also provides quotes (where fixed quotes can be given), as well as other help either directly or via another member of the firm. Outside the office, Wendy has a very busy family life which includes a variety of activities and travel.

Joy Tichborne

Registered Legal Executive

Joy was originally from the Waikato but is now a true “Westie”, calling West Auckland her home for the past 46 years. She joined Shanahan & Co in 1983 to work for Mick Shanahan, the founding partner of the firm, as his secretary. Joy became a Registered Legal Executive in 1996 so is now responsible for her own clients. Joy’s sound knowledge of the West Auckland area in addition to her interest in home renovation gives her a good understanding of client situations and needs. Joy handles all aspects of conveyancing work including sales, purchases, and refinances. She is incredibly thorough and has an excellent eye for detail and, as such, her particular areas of expertise are subdivisions, building contracts, and commercial transactions, including the sale and purchase of businesses. Joy also assists clients with family trusts and the preparation of wills. Being an active person, Joy enjoys gardening and landscaping as well as sports (mainly from the couch!) and cooking for friends and family – and we don’t complain when we get the leftovers!

Sheryl Backhouse-Smith

Registered Legal Executive (Estates)

Sheryl Backhouse-Smith is one of our Estate Legal Executives. She is a point of contact for estate administration, having knowledge and experience in estate work and understanding the diversity in family circumstances and cultures. Sheryl assists families at a pace they are comfortable with, answering the difficult questions when a loved one has passed away and guiding the family through the process of administering an estate. Sheryl qualified as a Legal Executive in 2007 and enjoys working in the area of wills, estates and enduring powers of attorney. She is a mother of three adult children and has spent many years associated with Surf Life-Saving at Bethells Beach. She enjoysreading and relaxing at the beach with friends and extended family.

Deidre Towers

Registered Legal Executive (Estates)

Deidre Towers qualified as a Legal Executive in 1994 and joined Shanahans in February 2019. Deidre’s main focus is estate administration which involves assisting families after the death of a loved one. She will work at a pace that clients are comfortable with, taking time to go step-by-step, at what can be a stressful time for families. Deidre has acquired a wide range of experience over the years including conveyancing, company and trust administration. Outside the office Deidre enjoys cycling, motorcycling, musical theatre, travel, relaxing at the piano and enjoying quality time with friends over good food and wine.

Heather Billington

Personal Assistant to Frances Edmonds

Heather Billington has been with Shanahans as Frances Edmonds’ Personal Assistant since 2008. Heather has worked in law for over 40 years, with over half that time spent in New Lynn. She came to Shanahans Law from the practice of Peter Hoskin whose business we acquired on his retirement. Working for a sole practitioner with very few staff, Heather gained skills and expertise in all aspects of the administration of a suburban practice law firm. We have benefited from these skills and experience. As well as assisting Frances, Heather can also help locate files if you were formerly a client of Peter Hoskin.

Emma Lettice

Personal Asssistant to Mary Anne Shanahan

Emma Lettice has been with Shanahans since 2014 and is Mary Shanahan’s personal assistant. Emma also assists with some of our major subdivision work. Being a much treasured and highly competent member of staff, Emma began with us as our receptionist and quickly proceeded to become a secretary. She is currently training to be a legal executive.

Get the right advice from an experienced friendly team.