Our Team

Pukekohe Law Specialists

James Gavin Donovan


In matters of law, there is no substitute for experience. He was admitted to practice in 1962. James has been successfully representing clients in the wider Howick area for decades.

He is a specialist in conveyancing, commercial and trust matters, and family and property law. As a barrister, his experience and skills place you in assured hands regarding criminal proceedings.

James can also provide sage guidance on mortgages, investment, and taxation and has developed a rich history in dealing with wills and estates and elder law and retirement issues.

James’ wealth of experience means he can quickly define the most effective path to resolution, saving you time and expense and providing peace of mind.

Ross Sly

Senior Associate

With over 20 years' experience, I offer advice and expertise on a broad range of legal matters including property purchase and sales, business purchase and sales, leasing, general commercial advice, contracts, wills and trusts.

I pride myself on being highly pragmatic, flexible and efficient in my approach. I care deeply and enjoy helping my clients navigate important life and/or business decisions. I’m valued for my ‘straightup’, honest approach and ability to explain the fine-print in easy-to-understand terms. I’m a hands-on lawyer and can support you across all aspects of a job.

I pride myself on being highly available to my clients so do not hesitate to call my mobile, email or message me at any time. I appreciate that it is often at the weekend or in the evenings that you most need access to advice. Making time for my clients during weekends is not a problem.

I work with a network of other experienced professionals including other specialist lawyers, accountants, mortgage brokers, real estate agents and surveyors. Where I am unable to assist you directly, I am confident that those within my professional network will be able to look after you.

Outside of the office I enjoy the gym, football and anything related to the sea.

Michelle Donovan

Senior Associate

Michelle was admitted to practice in 1999. Before joining the firm, Michelle worked for many years in the Privacy Commissioner’s office as the Legal Officer for two consecutive Commissioners and for nearly ten years as an independent reviewer of ACC decisions.

She brings this highly specialised knowledge and expertise to all general civil litigation cases. Building on James’ existing expertise in family and property law, Michelle also deals with family law and relationship property matters, including the drafting and certification of living together and separation agreements - as well as litigating for clients in this area.

Michelle notes that: “Identifying the most practical and cost-effective solution for a client is the key to providing them with the best legal service."

Hasika Ben

Senior Registered Legal Executive

Hasika is a Senior Registered Legal Executive who joined Blackhawk Law in 2020. She came with many years of experience and graduated with her Legal Executive Diploma in 2017.

She enjoys working in residential property conveyancing, subdivisions, Wills, Trusts, Powers of Attorney, and Sale and Purchase of business.

She is friendly and approachable and endeavours to ensure that the process is as smooth as possible and that all parties are kept well informed at all times.

Outside of work, Hasika enjoys spending time with her family and friends.

Sonya Stoppard

Practice Manager

For the past 14 years, my husband and I have run a successful roofing company, with my role being responsible for all of the financials of our business. When my husband was head-hunted for an exciting new position – we closed our business doors in February 2022.

I joined Blackhawk Law in April 2022 as the Practice Manager. I am enjoying the challenge that my new role is giving me.

When not at work, I spend time with family and friends, hiking, fishing, at the gym, gardening, and travelling, and I am always planning the next adventure.

Danielle Jensen

Receptionist and Legal Assistant

I joined the team at Blackhawk Law in June 2022 after training as a Legal Assistant. I have extensive experience with assisting in executing a variation of Conveyancing transactions, mortgage variations, Wills, and Enduring Power of Attorneys.

Having prior experience as a successful retail manager, I understand the value of excellent client service and experiences, which translates into my role within the firm.

I enjoy assisting our highly experienced legal team with providing the high level of service we have established. I wish to further myself within the company and the legal profession.