A serial fraudster who impersonated a lawyer and pilot is now working for a criminal lawyer offering "pastoral care" to prisoners.

Brian Hunter - who has more than 180 convictions - is offering client support for Wellington lawyer Chris Tennet.

Tennet told the Weekend Herald he believed in giving people a second chance.

And he said Hunter's offending was several years ago.


"He doesn't give legal advice but offers client support particularly to those who are locked up. He has gone out of his way to arrange accommodation and offer community support for prisoners who have been locked up."

Hunter has amassed over 180 convictions, with sentences including six jail terms.

In February 2014 Hunter, 59, was convicted of obtaining by deception after impersonating a lawyer.

Earlier that year he was sentenced to 300 hours of community work, after he pleaded guilty to one charge of operating an aircraft without the required documentation.

He had previously appeared in court for offences under the Civil Aviation Act and the Crimes Act.

In November 1998, he was convicted for operating an aircraft without appropriate and current documents, fraudulently making documents, placing others in unnecessary danger and falsely representing himself as a pilot with an instructor's rating.

His lawyer at the time, Phillip Jensen, said his client had come from a poor background, was not a "mental" case but a complex character.

Hunter declined to comment when contacted by the Herald.

But in a statement, the Law Society said it was aware of Hunter's convictions.

Its national complaints manager, Markus Frey, said while the society regulated lawyers, it had no role in "vetting and or approving" non-lawyer employees of law firms.

"However, all lawyers are required to ensure their practice is operated in a manner that preserves the duties they owe to all of their clients, including to protect all confidential client information," Frey said.

"If the Law Society becomes aware of concerns that an employee of a law firm may not be of good character or otherwise be unsuited for employment by a lawyer it will refer that matter to a Standards Committee."

That committee had the power to investigate if concerns were raised.

"The lawyer will be asked to address any concerns as part of the investigation," Frey said.

"If a Standards Committee believes the employee has engaged in behaviour that would establish the person is not of good character or not suited to be employed in a law firm, which could include a criminal conviction, it may refer the case to the Disciplinary Tribunal."

High profile ex-inmate Arthur Taylor said he was surprised to hear of Hunter's arrangement with Tennet.

Tennet had represented Taylor in the past but they fell out, with Taylor saying the issue surrounded the lawyer asking Hunter to provide support to his clients in prison.

Taylor said he would be concerned if Hunter had access to confidential information and client files which are "highly sensitive".

Tennet wouldn't be drawn into whether Hunter had access to his client's files and computer, but confirmed Hunter wasn't being paid by him for the work he was doing and definitely didn't give any legal advice.

He refuted Taylor's claims saying the long-time ex-prisoner was a "self-promoter and a hypocrite".

"What's that got to do with him?," he said.

"It's a matter I have addressed with the Law Society, Any suggestion Brian is doing anything wrong is bulls*** . All I can say is clients like Brian by and large. "