There were legal practitioners in Waipawa before Hastings was founded. McKay Mackie are able to trace their origins to G.E. Lee and E.H. Lee, the former being one of the first two or three practitioners in the Province of Hawke's Bay. G.E. Lee practised in Napier and visited Waipawa until establishing the firm in Waipawa in 1886 and when his son, E.H. Lee qualified he took up permanent residence in Waipawa and conducted the firm's business there until he retired in the early 1920's. The firm has documents dating back to the 1860's.
By 1912 E.H. Lee had joined partnership with R.H. Wedde who had been practising on his own account in Waipawa. This partnership was dissolved in 1919.
Before E.H. Lee retired, I.W.N. Mackie, who was practicing in Waipukurau, joined with C.G.E. Harker to buy out E.H. Lee at the end of 1919, thus forming the firm of Lee, Mackie & Harker and commenced practice in January 1920. Mackie conducting the practice in Waipukurau and Harker in Waipawa.
In 1922 N.J. McKay joined the partnership which then became Lee, Mackie, Harker & McKay carrying on practice in both Waipawa and Waipukurau.
N.J. McKay died in 1945 after which his son K.U. McKay, who had been employed by the firm from 1937 - 1940 before leaving for overseas to serve with the Navy, returned to New Zealand after he had been called to the Bar by Gray's Inn in 1945, and became a partner in 1947.
R.I Johnstone was admitted to the partnership in 1949, he and K.U. McKay carrying on the practice, as Harker had been elected to Parliament in 1940 and was away from the practice most of the time.
L.W. Stubbs joined the firm in 1964 and became a partner in 1966 but died in 1974. After Stubbs's death and the retirement of Johnstone in 1975, K.U. McKay bought their interests and practiced alone, but still under the name of Lee, Mackie, Harker & McKay. By this stage the Waipawa and Waipukurau firms were separate entities. P.J. Roebuck and M.V. Rockel became staff solicitors in 1974 and 1975 respectively. They joined K.U. McKay in the partnership of K.U. McKay & Company in 1978. M.J. Waite joined in 1980 and the firms name was changed to McKay, Roebuck, Rockel & Waite.
P.J. Roebuck retired from the partnership but remains a consultant. It was after P.J. Roebuck retired that the firms name was changed to McKay Mackie Lawyers.
K.U. McKay died in 2005
A.M. Gallie joined the partnership in 2004.