Breadcrumbs

Undergraduate Student Profiles

Rochelle Monk LLB

Jaimee Paenga BMS/LLB

Aperahama Hurihanganui BA/LLB (Hons)

Courtney Deed BSocSc/LLB

Lucy Greenfell BCS/LLB (Hons)


Jimmy Dawson   BA/LLB 

Jimmy Dawson

Current Position

Studying Master of Laws at Columbia University -

Background

“My mother’s Japanese and my Dad’s a Kiwi and I’ve grown up in both cultures. I moved from Tokyo to Taupo when I was ten, which was a huge culture shock, but I think my two cultures help me to see things clearly and outside the box. I first enrolled in a BA majoring in Japanese, but I was already fluent in Japanese and decided to challenge myself more and do a law degree as well." He graduated with a BA/LLB with first class honours and worked as a law clerk and then solicitor in Taupo before taking up his postgraduate study.

Experience as a Waikato Student

"I really enjoyed studying at Waikato because everyone helps each other, both in and out of class and I really believe this enabled me to get good grades - which I’m sure helped to win a place at Columbia. I think studying law made me a more goal-oriented individual. I was determined to get good marks. Like many students I went through some tough times during my law studies, but the lecturers were always helpful and my friends were always there to back me up."

Currently

Interested in international law, he’s enrolled in a Master of Laws at Columbia University in downtown Manhattan, which will take 10 months of intensive study to complete. It’s his family in Japan that’s helping him financially to study overseas. He was accepted for New York University as well as Columbia and chose Columbia because it’s one of the top four law schools in the US, alongside Yale, Stanford and Harvard. “I also liked Columbia’s extensive range of papers.”

Future Plans

After his Masters he plans to sit his New York bar exams and work for an international firm. "I’d like to use my bilingual skills. I’m thinking about applying to the United Nations for a clerkship - to learn more about the complex issues around international law. I want to create a better world, be part of a bigger picture in the service of humanity."

Top

Rebecca Catley   BCS/LLB 

Rebecca Catley

Current Position

Law Clerk - Sharp Tudhope Lawyers in Tauranga

Secondary School

Otumoetai College

Background

I grew up in sunny Tauranga and went to Otumoetai College between 2003-2007. I made the move to Hamilton to study at the University of Waikato in 2008 where I enrolled in a Bachelor of Communication Studies. I decided part way through the year that I would like to study law. In the summer of 2008- 2009 I was fortunate enough to gain employment as a Law Clerk at Sharp Tudhope Lawyers in Tauranga. This work experience gave me an insight to what it would be like as a lawyer, and served as an advantage when studying. Sharo Tudhope continued to give me work experience over my time at university, and gave me a graduate role while I was finishing my honours papers and completing my professionals course.

Experience as a Waikato Student

Completing my studies was one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of my life so far. I recieved several prizes and awards during my time studying, including top student in Constitutional Law, Crimes and Dispute Resolution. I was fortunate enough to compete in the Bell Gully Mooting Competition, and came third, which won me a spot to compete in Australia with the team in 2012. I was also a finalist in the Minter Elison Rudd Watts Witness Examination competition. I look back on my time as a student and am so glad to have had the opportunity to meet and learn from so many great people.

Currently

I am a Law Clerk in the Litigation Team at Sharp Tudhope and am awaiting admission mid-June 2013. I love my job and the varied nature of the work I do. I have great mentors here to guide me.

Future Plans

To improve my legal knowledge and advocacy skills in litigation, while maintaining a balanced lifestyle of fun and leisure.

Top

Amanda Bedford   LLB (Hons) 

Amanda Bedford

Current Position

Law Clerk - McCaw Lewis Chapman

Secondary School

Fraser High School, Hamilton

Experience as a Waikato Student

I thoroughly enjoyed studying at Waikato. I believe it offers very practical tools that assist greatly for both the professionals courses and the workforce. Waikato has a very friendly and co-operative atmosphere with great support which makes it possible to excel. Waikato offers much more than a degree and provides flexibility for you to study and achieve your other goals while at University (including travel and study – Waikato offers a fantastic exchange programme!)

Currently

I am currently working at McCaw Lewis Chapman and am lucky enough to be learning from those at the top of their field. I aspire to learn and develop my career under the guidance of my team members and to become an expert in my chosen area.

Top

Isabel Blake   LLB (Hons) 

Isabel Blake

Current Position

Lawyer - Webb Ross Layers, Whangarei

Secondary School

Dargaville High School (1998-2000) and Whangarei Girls' High School (2001)

Experience as a Waikato Student

At Waikato University you can really be yourself, you can let the geek inside have a chance to shine.

Challenge

The challenge I faced was making the decision to leave my career as a legal secretary with a very promising career ahead of me – and taking on the risk that I may not succeed at university. As it turns out taking that risk was the best decision I have ever made. I had my "master plan" worked out well in advance so I only had to be away from work and my home for three years. Being at university brought with it more challenges. I intentionally challenged myself by aspiring to get first class honours. I also took papers that I was initially scared of because of their reputation as being notoriously difficult. There are so many challenges in life. It may sound cliché but challenging yourself and taking risks is how you learn and grow as an individual. If something is a challenge then it is worthwhile doing. If it was easy, everyone would do it and having done it would not make you stand out. The future will hold many challenges for me as I continue to apply the motto of my primary school - "Aim High".

Future Plans

My goals for the future include being a partner of a law firm and being the top specialist in tax, corporate securities and competition law in Northland.

Top

Seung Youn   LLB, BSocSci (Pol. Science major) 

Seung Youn

Current Position

Staff Solicitor (Litigation team) - Preston Russell Law

Secondary School

Burnside high, Christchurch; Senior College, Auckland

Experience as a Waikato Student

While at Waikato I served as President of the Waikato Law Students' Association (WULSA) in 2007, and Secretary of the New Zealand Law Students' Association (NZLSA) in 2008.

Currently

I am working as a criminal defence lawyer Public Defence Service in Auckland. I took up the position in January 2010 after a two year period of working as a staff solicitor in the litigation team for Southland’s Crown Solicitor, based in Invercargill.

Top

Richard Annandale   BA / LLB (Hons) 

Richard Annandale

Current Position

Solicitor - Norris Ward McKinnon Lawyers

Secondary School

Morrinsville College, Waikato

Background

I had always been interested in law while I was at school but it was not until I was at University that I realized that I wanted to study and practice law. I had been heavily involved with theatre whilst I was at school and had applied to a New Zealand drama school to study performing arts. I was accepted into drama school for 2004, so I came to Waikato University to start studying a Bachelor of Arts in 2003. During this first year I ended up sitting through a few law classes, and really enjoyed the concepts that were being discussed. So after giving it some thought, I decided to start my law degree in 2004 conjoint with a Bachelor of Arts. Perhaps a factor that influenced me to choose law over performing arts school was that I could perhaps still use my performing skills in the Court room! I have definitely never looked back and regretted the decision that I made! I am currently working at Norris Ward McKinnon in Hamilton - I started as a Summer Clerk and am currently a graduate lawyer.

Experience as a Waikato Student

My time at Waikato University Law School provided me with the necessary skills to 'hit the ground running' when I began working in private practice. The Waikato degree is unique in that in provided me with both a theoretical and practical understanding of the law, through mooting, client interviewing and negotiation assessments. Many employers throughout the legal profession recognize the uniqueness of the Waikato degree. Another factor is the people. From day one the lecturers are eager to engage in discussion with students, and this stands you in good stead when you enter the workforce with senior practitioners. If I had my time again, I would without a doubt choose Waikato!

Challenge

The biggest challenge that I will continue to face is the study and practice of law itself! As law is constantly evolving with new laws being passed by Parliament and interpretations being declared by the Court, it is important to stay up with the play! This is what makes law exciting and ensures that no two days at work will ever be the same!

Future Plans

I aspire to work as a Barrister Sole specialising in Commercial Litigation. I am focused on gaining the necessary skill-set so that I can both competently and effectively advocate my client's interests in and out of Court to the best of my ability.

Top

Rebecca Goldsmith   BA / LLB 

Rebecca Goldsmith Franklin Law, Pukekohe

Background

I began working in a law office as a junior property secretary when I was seventeen and it wasn’t until one of the partners took me aside and suggested I go to law school that I really thought about the possibility of practicing as a lawyer.

Experience as a Waikato Student

My time at law school has been sensational. I have been given so many opportunities here. In 2009 I became a student ambassador for the law school and worked at the Hamilton community law clinic. I loved my time doing both and continued to be an ambassador up until 2011. In 2010 I was elected onto WULSA (Waikato University Law Students Association) as the competitions officer and represented the law school at the Adelaide Australian Law Students Conference and the Dunedin New Zealand Law Students Conference. This opportunity made me realise that I had a passion for Law Students Education and I also for student politics.

Returning for my final year in 2011 at Waikato I was appointed onto the New Zealand Law Students’ Association (NZLSA) as the annual conference convenor. Waikato Law School was the host in 2011 and it was a fantastic week of showcasing the talent that the Faculty of Law had to offer. Finally at the end of that week I ran for the 2012 President term and was successful in that endeavour. I now promote all law students best interests throughout the country, however I do still have a soft spot for Waikato!

For the second half of 2011 I went on the law exchange to the University of Ottawa and had the most amazing time. This university has given me so much and I hope to stay on as alumni of the Faculty of Law and keep in contact with staff and students.

Currently

I am now a law graduate at Franklin Law in Pukekohe and have been working there since the beginning of 2012.

Future Plans

I intend on being involved with the Auckland Women’s Lawyers Association, the Recently Admitted Members group (RAMs) and the Auckland Young Lawyers Group. I am working in the commercial team at Franklin Law but also am beginning to specialise in social media law which is a new and exciting area of law that is gaining recognition

Top

Richard Bracefield   LLB(Hons) / BMS(Hons) maj. Accounting 

Richard Bracefield

Secondary School

St Paul's Collegiate

Background

In 2002 I began attended boarding school in Hamilton at St Paul’s Collegiate and completed my secondary schooling in 2005. In my final year of school I assumed the positions of Deputy Head of School and Deputy Head of Sargood Boarding House.

Experience as a Waikato Student

I came to Waikato University totally unsure as to what I wanted to pursue as a career. However, my school results showed I had an aptitude for Accounting and was also far better at English and Classics than Sciences or Maths so I was initially lured to the strong business school at Waikato University.

I have also always found that challenges bring out the best in a person. I therefore enrolled in a conjoint degree mixing accounting with law, initially seeing law as a backup career option. However, by the end of my first year of study it became clear to me that law was both the more challenging and more fascinating of the two.

After my third year in 2008, I was invited into the Law Honours programme .Taking International Environmental Law under Professor Al Gillespie and later Energy & Resource Management Law under Professor Barry Barton helped me come to the decision that law was the path I wished to pursue.

In 2008, I successfully ran for Presidency of the Waikato University Law Students Association (WULSA) which brought about a raft of new responsibilities and roles for me within the Faculty of Law and this position led to some of the biggest highlights in my time at University. I represented Waikato law students in numerous national NZLSA conferences across New Zealand and was even sent to Brisbane as a New Zealand delegate at the Australian Law Students Association (ALSA) conference. In 2010, I successfully applied for the Simpson Grierson Scholarship and was offered a position as a Summer Clerk in Simpson Grierson’s Auckland office which then led to a full time graduate position beginning in 2012.

After 6 years of studying at Waikato University, I finally graduated in 2012, somewhat miraculously attaining First Class Honours in both my LLB and my BMS. This was, and will continue to be, one of the proudest achievements of my life.

Currently

Today I am working full time for Simpson Grierson as a Law Graduate in their Banking and Finance Litigation team. Being a part of this team, I am regularly exposed to numerous areas of law including insolvency, property, equity, securities and finance law, contract and tort.

Future Plans

Looking ahead, who knows! The opportunities are endless – practicing in New Zealand, overseas, or perhaps even aiming for a spot on the bench someday.

Top

Ben Gilbert   BSOCS/LLB (Hons) 

Ben Gilbert

Secondary School

St Paul's Collegiate

Background

I am a Hamilton lad through and through. I finished High School at St Paul’s Collegiate in Hamilton, and then headed off on a GAP year to the UK. After a (brilliant) year off I reluctantly had to get back to the real world and consider my future. I headed back to take up a BSOCS/LLB conjoint degree at Waikato University. My motivation to pursue law primarily stemmed from an enjoyment of English at high school and (I’m not afraid to admit it) the promise of a healthy pay-check once I had finished my studies!

Experience as a Waikato Student

In 2010 I was elected as President of the Waikato University Law Student Association and I was actively involved in representing students as both the Social Officer and President. This proved to be a busy and challenging role as I balanced my responsibilities in this role with the heavy work load of my Law and Bsocs papers.

I also became actively involved in the many competitions that were offered through the Faculty of Law, and was lucky enough to represent Waikato (and Buddle Findlay) in Adelaide at the Australasian competitions and also in Dunedin for the Nationals. I was even more fortunate to fly my colours for Waikato (and New Zealand) at the World Negotiation Championships in Copenhagen! I applied to all the large Auckland law firms, and one or two firms in Hamilton for summer internships at the end of both my third and fourth years I was unsuccessful first time round, but got a number of offers in fourth year and accepted at Chapman Tripp. The clerkship was an awesome experience, and I was exposed to both the social and the professional aspects of the commercial law firm (not so far from Boston Legal as you might think).

I graduated at the end of 2011 (after 5 fantastic years) with first class honours. I acknowledge and give to credit Te Piringa as being instrumental in fostering my passion for the law and they must take most of the credit for many of my experiences and successes despite all of the extra-curricular (and social) things I was committed to.

The best thing about studying law at Waikato is the collegial atmosphere – there is no minimum requirement (other than a pass) for students moving from year one to year two so students are happy to support one another instead of doing everything they can to beat the person studying beside them. It’s also difficult to find a cheaper place to flat, and one that is so close to beaches and mountains, than Hamilton.

Currently

I am now employed at Chapman Tripp in Auckland, in the Corporate/Commercial team advising on competition law, intellectual property and mergers/acquisitions.

Future Plans

I look forward to developing my career here and then trying my luck at an international firm in either Australia or Europe (with an eye to settling back in NZ of course).

Top

Cynthia Hamel   Diploma in Law, LLB (Hons) 

Cynthia Hamel

Background

I was born and raised in Tokoroa. At the time of finishing school, I did not think that a university degree was for me. I spent many years working in the service industry and doing office work. After a number of years overseas, I returned to New Zealand in 2012, determined to go back to the classroom.

Experience as a Waikato Student

There is no doubt in my mind that Diploma in Law was the right choice for me. As a single parent of two children, it was vital to the success of my first two years to complete the diploma on my doorstep. The programme provided me enough flexibility so that I was able to complete all my elective papers in my first year and focus on the core subjects in my second year. That, ultimately, allowed me to earn entry into the degree honours programme.

I chose to study law at Te Piringa – Faculty of Law because of the Faculty’s focus on Māori and indigenous issues. In two years, I learnt more about my peoples’ history, struggles and tenacity than I ever knew previously. This inspired me to get involved in Māori issues.

What has been hugely important for me was to develop rapport with other students and to have regular study group sessions. There were a few of us – law students – travelling to Hamilton from Tauranga. These mobile study sessions have been invaluable for me in building relationships and learning from each other.

Future Plans

I am looking forward to completing my law degree in 2016. In my professional path I would like to be involved in post Treaty settlements and land retention as well as in criminal or restorative justice to aid in reducing overrepresentation of Māori in prisons.

I believe a law degree offers me many career options and I am excited about my future whether I choose to practice in a legal firm, the courtroom or another organization. I know my degree will have set me on a path like no other.

Achievements

Cynthia received an Ngāpuhi scholarship from her iwi in the first year of study. She was invited to do the honours programme in the second year. Now, in her third year, she was awarded the University of Waikato Māori Excellence Award as a high-achieving student.

Top

Rochelle Roiri   LLB (Hons) 

Rochelle Roiri

Current Position

Law Clerk - Russell McVeagh

Secondary School

Feilding High School

Background

I grew up on a farm in the rural area surrounding a small town called Feilding, where I attended Feilding High School.

Experience as a Waikato Student

Studying law at the University of Waikato was an amazing experience which equipped me with the skills necessary to enter the workforce as an employee at one of New Zealand's leading corporate firms. The structure of the degree itself is such that I graduated feeling confident that I would be competent in most areas of law. Having been working since the beginning of the year, I can definitely say that students who leave with a law degree from the University of Waikato will have set them self in good stead for whatever career path they intend to pursue.

Future Plans

In terms of my career, I would like to continue working at Russell McVeagh where I feel that my legal expertise will continue to grow.

Top

Jeremy Upson   LLB (Hons) 

Jeremy Upson

Secondary School

Pukekohe High School

Background

Since graduating with a degree in philosophy he has been working in the area of academic quality assurance at an Auckland tertiary institution. After enrolling in the LLB, he was accepted to the Honours programme at the end of last year.

Experience as a Waikato Student

I've always been interested in politics and New Zealand history, and studying law ties those and my previous study in philosophy together nicely. Of course it wasn't just that I'm interested in these things that led to me enrolling, it was also the career opportunities that law would give me. Even though I live in Auckland, I chose Waikato because of its focus on Treaty issues, and also for its reputation as having a more diverse student body. Although my main interest coming into the degree was in public law and in particular constitutional law, now that I'm here my mind is completely open to the other possibilities, including commercial and corporate law, whether it's litigation or transactional work. Whereas before I enrolled I thought papers like Contracts and Land Law would be a chore, I've really enjoyed both just as much as Public Law and Jurisprudence. The scholarship gives me a place on Simpson Grierson's Summer Clerk programme for the end of the 2008 academic year, which I'm thrilled about. I was really impressed with their approach during the interview and selection process. At the interview I was asked where I saw myself in 10 years time, and I hadn't really thought about an answer to that. I said that I could see myself pursuing an academic career, or doing policy work for the Government, but equally I was really keen to test myself in the corporate environment - and now I've got that chance. One thing I'm sure about is that there will be so many more potential career paths open to me than before I enrolled on the degree.

Top

Erin Burke   LLB (Hons) 

Erin Burke

Current Position

Director - Mediation Services New Zealand

Background

Erin moved back to New Zealand after 15 years overseas in early 2005. Two weeks later she started law school and completed her LLB with Honours at the end of 2007. During her time at Waikato University she was active in the law competitions, particularly negotiation, where she and her negotiation partner Kirsten Griffin won the Regional title in 2006 and 2007, the National title in 2006 and represented New Zealand internationally in Singapore in 2007, placing 5th overall. At the end of 2007 she joined the commercial team at one of Hamilton's top law firms, Tompkins Wake. She was admitted to the bar in October 2008.

Challenge

One of my favourite quotes is from the Roman Philosopher, Seneca who said:

Luck is where opportunity meets preparation.
Anyone can achieve their goals simply by identifying where you are, identifying where you want to be, and then identifying the steps required to get to where you want to be. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll get there!

Currently

Erin is the director of Mediation Services New Zealand Limited as well as a practising Barrister admitted in the High Court of New Zealand. She is a qualified and registered member of the LEADR panel of mediators. Prior to entering the field of mediation, Erin was a solicitor specialising in commercial and employment law. After experiencing first hand the escalation of disputes that could have been settled more quickly and inexpensively through mediation, she trained as a mediator and set up Mediation Services New Zealand. She continues to act as a Barrister but sees the Court process as a last resort only when all other approaches have failed.

Achievements

Erin won the Buddle Findlay Regional Negotiation Competition in 2006 and 2007, the National Negotiation Competition in 2006, was a semi-finalist in the Australasian Negotiation Competition (Melbourne) in 2006 and represented New Zealand in the World Negotiation Competition (Singapore) in 2007, placing 5th overall.

Top

Rebekah Webby   BMS (Hons) / LLB (Hons) 

Rebekah Webby

Secondary School

Tauranga Girls' College

Experience as a Waikato Student

Studying at Waikato Law School gives you the tools and practical ability to hit the ground running both with professional studies and in practice. You are well grounded and have a good grasp on practical application. Waikato Law School is a great place to study - it is social, lecturers are approachable and you learn about 'real world' tasks. Being from Tauranga, it was also really close to home - so mum could do my washing and ironing at weekends if I needed it to be done. Waikato also has some great social aspects - whether it be one of the Law School BBQs or the Law School ball, you had the opportunity to be involved and develop networking skills at the various occasions.

Challenge

The hardest thing at Law School for me was reading the cases - they seemed to go on for ever and never seemed all that relevant. In the real world though, the cases have a purpose and the one you want you can never find!

Future Plans

To become an effective litigator, and learn the art and magic of becoming a persuasive and effective advocate.

Top

Joshua Nyika   LLB 

Joshua Nyika

Secondary School

Hamilton Boys’ High School.

Background

I lived most of my life in Hamilton, except the three years that my family spent in England. I attended Hamilton Boys’ High School. I have two passions in life – law and boxing. Law interests me because it reflects the will of society (unlike the laws of physics, and biology). Law is designed by people to serve people. I also think a law degree is very versatile.

Experience as a Waikato Student

I graduated with my LLB in 2015 and I intend to do my professionals when I manage to find a gap in my boxing commitments. I greatly respect the subject of Law generally and loved the mind-broadening qualities of Constitutional Law and Jurisprudence. I enjoyed the practical assignments. We got to polish our skills during moot and negotiation competitions. I gained satisfaction with every little success I achieved along the way. I have also met many interesting people and made good friends.

Challenge

I think goal setting was important for me. This applied to both my studies and my boxing. I have set my goals, and have acknowledged that setbacks along the way are inevitable. I learnt to accept that I will feel plenty of discomfort along the way. That helped me to pull through all the tough times. This has been hugely instrumental in shaping who I am.

Balancing my boxing and studying commitments was another challenge. I train every day, so I tried to look at each one as rest from the other. Training was a release from having my head buried in law books, and my study was a release from the physical training at the gym. It wasn't always easy, but it worked out.

My advice to those starting their law studies? - Do some background reading and seek to understandas many legal terms as possible. You should expect to work hard, but if you have an interest in law, it will be well worth the effort.

Future Plans

My life aspirations lie both in the realm of sport and law. I plan build a solid platform of success from my efforts in amateur boxing; followed by a short professional boxing career. I will also be a practicing lawyer, specialising in issues relating to sports.

Achievements

I took up boxing at the age of 18 and had my first fight that year. Since then I have had 22 fights, and won my first Elite Open National title in 2014. This year has been successful too, as I had my first international fight at the Oceania tournament in Canberra and won it.

Top

Kevin Glover   LLB (Hons) 

Kevin Glover

Current Position

Barrister - Shortland Chambers, Auckland

Secondary School

Hillcrest High School, Hamilton

Background

Waikato Law School 1996-1999 Russell McVeagh, Auckland (2000-2002) Bell Gully, Auckland (2002-2003) LLM, University of Cambridge (2003-2004) Ashurst, London (2004-2005) Bell Gully, Auckland (2005-2009) Barrister, Shortland Chambers, Auckland (2009)

Challenge

Doing two legal history papers as part of my LLM at Cambridge without having much prior knowledge of English history, let alone English legal history.

Currently

I am currently adjusting to life as a barrister after working in large commercial law firms for nearly 10 years.

Future Plans

I plan to carry on practising as a barrister in intellectual property and general commercial litigation.

Top

Gemma Stewart   LLB(Hons) 

Gemma Stewart

Current Position

In-house legal counsel - Acciona Infrastructure

Secondary School

Hamilton Girls' High School

Experience as a Waikato Student

Jemma believes the skills that she learnt in her LLB(Hons) has been useful in a number of roles. She states “the analytical and research based skills have stood me in good stead throughout the different roles I’ve had, in three different legal markets. In Melbourne, I was able to apply for a practicing certificate using my New Zealand qualifications without having to complete any further study.” Her advice to future law students is “Try not to be too fixed to an idea of what a law degree will bring you. It’s OK to change your mind about your career and where you are going. I’m glad I started my career in private practice for the training, support and mentoring that I received but I have found my home in-house where I have a measurable impact on the growth and direction of Acciona.”

Currently

Jemma has worked in Hamilton, London and has now moved to Melbourne. She currently works as an in-house legal counsel for award-winning company, Acciona Infrastructure. As a construction lawyer, she works on tenders, operational matters and dispute resolution for Acciona’s roading, tunneling and rail projects in Australasia. Jemma enjoys the travel aspect of her job. She frequently travels interstate within Australia. She may also have the opportunity to spend time in Singapore and Indonesia due to the growth of the company.

Top

Semisi Pohiva   LLB / BSocSci, LLM 

Semisi Pohiva

Background

I graduated from University of Waikato with an LLB, BSocSc (Major: Psychology, supporting subject Pacific studies). I am of Tongan descent, born and bred in the heart of New Zealand – that is Waikato of course! There was really no reason for me to study elsewhere. After spending my high school years at Wesley College in Pukekohe (technically in the Waikato) I commenced studying towards a conjoint Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Social Sciences (majoring in psychology) at the University of Waikato. After completing my conjoint degree, I just couldn’t get away from the law school’s unique teaching style - emphasising professionalism, biculturalism and studying the law in context. So I immediately commenced study towards my LLM at Waikato. Waikato offers a modern approach that set you in good light to meet the challenges and future needs of the ever changing society out there!

Currently

I am developing strong interests in assisting Pacific Island people to establish themselves within New Zealand and understand NZ based legal systems and processes. I assist in a research project investigating migration issues for Pacific groups. My LLM research focuses on issues faced by Pacific people in various aspects of the law. Specifically, I look into the citizenship rights of overstayer children in New Zealand and the effect of the Citizenship Amendment Act 2005 on children born to overstayers. I also look into the difficulties faced by Pacific people in trying to legalise their cultural adoptions. I am currently researching Pacific people and domestic violence, focusing on the barriers faced by pacific victims of domestic violence when trying to gain protection. I am heavily involved in local community cultural and youth activities and currently works part-time as a law clerk at McCaw Lewis Chapman. The University of Waikato offers great flexibility and support allowing me to maintain an all-round balance in life while fully encouraging me to flourish in my legal thinking and research. "It's challenging, but yet rewarding... There’s no stopping me".

Top

Maree Brown   LLB / BSocSci, LLM 

Maree Brown

Background

I completed my LLB at the University of Waikato, as well as a BSocSci in Psychology and Philosophy.I have recently returned from a year long exchange at the University of Copenhagen. Whilst in Denmark I attended the national Model United Nations, and competed as a member of the Danish moot team in the Telders European International Law Moot Court held in the Netherlands. My partner and I were placed 8th in this competition.

Currently

I am currently undertaking an LLM in International Law, addressing issues pertaining to the problem of defining terrorism, the neutrality of the International Committee of the Red Cross, and the exception of aboriginal subsistence to the ban on whaling.

Future Plans

I plan on completing my Masters at the end of the year. I would like to get a legal job and get some experience before heading off overseas (probably London) again to work as a lawyer for a few years.

Top

Willow-Jean Prime   BA / LLB, GradDip (MPD), LLM 

Willow-Jean Prime

Background

I come from Moerewa in Northland and completed a BA/LLB, as well as a Postgraduate Diploma in Maori and Pacific Development at Waikato University. I chose Waikato University because of its strong emphasis on biculturalism and because it offered the study of law in context which is important in the area of Maori issues - the law and how it applied to Maori.

After graduating I worked at Te Ohu Kaimoana for three and a half years. It was an excellent place to cut my teeth as a young solicitor. Now I am enjoying being self employed - working on various whanau, hapu and iwi projects and Treaty claims. It's great to be able to use my skills and experience to make a valuable contribution towards our positive development.

Experience as a Waikato Student

It's good to be back studying. My two paper thesis will look at recent developments in the area of Treaty settlements, governance and indigenous development.

Currently

This year I was awarded Waikato University Law School’s Haggie Scholarship – worth $5,000.

Future Plans

It's important to me to keep learning and to keep abreast of political, legal and economic changes as well as cultural trends. That's why I've chosen to study for my masters. One day I'd like to move back to Northland to live and work and I've decided I can make a better contribution if I upskill.

Top

Cathy Rowden   LLB 

Cathy Rowden

Current Position

Solicitor - McCaw Lewis Chapman

Background

Originally from Wellington, I was educated in the UK and returned home to NZ in 1986 to settle in Cambridge with my young family.

Experience as a Waikato Student

Studying Law at Waikato University was the best decision that I could have made as it provided a gateway into the legal profession. The Law School has lecturers with such diverse experience and passionate enthusiasm for their subjects that it rubs off on their students, and it is a supportive and nurturing environment in which to learn. The School provides students with many opportunities to participate in activities and competitions which allows students to step out of their comfort zone, meet students from other universities and establish networks of professional contacts which more often than not are cemented for your entire career.

Challenge

Returning to tertiary education as a mature student presented two major challenges for me. The first was that I wouldn’t be good enough to make the grade after an absence from the classroom of 25 years. This was a topic of ongoing amusement among some of my younger classmates as they hadn’t been born when I left school and I wasn’t allowed to forget it. The second was giving up the security of a well paid job to concentrate on studying full time again with the worry about how we would survive over the 3 years it took me to complete my degree.

Currently

In December 2008, I was offered a position in the Employment Team at McCaw Lewis Chapman. My supervising partner Julie Hardaker has offered fantastic support and mentoring during the transition between student to solicitor, so much so that I can now quite comfortably provide an opinion in 2 hours rather that the 2 weeks we were used to at Law School.

Future Plans

My plan for the future is too simply to be the best lawyer that I can be, and to never stop learning.

Top