The real legal deal

7 March 2019

Norris Ward Mckinnon scholarship winners Thalini Karunaratne (l) and Phoebe Parson with NWM partner Dan Moore.

Hamilton law firm Norris Ward McKinnon (NWM) has awarded its 2019 University of Waikato scholarships.

They’re worth up to $11,000 each and are for students doing postgraduate study in any area of law.

This year’s recipients are masters student Thilini Karunaratne and PhD student Phoebe Parson.

Thilini’s research focuses on issues surrounding privacy, particularly in New Zealand, but she also hopes to compare New Zealand with other jurisdictions such as the UK and India.

“I’ll be conducting an analysis of our privacy laws and whether the right to privacy should be strengthened in New Zealand. In particular, I’ll be taking a closer look at how other countries are treating privacy and whether any of what is being done offshore could potentially apply here.”

Thilini says she feels privileged and honoured to be one of the scholarship recipients. “I have a passion for learning and have always dreamed of continuing my postgraduate studies. The NWM scholarship was a great opportunity to turn my dream into reality. It’ll will assist me greatly to complete the required research for my master’s thesis.”

She will be using the funds to pay for her fees and for expenses related to conducting the relevant research.

Phoebe’s doctoral thesis explores the legal frameworks for managing natural resources in New Zealand, particularly looking at geothermal, fisheries, and Crown-owned mineral resources. “My research angle examines the legislative, policy and regulatory mechanisms for managing resource information, and how that is used in decision-making about natural resources.” Phoebe previously completed a conjoint Bachelor of Social Sciences and Bachelor of Laws degree, and then did an honours year before deciding to embark on a PhD.

“It’s hugely encouraging to have my research valued by New Zealand’s legal community, via Norris Ward McKinnon, and the scholarship will certainly assist my research. Graduate students aren’t government funded in New Zealand so financial assistance via a scholarship can make the difference between graduate study or not.”

Dan Moore, partner at Norris Ward McKinnon, says his practice has a longstanding and excellent relationship with Te Piringa – Faculty of Law. “We’re proud to support Waikato law graduates, by taking interns, law clerks, and graduates into our firm, which we have done for many years now. One of these original law clerks is now a partner in our firm; another is an associate. NWM is made up of many success stories from Te Piringa graduates.

“We know Te Piringa produces top quality law graduates and NWM is able to retain and develop them into highly successful, knowledgeable and personable lawyers, who in turn give back by advising one of our most valued clients, the University of Waikato,” says Mr Moore.

Last year’s Norris Ward McKinnon scholarship recipients were Dee Holmes and Juliet Chevalier-Watts.

Ms Chevalier-Watts, a charity law specialist, used her scholarship to complete her doctorate which reviews religion and charity law.

With a background in private wealth, trust and succession planning, Dee Holmes is in the second year of her PhD, researching law reform under the Family Protection Act 1955. “There is limited academic discourse on this topic, and my thesis seeks to bring a fresh perspective to the discussion to ensure that future law reform in this area is a success,” Dee says.

Mr Moore says the NWM scholarship connects students to the real world of law in practice and allows NWM staff as practitioners insight into the topics of specialised research going on in our industry.  “It’s an invaluable opportunity,” he says.

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