'The academic staff at UC are quite exceptional...'
Bachelor of Laws with Honours
Solicitor, Anthony Harper Lawyers, Christchurch
It was after working as a supervisor at an early childhood centre for seven years that John felt ready for a new challenge and decided to move into law. He commenced his study at Victoria University of Wellington in 1986. Twenty-one years later, he enrolled as a mature student of Law at UC. Five years later, he graduated with a first class Master of Laws degree and now works as a solicitor for Anthony Harper Lawyers specialising in dispute resolution.
‘My goal now is to become a leading barrister in Christchurch,’ he says.
John’s work as a solicitor involves drafting legal opinions, preparing court documents and appearing in court. He specialises in construction law, the liability of public bodies, insurance law and anti-money laundering. He has co-authored the New Zealand chapter of an international text on anti-money laundering law and practice, and has also had two of his master’s papers published in academic journals.
‘It’s really interesting to be working in areas where the law is continuing to evolve.’
John has previously worked as Research Counsel for the Christchurch District Court, and worked at UC as a research assistant, tutor and marker. His research projects included public private partnerships, the appointment, discipline and removal of judges, fraud by an agent case law and environmental law issues including the theoretical underpinnings of the Resource Management Act. He is happy to maintain his involvement with the University.
‘UC is the kind of institution that you never quite leave,’ he says. ‘It has a beautiful campus. The staff are incredibly talented, and it was a real privilege to enrol in their courses. It is very reassuring to know that the friends I made at university and the networks I have developed continue to provide support in my professional life.
‘Everyone has been very supportive. The academic staff at UC are quite exceptional in terms of their knowledge of their specialist subject areas, and the librarians have been incredibly helpful in accessing research materials.’
John agrees that the value of a Law degree is not just in the subject matter covered, but also in learning crucial skills that prepare graduates for their working life.
‘My degrees helped me to develop good research skills and to analyse complex problems,’ he says. ‘They helped me to develop the skills to write persuasively and concisely on interesting topics.’
John is currently serving on the board of Community Law Canterbury and Kirkwood Intermediate School. He values the opportunities to use the skills and knowledge he has gained at UC to make a contribution to the wider community.
John’s advice to anyone considering studying Law is to put everything into it. ‘Go for it! Attend the lectures and tutorials, enter the competitions and make the most of all your opportunities.’