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Student story

Briar Mulholland

20 July 2023

"UC is always pushing to be innovative and that is cool to be a part of..."


Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History and Bachelor of Laws

Master of Laws (International Law and Politics) with First Class Honours

Policy Analyst, New Zealand Treasury, Wellington

"Studying Law can take you far beyond a court room or a firm," says Briar, who is already proof of the statement.

Briar had already had a four-month stint on the Economic and Finance Committee of the United Nations in New York before completing her Master of Laws in International Law and Politics at UC.

"My role at the United Nations involved building relationships with the UN representatives, diplomats from UN Member States and non-governmental organisation stakeholders," she says. "The Finance Committee is where the rubber meets the road for the UN — all the great ideas in the world couldn’t happen unless the Committee could agree who was to pay for it.

"It included funding peacekeeping missions to the tune of $8 billion every two years. Even little details about how many helicopters could be committed to each mission were debated. It was a great way to see the different priorities of each of the Member States, as well as the way in which people debated or negotiated to ensure that they achieved the orders of their governments."

Briar quickly gained work as a Policy Analyst at the Treasury after graduating. She believes her Law and Arts studies give her a real advantage in preparing for public service work.

"I am working as an Analyst with responsibility for social sector investment advice. It’s a challenging role but one that utilises my critical thinking skills gained from my Law degrees, as well as an understanding of society including drivers of poverty, crime and vulnerability which I picked up through my Bachelor of Arts. It’s always great to bump into UC alumni in Wellington and check in on where our degrees have got us.

"In my interview at the Treasury, when I mentioned that my LLM was specialised in International Law and Politics, I felt like the panel was impressed by the level of specialisation and focus. It is quite a unique specialisation which goes hand-in-hand with both government work and private practice."

"I have always known that I wanted to study Law, but it wasn’t until I came to Canterbury that I realised studying Law doesn’t have to mean practising Law."

Briar went to high school in Christchurch and was very happy to stay in the city to pursue her tertiary studies.

"Christchurch, both before and after the earthquakes, is a vibrant and relaxed city. It was an easy sell to stay here – great weather, great bars and restaurants and great people. Studying can get pretty heavy at times so when I have an opportunity to put the books down I like to go for a run around Hagley Park, chill at Sumner Beach or catch up with friends at the local bar."

She adds: "The reputation of UC's School of Law is unmatched, even more so with the new practical components. You can’t beat learning from the lecturers who write the text books and then having their support to go out and apply it practically, either through community work or legal practice. UC is always pushing to be innovative and that is cool to be a part of."

Briar’s consistent good grades led to her being invited to join the Golden Key International Honour Society, and to study diplomacy and international relations in China.

"It was a really cool opportunity that I wouldn’t have had if I wasn’t at UC."

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