Alex Summerlee

'I really liked the idea of getting into a career which could be of practical help to people...'

  • Alex Summerlee

Bachelor of Arts in French and Political Science and a Bachelor of Laws with Honours

Solicitor, Parry Field Lawyers

Having studied French at high school and spent some time living in France, Alex wanted to keep up his language studies at university.

‘This is probably the best decision I made about subjects at university because I’ve since become fluent in French and living in France briefly was a life-changing experience,’ he says. ‘For those who did languages at school, the best thing you can do is keep it going at uni. Not only is a great skill to have, but the experience can really give you a whole new view of the world that growing up in New Zealand simply can’t offer.

‘Even if you didn’t do languages at school, it’s not too late to start!’

Adding Law and Political Science was inspired by wanting challenging subjects that had a lot to offer.

‘Like almost everyone else I was quite uncertain about what to do after high school. I spoke to a few people who encouraged me to give Law a go. They had it pretty right – I’ve really enjoyed the intense reasoning and logic which goes with studying Law. It’s taught me useful skills well outside of legal contexts.’

His honours study researched the implications from different international interpretations of the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, a treaty that responds to children being taken away overseas by one parent without the consent of the other.

‘I really liked the idea of getting into a career which could be of practical help to people. Having been involved for a number of years as a youth worker I suppose it was almost inevitable that I would develop a keen interest in family law issues, particularly matters pertaining to the welfare of children.’

UC turned out to be the best option for his Law and French studies.

‘It offered all the courses I wanted. The Law School at Canterbury particularly interested me because of the exceptional reputation that it has. The faculty here really does write all the textbooks!

‘I’ve enjoyed meeting new people, and showing up every day to a great campus. I’ve been a member of French Soc, which is a great way to keep my French fluency going and enjoy wine and cheese on the side.’

Alex’s time at UC has been awarded with a number of scholarships. He received a School of Law Bursary and a History Prize through the School of Humanities for his first year results, later receiving a School of Law Prize for being first in Child and Family Law and a UC Alumni Scholarship. He has also received a Storry Scholarship from the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch for his community involvement and academic ability.

‘My double degree has been challenging but I’ve loved every bit of it. The variety is probably the most exciting aspect of it; in one semester I could be studying French literature, Chinese History, and International Human Rights law.’

Alex is looking forward to having more experiences with Law outside of UC as well.

‘After passing the bar next year I look forward to getting some real world experience as a lawyer. Having already made a couple of court appearances as quasi-counsel this year, I’m looking forward to getting a lot more practice as a litigator.’

He has already taken steps towards his goal by getting a job as a Solicitor at Parry Field specialising in civil litigation and family law.

‘I’m enormously lucky to be working next year in a field of law that interests me,’ he says.

Zhe kwan

Zhe Kwan

'Canterbury’s a nice place to be, and everyone seems very friendly in this part of the world...'

Katie Collier

Katie Collier

'I knew that I wanted to make a difference through mitigating modern environmental problems...'