Jeremy Johnson

'There are great opportunities in Christchurch...'

  • Jeremy Johnson

Bachelor of Arts in History and Bachelor of Laws with Honours

Partner, Wynn Williams

In his first year after graduating from UC, Jeremy was already making his mark in the legal world. He was awarded the 2009 Cleary Memorial Prize, one of New Zealand's highest accolades for young practitioners, which recognises outstanding qualities shown through practising law and involvement in the community.

During his time at UC, Jeremy was a champion mooter and debater, and in his role with the civil litigation team at Wynn Williams, he regularly appears in the High Court, and has been one of the youngest practitioners to appear before the Supreme Court.

'The work is varied and interesting, the intellectual challenge of the cases we do is stimulating, and the people – both my colleagues and clients – are great to work with,' he says.

'There are great opportunities in Christchurch to do high-profile, precedent-making cases that you might not get in a bigger city.'

'This is the largest specialist civil litigation team in the South Island. The type of work is commercial and company disputes, trust and fiduciary law, public law and Māori law, and it involves a mixture of research, opinion writing and advocacy.'

Jeremy says that his studies have given him a good grounding in the principles of law, although he admits that 'it is difficult to actually prepare for the practice of law, where you have to make a decision on how the law applies rather than just argue about it'.

In choosing to study Law, Jeremy knew that the skills he would gain from his degree would be useful outside the field as well. 'The ability to research, identify important issues in a complex situation, to develop an argument, and the ability to solve a problem… they are useful not just at work, but outside work if you get involved in the community.'

He chose to study at UC 'because of the strong reputation of the School of Law and the quality of the degree' and his experience lived up to expectations.

'The facilities on the campus were excellent. There was a good balance between studying and recreation – study was taken seriously, but it was not all-consuming and there was plenty of time for fun. There were also plenty of opportunities both on and off campus to engage with the community.'

His interest in the wider community sees Jeremy serving on several committees. He is a member of the Legislation Advisory Committee which reviews proposed legislation for the Attorney-General and Parliament, and has served a term on the Legal Aid Review Panel. Jeremy is also currently the Deputy Legal Advisor to the Archbishop of New Zealand, and a life member of the New Zealand Schools’ Debating Council Inc. Locally, he has helped to set up the English Speaking Union (Canterbury) Trust and is Chancellor (honorary legal advisor) of the Anglican Diocese of Christchurch.

His experiences have earned him recognition with the Chambers 2015 Asia Pacific and Chambers 2014 Global Directories awarding him with the title of Leading Individual. He was also a finalist in the 2014 New Zealand Law Awards as a Young Private Practice Lawyer of the Year.

Jeremy has also completed an LLM with First Class Honours at Gonville & Caius College at the University of Cambridge.

Jeremy's advice to someone considering studying Law at university is simple: 'You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by giving it a go'.

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