Double degree paves way to law career

05 December 2022

Completing a double degree in just five years is an impressive achievement. Now UC graduate Vincent Kenworthy is on track to become a junior barrister in 2023.

  • Vincent Kenworthy

    Vincent Kenworthy completed a double degree in just five years and is now on track to become a junior barrister next year.

SDG 4

Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 4: Quality Education

A long-standing passion for justice inspired Vincent Kenworthy to enrol in a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree at Te Whare Wānanga o Waitaha | the University of Canterbury (UC), but a law programme alone could not accommodate his wide-ranging interests. Enrolling in a second degree – a Bachelor of Science (BSc) majoring in Computer Science and Philosophy – proved the perfect fit.

“I’d enjoyed digital technology at school and wanted to continue that at university,” Vincent says. “I thought it would be useful in giving me skills that few other lawyers have and could also provide a Plan B if law didn’t work out.

“I wanted to study philosophy as well, as I had become interested in the ideas underlying what we were reading in English at school. UC is the only university that allows you to do philosophy as a science major, so it worked out really well.”

Completing a double degree is challenging in itself, but Vincent finished what would normally be more than six years of full-time study in just five years. During that time, he also held part-time jobs as a security guard and a school tutor.

“It’s been a great deal of hard work! Reaching graduation is a special moment that I’m looking forward to sharing with my parents and my grandmother.”

Studying law at UC is something of a tradition in Vincent’s family. Both parents are UC alumni with LLB degrees. Vincent can now proudly add a BSc to the family’s roll call of academic qualifications.

In his years at UC, Vincent has been a strong competitor in championship moots for law students in Australia (2019) and New Zealand (2019-2022).

“It was great experience. Competing provided me with a chance to improve my oral argument skills and equipped me well to pursue my studies in law because of being able to better analyse issues from both sides.”

Other UC highlights have included presenting a lecture in third-year Philosophy on a type of mathematical logic called Intuitionistic Type Theory, and conducting applied research this year on artificial intelligence programming to predict the sentencing decisions of criminal courts.

Now working as a law clerk at Ōtautahi’s Plymouth Chambers, Vincent is completing professional studies to become admitted as a lawyer. He expects to be appointed as a junior barrister in mid-2023.

A lifelong learner, his 2023 plans include further part-time study at UC for a languages diploma. “I’m also thinking about going back to do a law master’s degree in a few years’ time.”

Media contact:

  • Email: media@canterbury.ac.nz Ph: (03) 369 3631 or 027 503 0168