Law degrees open up many avenues

21 Aug, 2019
Law Career Fair group photo
127 students attended the AUT Law Fair

Duncan Cotterill solicitor and AUT graduate Dion Morley was delighted to be back to promote Duncan Cotterill to current law students at the AUT Law Fair held earlier in the week.

A great ambassador for law, Dion clearly enjoyed talking about his law journey to students and the experiences he has gained with Duncan Cotterill. “I do a little work with each litigation partner – general civil litigation, debt recovery, insurance and insolvency. I like how it is always different - the facts, the lawyer, the people involved and the strategy required. In every situation, some kind of twist will come up.”

Dion says he decided to do law in Year 12 when he realised that lawyers got paid to argue for other people.“I’m a debater. I like to discuss the strengths and weaknesses of an argument, preferably with someone with a differing opinion to me. Law offered that,” says Dion, who established the AUT Mooting Society.

He says he particularly enjoys the problem solving involved in law. “Someone gives you a random set of facts and you have to start thinking, how am I going to fix this? What laws apply? What is the best way to achieve resolution?”

This year Duncan Cotterill is offering a summer clerk internship scholarship for the first time, only open to AUT and University of Auckland law students. Dion says the students that stand out are the ones that have done their research, know about the company and tailor their questions accordingly.

“This firm comes along to get a feel for the students. We will remember the names of students who stand out when their CVs come through because they engaged well with us at the fair.”

Duncan Cotterill were one of 17 employers at the Law Career Fair, encouraging students to think about the range of law options open to them when they graduate. Other employers included Lane Neave, NZ Defence Force, Tomkins Wake, Prestige Law and Public Defence Service.

And not all employers were legal firms. Fisher & Paykel Healthcare attended the fair to highlight potential careers in their regulatory team, saying legal training encourages the two main skills required, excellent communication skills and high attention to detail.

A Fisher & Paykel spokesperson from the regulatory team says there are major international opportunities for students. Fisher & Paykel sell into 120 countries and need talented law graduates to help navigate the complex regulatory landscape unique to each region.

The 127 students who milled around the employers over the two-hour period made the most of the experience, including third-year law students Michelle Va’afusuaga Maua and Briar Anstis who tried on the robes of court brought along by the Public Defence Society. I’m keen to do international law and so it has been great to talk to the Navy about maritime law and other providers,” says Briar.

The fair was followed by separate presentations from New Zealand Defence Forces, Auckland Council, Duncan Cotterill and Lane Neave.

Employability Relationship Manager Victoria Marshall, who organised the career fair supported by the Law School, says it was great to have such a broad range of organisations in attendance and to witness the meaningful interactions and connections made by students. “We had good representation from private practice and corporates looking for in house legal specialists as well as public sector opportunities and ongoing study options.”

Find out more

For more information about future industry presentations to students, please contact Victoria at or +64 9 921 9999 ext 7771

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