Laughter, cheers and waiata marked this year’s AUT Law School awards, an annual event celebrating its top academic students along with their whānau and families.
The evening was also a chance to acknowledge the school’s strong relationships with key members of the legal profession, many of whom actively support the Law School through named scholarships and distinctions.
Dean of AUT Law School, Professor Charles Rickett, said since its establishment in 2008, the school has secured its position as a leader in the tertiary sector and the wider legal community.
“We had 60 students in our first cohort, only two of whom were school leavers. Today, we have 24 full-time staff and a raft of high-achieving students. As tonight’s celebration makes clear, we are a success,” Professor Rickett said.
The keynote speech was delivered by Royal Reed, founder and principal of Prestige Law. With offices in Auckland, Shanghai, Taipei and Melbourne, Royal has realised her dream to help Chinese clients navigate the often complex and expensive world of litigation.
Acknowledging that law can be a “hard work environment”, Royal shared her secret to success.
“Every day, I remind myself that today is another day I can focus on real people. Much of the time, clients come to me when they are at their lowest. There is a Chinese proverb that says only the people you meet at the lowest point of their lives are true friends. I strive to develop warrior-like relationships with people in their hard period – relationships that are uplifting and positive. In that way, we become fellow warriors walking together through a tunnel, towards the light.”
In closing the event, Professor Rickett paid special tribute to the students, whose academic achievements, contributions to the community, and professional excellence are the foundation for the success of the Law School.
“We have in this room a remarkably good bunch of people – and that’s more important than being a remarkably good bunch of students.”