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NEW IN THE LAW: Jack Price, Solicitor, Parker and Marriner Lawyers, Hawera

28 July 2016 - By Angharad O'Flynn

Jack Price is a solicitor with Taranaki law firm Parker and Marriner.

"I grew up in New Plymouth with my parents and three older brothers. I attended New Plymouth Boys' High School and graduated in 2009.  I went to Victoria University in Wellington after that; Wellington seemed like a good choice, as I knew the law school had an excellent reputation."

Jack began studying Law and History at Victoria.

photo of Jack Price 
"It's a real privilege to stand up on someone else's behalf..." 

"I'd always been fascinated by History and performed well at it at school. For this reason, law seemed like a good choice as I felt it lent itself to subjects revolving around the arts and language." 

It wasn't long before Jack switched his tertiary major to English Literature, citing his love of reading and books as the main contributing factor for the change:  "I was always weird in that I absolutely loved Shakespeare and poetry at school. I got a real kick out of reading that sort of stuff. I am fascinated by the ability that some people have with words and I think that this continued over to university."

"A lot of the cases you read at Uni aren't riveting, but there is a select group of House of Lords judges who can just make you go 'wow!' with their judgments. I think this is an important tool for any advocate just as it is for a judge." 

After graduating in 2014, Jack began working at Parker and Marriner in Hawera in 2015 and he was admitted to the bar in October of last year. He says of his employers, "I have been lucky to be a part of a great team that has supported me from day one." 

What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer? And what made you want to lean toward litigation as a speciality?

Jack has a very honest, thoughtful opinion on litigation saying, "I think it's important to realise it really is a privilege to do what we do. It's a real privilege to stand up on someone else's behalf or help them with things that they don't understand. I think in this job you get to see such a wide range of people – and you find a lot of them haven't been afforded the same opportunities that a lot of us have."

Jack points out the different backgrounds among his clients. He notes that some of the people he represents don't hear kind words very often:  "…you treat them with respect and kindness – but this is just the way it should be. I love helping those on the edge of society in particular who need someone to look out for them – whether that is through helping someone get a protection order or making sure that they aren't signing something that is going to impact on them negatively in the future." 

Is there anything you wish you learnt in law school that wasn't covered?

"As everyone says you don't learn anything practical in law school. That's one of the biggest challenges about starting the job; it's really like learning to walk after you've been crawling along for five years. You have that base knowledge that you can fall back on but you need to learn how to put that into practice." 

Did you find the job matched the expectations you had in school?

Jack has a couple of interesting thoughts on expectations versus reality: "In a lot of ways those school expectations turn out to be surprisingly true. A lot of what you learn from case law at uni can be very helpful, especially in the context of a criminal case."

Jack says that criminal law can be both a very procedural and very abstract subject explaining, "I really enjoy how intellectually challenging some of the criminal law concepts are." 

"I have been lucky enough to work on some complex criminal cases and it's a good feeling when you have helped achieve a really good outcome for your client because you have sat back and thought about these big ideas and how they apply to the case."  

Can you tell me about anyone who inspires you? 

"Lots of people inspire me, both in my firm and the wider world."  Jack values the importance of genuine kindness and compassion amongst people: "…I really value [kindness and compassion] in those I work with and I would like to think I exhibit myself."

Do you have any advice for young graduates and junior lawyers entering the profession?

He offers up some blunt, strong advice for graduates and junior lawyers saying, "Back yourself! And be nice to everyone you meet."   

What are your favourite ways to disengage from the job?

"I really like animals. If I wasn't a lawyer I would probably be opening Taranaki's first cat café."

Angharad is a journalist based in Wellington.

Last updated on the 28th July 2016