By Sasha Borissenko
An average day of work for solicitor Christina Billing consists of assisting people around the country who are in physical pain needing treatment, who have permanent injuries, those who are financially struggling, in mental suffering, or who have fallen through the system and are in need of a helping hand.
It’s a plight worth fighting for, she says.
The John Miller Law solicitor is a grassroots suburban kiwi gal that comes from a hardworking Wellingtonian family. Christina spent her younger years making the most of what New Zealand state schools had to offer, she says, but it was the allure of the Dunedin cold that prompted her to go to Otago University.
Although classical studies and teaching was tempting, Christina decided to pursue law after seeing a newspaper photograph of an Oxford law graduate attired in her family korowai.
“She looked very majestic as if she could take on the world and I wondered if I might be able to do that one day.
“My dad is a complex thinker and many nights have been spent around the dinner table, solving and asking the world’s questions, which naturally led me to inquire about the way that society’s rules work.
“And I was told I was simply too good at arguing to avoid LAWS 101.”
After supporting herself at university by doing odd jobs such as teaching adult te reo classes for the Ministry of Education, she was offered a clerkship with Morrison Kent in Wellington where she spent “some valuable time in the property and litigation teams”. It wasn’t until she landed a job as a solicitor at John Miller Law doing ACC, mental health and criminal law that she developed a passion for the law.
“Torts, ACC and medico-law had always been interests of mine but applying those analytical skills to real lives is an especially unique and rewarding experience in our jurisdictions.
“The gratitude of our clients who finally get the surgery they need, or the compensation they deserve, and those who simply appreciate being heard makes it a very fulfilling place to work.
“There is nothing quite like phoning a client to say they can now have their meniscus repaired and go back to walking up stairs, or tap dancing like they used to.”
It’s also interesting to learn about the many ways her clients come to be injured, she says.
“Whether on a flying fox suspended over a canyon or walking the dog; inhaling wood dust at work, or having surgical items left inside them – no one story is ever the same.”
Outside of the law you can find Christina out and about playing sports, “falling off a paddle board or on a road trip to the next classic kiwi destination with copy of Homer’s Odyssey in tow”.
“I can’t get enough of what our back doorstep has to offer for some downtime, it’s the perfect playground!”
Otherwise, it’s poi dancing, cycling and arts and crafts that Christina enjoys - she’s even made quite the name for herself among friends for her sandblasting glassware abilities.