New Zealand Law Society - Barristers.Comm establishes Māori and Pasifika internship

Barristers.Comm establishes Māori and Pasifika internship

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Professor Mark Hickford and Chris Griggs sign on behalf of Victoria University of Wellington and Barristers.comm
Professor Mark Hickford and Chris Griggs sign on behalf of Victoria University of Wellington and Barristers.comm

Wellington barristers chambers Barristers.Comm has established a partnership with Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington’s Faculty of Law, by offering an annual internship to Māori and Pasifika law students.

A signing ceremony in the Old Government Buildings in December, was attended by Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Māori) Professor Rawinia Higgins, Assistant Vice-Chancellor (Pasifika) Luamanuvao Dame Winnie Laban, and Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of Law Professor Mark Hickford, as well as the members of Barristers.Comm.

The intern will assist members of chambers as a law clerk with legal research, preparing court documents and correspondence, supporting appearances in courts and tribunals, and many other ancillary tasks.

Barristers.Comm says there were several matters that influenced the offer of the internships.

“The law profession in Aotearoa New Zealand, and particularly the independent Bar, does not reflect the ethnic and cultural diversity of this country, and this is a loss to the profession. A law profession that better reflects the diversity in Aotearoa New Zealand will better serve our communities. More people with diverse backgrounds entering the law will facilitate the continued promotion of new ideas and perspectives in the law and make for a more just society,” the chambers says.

“We recognise that Māori and Pasifika are under-represented in our profession compared to the general population and there are a number of factors that have influenced this imbalance. Our chambers can provide the opportunity to network amongst professionals and support our intern’s smooth transition into the legal profession. By offering this new internship opportunity we hope to smooth our intern’s path into the legal profession by providing valuable work experience, encouragement and collegiality.”

Professor Hickford says he is delighted that the Faculty has partnered with Barristers.Comm to give Māori and Pasifika students such an opportunity.

“This will give our students real life experience in a set of barristers’ chambers, while maintaining their studies in law at Te Herenga Waka–Victoria University of Wellington.”

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