New Zealand Law Society - Law wasn’t in the plan for pugilistic practitioner

Law wasn’t in the plan for pugilistic practitioner

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At school Amanda Hyde never wanted to be a lawyer. She wanted to be a vet in a zoo – working with exotic animals, not cats or dogs.

Now well into her legal career, she says an alternative career as a zookeeper might appeal.

“I always wanted to be a vet, so maybe that might appeal as an alternative career.

Amanda Kathleen (Amanda) Hyde
Entry to law
Graduated BA and LLB from Victoria University. Admitted in 2010.
Partner at Keegan Alexander, Auckland.
Speciality area
Amanda Hyde
Amanda Hyde

“I had a very specific idea I wanted to be a vet in a zoo, not just a cat and dog vet, more with exotic animals. Maybe a zookeeper?”

Amanda is a fifth-generation lawyer member of the well-known Wake legal family and the family’s first litigator.

Her great grandfather, Cecil Barry Wake, founded Hamilton-based firm Tompkins Wake with Arthur Lance Tompkins in 1922. Her mother Judith Wake is a partner in Hamilton firm North End Law.

Her father Dr Rowan Hyde is a Hamilton anaesthetist. An older brother is an oil and gas engineer in Perth and her younger sister works in publishing in Montreal.

It wasn’t Amanda’s plan to be a lawyer and she didn’t want to be one.

“In high school I loved French and I wanted to be a vet. I was told I couldn’t study vet science and French so my French teacher said I could study law and be a diplomat.

“I went to law school mainly to do languages, including Spanish, and I planned to go and work for Foreign Affairs. When I was studying I started working at the Ministry of Justice in the Foreshore and Seabed unit doing negotiations under the old Act and when the National government came in, doing the review of that Act.

“I think there was a recruitment freeze on at Foreign Affairs about the same time so I couldn’t apply for work there. But the legal team at the Ministry of Justice had an opening so I got that. That’s how I ended up practising law.

“Surprisingly, I loved the legal work at the Ministry of Justice and was there for two years. That’s when I found that Foreign Affairs was not what I wanted to do.

“I thought about private practice to test that out and push myself to see how I would go, and there was an opportunity to work at Chen Palmer, where I was for 14 months and came to Auckland when they opened an office there.”

Amanda joined Keegan Alexander in 2013. “As I went on in my career my focus turned to litigation and that is what I realised I really loved. It’s quite funny having started off with no intention of being a lawyer, I now love it.”

She served on the Auckland District Law Society’s courthouse liaison committee for a while, but stepped down as her career focus over the last few years required more hard work, which paid off this year when she was made partner.  “I’ve worked very hard.”


“I like exercising and I’m learning from a trainer how to box. I have not fought anyone and not sure I plan to. I’m learning the techniques – but it’s not quite Million Dollar Baby.

“Apart from kayaking, white water rafting and ziplining, I have no other sporting interests, except keeping an eye on rugby sometimes but I’m not an avid fan.

“I try to travel when I can. My BA majored in French and Spanish so I try to keep up with languages by going to Latin American countries - Cuba, Chile and Argentina. I am also doing night classes to keep my Spanish going.”

Amanda took a year off during her university studies to live in France, in the small town of Gastes, south of Bordeaux. “I worked in reception at a holiday resort then did a tiki tour round Europe before coming home.”

“I’m not musical. I played the flute as a child, but no longer. I have a broad range of listening, including 90s rock … Radiohead, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden. My favourite band is (Sydney-based alternative dance group) Rufus du Sol, followed by (Australian singer-songwriter) Nick Murphy aka Chet Faker.

“I enjoyed the Game of Thrones books and am waiting for the new book. I am currently reading US writer Corman McCarthy’s Border Trilogy, which my brother put me on to.

“I’m not a film person and don’t like movies. I didn’t watch Game of Thrones because I like the books and I heard the TV series got ahead of the books so I didn’t want to spoil the books.

“I watch a bit of True Crime stuff on TV – and saw a programme on American football (NFL) player Aaron Hernandez, who was convicted of murder and killed himself in jail. I also watch Netflix and lighter comedies such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Canadian series Schitt’s Creek.

“I have no pets, I am allergic to cats and can’t figure out how to have a dog and work at the same time.”

Cuba and Che

“My favourite holiday spot in New Zealand is Whangamata – I love the beach. Overseas my favourite place is Cuba, I was there two years ago and loved it so much, it is so different.

“I am not a cook but I would like United States Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as a dinner guest - she’s quite in fashion at the moment. And Che Guevara. I’d get someone in to cater but to redeem myself slightly I have taught myself how to make a pavlova. I could make a pavlova for pudding, I found a really easy recipe. And have Central Otago pinot noir and Cuban rum.

“Last year we were in the Supreme Court on the Kim Dotcom extradition matter and I got to do part of the argument myself.” Amanda acted for Dotcom associates Mathias Ortmann, Bram van der Kolk and Finn Batato, who all argued against extradition to the US.

“It was my first time on my feet in the Supreme Court so it was pretty special. I got a good hearing, a good reception, and it went well. We are waiting for a judgment.

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