Lucy Nolan is a law clerk with Sharp Tudhope Lawyers in Tauranga. She joined the firm this year after completing her Bachelor of Laws and Arts degree at the University of Auckland, majoring in Economics. She also has a keen interest in foreign languages and has studied international law at Stockholm University in Sweden.
Tell me a bit about yourself
“As my colleagues would tell you, I am an ‘adrenaline junkie who likes to sew’. Juxtaposed qualities, I know, but an engaging icebreaker.
“I grew up in suburban Auckland and was fortunate enough to move to Bay of Plenty at the end of 2018 – which has not only been an awesome lifestyle move, but has allowed me to reconnect with family here; my family and I are really close.”
What do you enjoy most about working in dispute resolution and employment law?
“My favourite thing about working in dispute resolution and employment law is the variety of fact scenarios and personalities I encounter. Every file is different, which keeps my work fresh and interesting.”
You studied in Sweden - can you share a bit about your time studying overseas? Any differences between teaching methods between Sweden and New Zealand?
“My time in Sweden was the perfect way to complete my degree, and I would recommend everyone step out of their comfort zone and adventure overseas if they have the chance.
“Studying overseas, while it had its challenges, was so rewarding because there was so much to learn both in and out of the classroom.
“The teaching methods in Sweden are much different to the teaching methods here in New Zealand. In Sweden, papers are taught consecutively.
“They are truncated to six weeks of intensive teaching but you only have to focus on one paper at a time. Which reminds me – nowhere else in the world do they use the word “paper” to refer to a whole course. After telling people we typically studied four papers at a time in New Zealand, and being asked “What did you write your papers on?” too many times to count, I eventually trained myself to use the word “course” for the time I was there.”
After finishing your studies, did you find the job matched the expectations you had while in uni?
“I think as I progressed through university, and having had friends that were older than me and already in the workforce, I learned not to form solid expectations of what my working life was going to be like. That said, I did expect the job to be quite difficult for a while until I found my feet. Luckily for me, I secured a job in an incredibly supportive team where everyone is patient, collegial and great at teaching.”
Is there anything you wish you had been taught in law school that wasn't covered?
“There is only so much you can learn in law school in the constrained time, but the one thing I wish I was taught to a greater degree is the art of practical legal research.”
Are there any issues currently facing lawyers and/or the legal system as a whole that you'd like to highlight?
“As a freshly minted graduate I’m not sure I have the experience to be able to comment on lawyers’ issues generally, but I can talk to the university environment.
“In my experience, competition for graduate roles was tough and the pressure to get ‘perfect’ grades was very real. I think we all need to look after each other a bit better and not be so hard on ourselves, because grades don’t define us, and life always has a way of working out.”
What is your favourite part about living in the Bay of Plenty?
“The sunshine, the sea, the relatively central location – it’s no more than a few hours from so many of my other favourite places. I don’t think I can choose just one.”
Can you tell me about anyone who inspires you?
“Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Anyone who can attend law school for TWO people (she went to her husband’s lectures as well as her own when he was suffering from cancer), care for a sick spouse AND raise a toddler may as well be given a superwoman suit! Not to mention all of her advocacy for gender equality in the law.”
What activities do you do after work to decompress after a long day?
“My two favourite ways to de-stress, depending on my mood, are summitting Mt Maunganui or sitting at my sewing machine and getting creative.”