Steven Stebbings was raised in Auckland in the suburb of Mangere Bridge where he attended Onehunga High School.
"After high school, I spent a year in Sydney, Australia working to save for a volunteer mission for my church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day saints."
He then moved to Perth for two years volunteering, after which, he returned to Sydney and worked to save up for his tertiary studies in New Zealand.
At the Auckland campus of Massey University, Steven studied for a Bachelor of Business Studies majoring in Human Resource Management, and Small Business Entrepreneurship. After graduating from Auckland with a BBS, he enrolled in Waikato University to study law.
At the end of his first year at law school, he married. Steven and his wife Jasmine now have three children ages five, three and eight months.
Upon completing his LLB study, Steven and Jasmine looked for a family house: "My wife and I decided we wanted to live close to the ocean, and Whakatane ticked all our boxes. I couldn't have ended up in a better place or a better firm."
In 2015, after being admitted as a barrister and solicitor of the New Zealand High Court, Steven joined the firm of Hamertons Lawyers Limited in Whakatane.
When did you realise that you wanted to be a lawyer?
This choice wasn't made until Steven was at Massey University. A part of the Bachelor of Business Studies requires students to complete an employment law paper, and Steven recalls "…[I] really enjoyed the process of applying the legislation to fact scenarios. This is the main reason I decided to complete an LLB and become a lawyer."
What made you lean toward your chosen speciality?
"My plan to complete an LLB was to build on my BBS, so the property and commercial specialities were my aims."
Steven's areas of expertise include property law, commercial conveyancing, estate planning and administration, as well as commercial leases and wills.
What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer?
"Sharing a client's excitement when they are purchasing their first home or starting a business and assisting them through such an exciting time."
Steven genuinely enjoys helping people and, given his field, the clients he deals with can experience polar-opposite emotions; they can often be first home buyers, whom he helps guide through what can sometimes be a daunting process, but with a positive outcome. The opposite of this, of course, is the drawing up of wills. This can also be an emotional process, which can result in mixed reactions given the finality of the subject matter. In both situations, a kind, gentle hand, is often required.
Can you tell me about anyone who inspires you?
"My mum and dad. At the start of every year, my dad would get our siblings together and he would talk to us about goal setting and striving to improve and achieve. My mum consistently showed me by her example how to work. Their examples inspire me."
Do you have any advice you could give new graduates entering the law profession?
"Ask questions, build support networks with multiple mentors, and back yourself."
What are your favourite ways to disengage from the job?
"My family helps me to disengage from the job. Three little kids that give you smiles when you get home or a picnic at the beach and going for a surf does the trick."
As well as family time, Steven also enjoys playing rugby and basketball and likes the outdoors.
Angharad O'Flynn is a Wellington journalist.