Coming from a large, close knit family, Amy Cunniffe is the second of four children.
An animal lover, Amy grew up on a property with two dogs, two cats and a horse.
“I love animals. Dad was never keen on owning pets, but he was worn down over time. These days I have a dog and a cat of my own.
“I have enjoyed horse riding for many years and kept my own horse throughout high school and university. Riding and spending time with my horse was always a great way to cope with stress. I don't have my own horse these days as it's a huge time commitment, however, I still get out and ride when I can on the weekends."
With a double degree from Auckland University; Amy’s BA is in political studies alongside her LLB. She now works at Buddle Findlay in Auckland.
“Studying law is very demanding and I think that working towards a BA at the same time can be a great counterbalance to that, and enable you to explore a variety of subjects simply for the pleasure of learning.”
What was your favourite subject in high school?
“I loved English at school – I have always been a keen reader. I also loved studying French and Latin.”
Why did you choose to work in commercial law and what is your favourite practice area within the commercial law field?
“I did a summer clerkship with Buddle Findlay while I was at university – I wasn't sure if a large law firm was the place for me and a summer clerkship seemed like a wonderful opportunity to determine whether this was a job I wanted to pursue.
“I really enjoyed my summer clerkship and found Buddle Findlay to be a very welcoming and supportive firm. I was really pleased to come back as a law clerk.
“I do a lot of M&A work and I really enjoy learning about different industries and businesses, and working out the particular risks and potential opportunities for any proposed sale or acquisition.
“Being an M&A lawyer also allows me to work with teams specialising in all areas of commercial law – from property to employment to tax. It's a great way to learn about different practice areas while being responsible for progressing the transaction as a whole.”
After finishing your studies, did you find the job matched the expectations you had while in university?
“While I was at university I didn't have a clear vision of what working in a law firm would be like. I did think it could be a very stressful job, and I was glad to learn how supported young lawyers are and how lawyers work together as a team.
“I never really thought about what it would be like working with clients.
“I have really enjoyed getting to know my clients and learn about their businesses and objectives, and see how my work has helped them with these objectives. For example, it's really satisfying to assist my early stage clients with their capital raises, and see them take the funds raised and use them to grow their businesses.”
Is there anything you wish you had been taught in law school that wasn't covered?
“I think it is very difficult for schools or universities to teach students everything they might need to know for their jobs – I think it is inevitable that there will be a lot of learning when you start work.”
Who inspires you?
“I am inspired by my parents – I admire how they have put so much time and effort and love into our family, and recognise that this is why we are still a close and happy family today.
“I am also inspired by the lawyers I work with at Buddle Findlay – our jobs can be really demanding, but, even during our most stressful periods, the lawyers in my team speak kindly to each other.
“Staying calm and considerate when under pressure is a quality I aspire to have.”