By Elliot Sim
Bonnie Zareh, who is 26, joined Mactodd in February 2012.
Before moving to Queenstown, Ms Zareh worked at a large Auckland firm as a law clerk. She graduated from Auckland University in 2011 with an honours degree in law and a BA in psychology.
“My sister was living here and working for a local radio station. So I visited the town a few times and fell in love with the place. I sought a job at Mactodd because I liked the culture of the firm and the quality of work they have ,” Ms Zareh says.
“I applied for a job and didn’t get the first one, but they liked me enough to call me back and offer me a job that was more suited to a graduate.”
Ms Zareh’s principal areas of practice are commercial and property law. She has experience in residential and commercial conveyancing, property management and sharing agreements, sale and purchase of businesses, company matters, intellectual property, trusts and estate planning.
“I do a lot of property type work. This includes general and commercial work, but also local government. Our firm is a full service firm including criminal and family work and civil litigation. This means you get a broad range of experience which is really good for someone starting out,” she says.
The opportunity for regular exposure to clients has been a highlight for the young lawyer.
“I’ve got a few of my own clients. Getting out and being involved in the community means you can also get out and get your own work.”
Ms Zareh can’t see herself leaving the stunning environment and activities that Queenstown offers.
“I never get tired of the landscape. Every time I look out the window it’s just as beautiful as on my first trip to Queenstown … I love horse riding, so I’ve got a horse here. On a Friday night, after work, we’ll go up the mountain for a night ski – it is a wonderful lifestyle choice.”
Joining the Queenstown Young Professionals and the Wakatipu Riding Club has also helped her to get involved with the community.
“I’m an active member in the riding club … I’ve also acted in some short plays produced by Remarkable Theatre. Moving to Queenstown certainly has made me branch out and do things that I wouldn’t have done if I was in larger centre.”
Ms Zareh says she is gaining specific experience in local government work “which is becoming a bit of a specialist area”, but is keeping quite general in her legal work.
“I’m not in too much of a hurry to create a tight niche, because I actually enjoy the variety”.
Ms Zareh is “playing it as it comes”, but says she is working hard to move up the ranks at Mactodd.
“At this stage, I’m pretty happy so I’m not looking elsewhere. I’m looking to progress as far as I can with this firm.”
This profile was first published in LawTalk 843, 6 June 2014, page 9.