New Zealand Law Society - STUDYING THE LAW: Sam Macintosh, Victoria University

STUDYING THE LAW: Sam Macintosh, Victoria University

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Sam Macintosh
Sam Macintosh

Sam Macintosh is a second year law and arts student at Victoria University of Wellington. He works part-time at the New Zealand Law Society.

Born in Australia to an English father and New Zealand mother, Sam moved to New Zealand when he was six years old.

His mother works in the information technology sector and in 2009 she was transferred to Malaysia for work and the family followed.

“We were over there for three years, I was year 7 to 10 [form 1 to 5]. I went to an international school; Garden International, which taught a British curriculum.

“We were over there until 2012. Then I started at Kristin High School [in Auckland], from year 11 to 13, I managed to skip year 10, which obviously hasn’t done me any harm. I graduated in 2014 and moved to Wellington after that.”

You’re majoring in International relations and minoring in Mandarin as well. Why those subjects?

“International Relations is a little lighter than law in the sense that you do big ideas where is law is a little more focused. IR is interesting in how it plays out.”  

Why did you decide to study the law?

“I knew pretty early on that law might be the way to go; I’ve always loved talking (not necessarily about anything sensible) and so as my passion for English and languages blossomed it seemed like a decent fit.

“I love the interpersonal side of law, and the inherent competition of trying to get the best possible outcome for your client.

“Career choices were also slightly limited to by my red/green colour-blindness; making my childhood dreams of being an international cricketing superstar slightly more difficult, and took the notions of serving in the air force or as a commercial airline pilot off the table entirely!”

I know you don’t have a choice in what you study at the moment, but what has been your most enjoyable paper so far?

“In terms of law courses, I thoroughly enjoyed Public Law, especially the regulatory side of administrative law.

“I’ve also enjoyed the challenge of contract; attempting to navigate the often maze-like setup of common law based contractual elements and memorise the seemingly endless principles of and exceptions to contractual doctrines.

“On the Arts side, I’m finding one of my papers on the international political economy to be super engaging; particularly when looking at the interdependence and relationships between free-market economies and political forces, both domestically and internationally.”

What do you like about working as a Legal Administrator at the New Zealand Law Society?

“I love seeing the law in its practical application, and how that differs (or doesn’t) from the way we study it at university. It’s also a fantastic good opportunity to develop key legal skills like research presentation and drafting legal correspondence.”

Do you think there are there any issues facing young students?

“I think the issues of student budgets and dodgy flats are the same as they have been for students across the ages. However, I also think that there are a number of issues to do with higher rents, cost of living, mental health, and the fact that a university degree is not necessarily the golden ticket it used to be that are perhaps more evident in the modern student situation.

“That said, the students of today undoubtedly have greater opportunities in terms of what to study, and where to study than previous, and overall probably have better access to support services to address student concerns – so hopefully the two should sort of even out!”

When you get time to breathe between study and work, how do you disengage and de-stress?

“One of the best ways to combat stress for me is to chuck on Miles Davis’ 'A Kind of Blue' or Ramsay Lewis’ 'Tequila Mockingbird' and just disengage the brain for a while!

“If I manage to get a slightly longer break away, I tend to try and persuade my flatmates to join me for quick video game session on the Xbox, or an episode of something hilarious; we’re currently doing re-runs of 'Archer' and 'Rick and Morty'. Basically, do anything that has nothing to do with the task at hand!”

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