New Zealand Law Society - How Tax Lawyer Juggles Brass Bands And Dog Shows

How Tax Lawyer Juggles Brass Bands And Dog Shows

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Not many law students decide in their third year that tax law is for them – but Arti Chand did and she was hooked.

"I never looked back," says Arti, who, after working in top accountancy firms for some years, recently established her own tax law consultancy in Wellington – Arti Chand Tax Law.

Arti Lata (Arti) Chand
Lautoka, Fiji 
Entry to law
Graduated LLB, BCA from Victoria University. Admitted 2003. 
Arti Chand Tax Law, Wellington. 
Speciality area
Tax law.
Arti Chand
Arti Chand

"I took crime at law school but thought it is an area of law that requires a special breed of people who deal in family and criminal law.

"They have to be able to deal with people at the very lowest points of their life … Doing that on a daily basis was something I was scared I would not be able to cope with…"

Doing volunteer work for Victim Support at the time was hard emotionally and it made Arti confident she would not want to spend the rest of her life doing criminal law on a daily basis.

"I had Professor John Prebble teaching me tax in my third year and I was hooked … Everything evolved from that … I love it … It is fascinating, like solving a mystery…

"Every issue you deal with is different … the legal issue might be the same but the facts are always different…".

With a 13-year old stepdaughter keen on following her auntie to be a scientist and a partner who's a tax partner with accounting services firm BDO in Wellington – "we have some very interesting conversations" – Arti enjoys time away at dog shows with her Maltese terriers Scruffy (4) and Lady (9 months).

"We are in the novice grade in sporting dog championships and we compete around the country in events called Rally-O, which is not as strict as full obedience competitions.

"It involves getting through a circuit with your dog paying attention to you … and you need to score 90% in three events to get to the next level…

"Scruffy, who has also passed a Canine Good Citizen course, is very interested and very happy with it … Lady is learning … I'm completely uncoordinated so there more handler issues than dog issues…

"It's something completely away from tax and challenging for me.

"My partner puts up with coming along but he gets too nervous … I drag him to dog shows and he drags me to his passion – brass band competitions…"

Arti has engaged in a variety of community related volunteering, including Victim Support, canine pet therapy and is now on the board of Parent Help, all work she says is fulfilling.

"Victim Support provides an invaluable service to people dealing with crisis … I was a crisis volunteer and afterhours coordinator for other volunteers … I wanted to do something different with different people to those I would normally meet…"

Parent Help provides assistance to parents struggling to cope with extremely stressful times or looking for basic information that can be of help.

Growing up in Lautoka, Arti came to New Zealand to study law, economics and finance "and stayed in Wellington ever since".

"I'm setting up my own practice now, doing my own marketing and building new relationships at the same time as I manage my stepdaughter's school hockey team…

"I've never played hockey – I'm one of those people who has avoided sport altogether - but the team survived the season…

"I like watching the rugby sevens because it is religion in Fiji and you are brainwashed into it – but I have not been part of too much in terms of sport or exercise…"

She says there's always time for reading books and watching television.

Like a number of lawyers Arti is a fan of the Lee Child Jack Reacher series and particularly likes Alexander McCall Smith's writing – including the No 1 Ladies' Detective Agency series.

"Those books are beautifully written and I often re-read them … Simplicity is good and simple writing is under-rated…

"Yes, I like crime shows on TV – Death in Paradise and CSI – stuff that does not require too much thinking…

"And I love cooking shows … I like to eat, I like to cook and I like to watch people cooking…Rick Stein is my favourite … everything he cooks I want to eat … he does a lot of seafood, which is what I grew up with in Fiji…

"By the time I got to New Zealand my musical taste was limited to UB40 and Bob Marley, and I love U2, the only band I have followed for years…

"If I wasn't a lawyer I would probably want to write and may get into that in later years…crime fiction, there's always another detective story…"

Jock Anderson has been writing and commenting on New Zealand lawyers and New Zealand's courts for quite a while. Contact Jock at

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