By Sasha Borissenko
“We should be encouraging more women to enter into the legal professional and it is important to encourage women to take on the role as partner and other high ranking roles,” moving counsel Eleanor Bunt says.
Josephine Byrnes was among 14 budding lawyers who were admitted to the High Court of Wellington for the 27 March 2015 10am ceremony, presided over by Justice Collins and Justice Brown
Josephine currently works for not-for-profit Financial Services Complaints Ltd, which is one of four approved dispute resolution schemes in the financial services sector that investigates complaints and claims for consumers.
In her address she told the court she was privileged to be working for an organisation that was born as a result of the global financial crises, a job that didn’t exist when she started studying at Otago University in 2009.
While she originally had plans to study sciences, it was her aunt and moving counsel, Eleanor Bunt that suggested a career in law.
The Dunedin-based principal litigator for the Ministry of Social Development said the law was a perfect profession for her niece and goddaughter.
“The profession is a great place for intelligent women and someone like Josephine, who has great ideals, would thrive. We should be encouraging more women to enter into the legal professional and it is important to encourage women to take on the role as partner and other high ranking roles.”
Ms Bunt said it was an honour to be asked to be moving counsel and she was proud to be a member of a big supportive Catholic family.
As part of Josephine’s address to the court the 24-year-old thanked her moving counsel, her friends and her mother in particular for proofreading many of her legal assignments throughout university.
Mother Nicola Byrnes recalls telling Josephine that she could only proofread her daughter’s university work before 9pm but “sure enough, the material would always come through at about 11pm or later”, she said.
Nicola said she was “so proud of Josephine and happy to have a lawyer in the immediate family”.
“I hope that she has a really worthwhile career. At the moment Josephine is really passionate about what she is doing and she seems to be really enjoying it.”
Although father and accountant Mike Byrnes said he had high hopes Josephine would embark towards a career in accountancy, he was very proud of Josephine and her achievements.
It was pretty hard to follow three sisters who had established themselves as an anaesthetist, vet and nurse but Josephine truly made her mark, he said.
Josephine’s sister, Catherine Malone said she was very excited to be in Wellington, the “seat of justice” so-to-speak.
“Josephine’s address was very eloquent and it was interesting to see people’s journeys, some much more challenging than others. Jo just had to cope with freezing [Dunedin] conditions.”