Born and raised in China, Xiaoji Li has had a prominent and varied career in both the Chinese and New Zealand justice sectors.
Starting his education in China, Mr Li attended a highly-ranked police academy where he finished a law degree while training as a police officer.
In 2002 he came to Aotearoa to further his tertiary study, where he enrolled at Massey University completing a Master’s in Management in Palmerston North in 2004. On graduating he moved into law enforcement.
“I was trained to become a police officer in China but had to give it up as I wanted to come to New Zealand to study. I joined the New Zealand Police in October 2004 and completed my training as a frontline officer in the first two years. I then joined the Criminal Investigation Branch (CIB) in Auckland.”
Mr Li brought a valuable skillset to Auckland’s CIB unit due to his language skills. He was involved with several high-profile cases while in the CIB unit – mostly homicide or aggravated home invasion cases – particularly cases where the parties involved were Chinese.
“I find it natural to deal with people and quite easy to form a bond. While I was working in the CIB, I went to AUT to complete my law degree in New Zealand.”
Xiaoji Li was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in October 2014.
You completed a law degree in China before completing one here. Where did you study?
“I went to the People’s Public Security University of China (Beijing) and gained my Chinese law degree.”
The People’s Public Security University of China offers a wide field of tertiary level education in the law enforcement and judicial areas. It is well-known for the training of police officers and is the most highly ranked police academy in China.
What do you enjoy most about being a lawyer?
“Working with people, getting to know them and being able to assist them in their major personal and commercial transactions in New Zealand.”
You worked at New Zealand Police from 2005 in several departments. Can you tell me about your time working in law enforcement?
“I worked in the Enquiry Section of Auckland Central CIB for two and a half years to complete my training to become a detective. I then worked in the Financial Crime Unit at Auckland Central for nearly three years before joining Carson Fox Legal in 2014.”
Why did you decide to move on from the New Zealand Police and retrain as a lawyer?
“As a police officer, I always found it emotional to deal with victims, in particular homicides or sexual violations.
“As a solicitor, there is always a chance to create a win-win situation for clients.”
Property law is quite a big side-step from the extensive criminal background you have – why the change?
“When I was working in the police, I noted the number of Chinese defrauded through property transactions.”
Do you have any advice you can pass on to new graduates/lawyers entering the profession?
“I deal predominately with immigrants from China because of my language skills and I really enjoy working with them.
“I believe that being honest and showing empathy is the best way to assist them.”