Eddie Jackson graduated from Victoria University with an LLB in 2015 and was admitted to the bar in June 2016. Eddie works with privately-owned businesses on a range of matters including sale and purchase transactions, business structuring and corporate governance. Eddie also advises on a range of not-for-profit, trust and personal property matters.
It wasn’t a childhood dream to become a lawyer for Christchurch born and raised Eddie Jackson, but a twenty-minute conversation in sixth form with the school’s guidance councillor that persuaded him law was for him.
Following high school Eddie chose to study law at Victoria University of Wellington, Te Herenga Waka.
“It was a tough call not following most of my school mates to Dunedin”, says Eddie, “but I had always liked the idea of Wellington, and Dunedin gets so damn cold. Not that Wellington is particularly tropical.”
Alongside the LLB, Eddie studied a BA majoring in Political Science. He got a front row seat in applying what he learnt with an internship in Parliament which Eddie says, “brought that degree to life”, and introduced him to the government and law-making process.
Real world expectations
“In hindsight it is terrifying that such an informal and brief [high school] meeting set my life on its current trajectory. However, I have landed in a career that I enjoy and I am surrounded by good people, so no complaints with the outcome.”
“I thought the law school at Te Herenga Waka was great, and that the legal subjects it offered were as comprehensive as they could have been in a five-year degree. In terms of any perceived gaps in the curriculum though, I don’t think it is controversial to say that there is a slight lack of synergy between law school and legal practice.
“Law school is incredibly issue-focused, but in my line of work anyway the majority of clients don’t have a snail in their ginger beer (so to speak), and the important thing for them is that they are navigated through their transaction or circumstances in a way they understand, and that is efficient.
“So, while the issue-spotting/solving skills developed at university are critical, my sense is that there is a lost opportunity to better develop some of the other skills that make a good lawyer – ie client-centric plain English communication (not necessarily Style Guide compliant), delegation (up and down), familiarity with transactional elements, etc. Profs goes a way to filling this gap, but I’m not sure it should be doing all the lifting so late in the piece.
“I guess my expectations of the job were that it would be challenging, time critical, occasionally painful, but at the end of the day very rewarding; those expectations have largely played out.
“What I perhaps did not appreciate was how those expectations would manifest in the day-to-day, i.e in phone calls, meetings, thousands of emails, conditions to satisfy, warranties to negotiate, time to record, invoices to send etc. In amongst all of those interactions though are incredibly interesting people and circumstances, which make the job what it is.”
Eddie is aware that a particular issue legal practice is grappling with is caring for practitioners’ mental health.
“I have seen, as most lawyers would have, some very real instances of the profession taking its toll on people’s mental wellbeing. However, the conversation around mental health (both good and poor) has only become more constructive and prevalent in recent years, and there are some amazing people and organisations working to ensure the conversation stays current. It is great to see the ‘she’ll be right’ attitude slowly fading into the background.
“I am lucky enough to work in a well-supported and well-resourced environment, but yes, my area of practice certainly has its days, and you need an outlet. I spend a lot of my free time spearfishing, which I try and squeeze into my evenings during the summer around Wellington. It’s a great sport that takes you away from screens and phone calls for hours at a time – perfect for unwinding.
In the winter though, I settle for walking my Springer Spaniel, Archie.
Who inspires you?
“My Grandad – a cliché answer for a cliché question I guess.
“He sailed over to New Zealand from the UK as a teenager, and had two pounds to his name by the time the ship docked in Christchurch. He was instructed to spend those two pounds on blankets and then go and find a job - a prospect which didn’t faze him (so he says).
“From there he worked bloody hard on farms, met my Nana, and eventually the two of them bought their own station. His story doesn’t inspire me to sail to the UK and buy a farm, but it does inspire a work ethic that I try to live up to. Otherwise, it’s often my mortgage that inspires me to get up in the morning.”