LawTalk spoke to Inna Zadorozhnaya, Community Lawyer with Community Law Wellington & Hutt Valley. Here are her answers to our questions.
Why did you choose a career in law: what attracted you to the law?
I have always had an interest in justice and the law, but it took me a while to pursue it as a career. As a child I moved with my family from Russia to Germany. Then shortly after the wall came down, we relocated to New Zealand. I went to university and obtained a BA (Hons) in German. I then travelled back to Germany and spent some time in Berlin and Hamburg. Upon my return to New Zealand I decided to pursue a career in law. Being from an immigrant family, I had witnessed my parents deal with legal bureaucracy and I wanted to be able to use the law to make a difference in people’s lives.
What do you like most about working in the law?
I like the client interaction and being able to use the law to help people who find themselves in difficult situations. I also enjoy being able to share my knowledge of the law with other groups who also seek to assist others.
What has your career encompassed?
I had a number of contract roles at the New Zealand Transport Agency, the New Zealand Treasury and a major insurance and wealth management company. While studying law, I became a volunteer at the local community law centre. Once I had finished my studies, I was hired by Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley as one of their community lawyers. At Community Law, I look after the Refugee and Immigration Legal Advice Service. My main portfolio is working with former refugees with family reunification. I also supervise a team of volunteer lawyers who assist with the case management.
What are the highlights of your career to date?
My clients. There is always varied and interesting work, and the very real opportunity to make a real difference in people’s lives.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I enjoy spending time outdoors, walking and cycling, and skiing in the winter. I enjoy practising yoga. I have an ever growing collection of cookbooks, and I also have a passion for animal welfare. My next pursuit is to improve my skill in playing golf.
How do you see the future of law: what are the biggest challenges the profession faces?
I think the biggest challenge is to stay current and accessible. Breaking barriers between the public and the legal profession, to educate and empower the public about the law.