New Zealand Law Society - Our Profession, Our People

Our Profession, Our People

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Rex Mason prizewinners

The New Zealand Law Society Wellington branch has announced the 2011, 2012 and 2013 winners of New Zealand’s longest-established legal writing award, the Honourable Rex Mason Prize for Excellence in Legal Writing.

Wellington-based Family Court research counsel Zoe Lawton won the 2013 prize for her article “Non-Consensual Artificial Paternity”, which was published in the New Zealand Family Law Journal in June 2013.

Auckland lawyer Ed Willis won the 2012 prize for his article “On Regulatory Uncertainty”, published in the New Zealand Law Journal in August 2012.

Otago University senior law lecturer Jessica Palmer won the 2011 prize for her article “Controlling the Trust”, published in the 2011 Otago Law Review.

The prize, awarded for the best legal article published between 1 January and 31 December each year, was established in 1973 to commemorate Henry Greathead Rex Mason (1885-1975), one of New Zealand’s longest-serving MPs and a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.

Top legal exec graduates

Nicola McKenzie of Auckland is the top graduating student from the 2014 Legal Executive Diploma examinations.

Studying to be a legal executive marks a change of career for Ms McKenzie, who worked as a flight attendant until she left to have children.

With her children growing up, she decided to begin studying for the diploma at the Open Polytechnic, completing her studies over the last three years.

The award of top graduating student was the first she gained in her three years. Now a fully qualified legal executive, Ms McKenzie is very pleased with her choice of study. “I’ve always had a bit of an interest in the law,” she says. “I really enjoyed the diploma.”

Currently working as a teacher’s aide, she now plans to start looking for a position with a law practice.

The Legal Executive Diploma examinations are conducted by the New Zealand Law Society. The 2014 exams were held at 27 New Zealand venues as well as at 12 overseas venues in Australia, Malaysia, Japan, UK and Zimbabwe.

Each year the students who gained the highest mark nationally in each of the six subjects are awarded a $150 prize by the Law Society. The other winners (in two subjects there were joint winners) are:

  • Introduction to the Legal System: Catherine MacGregor, Open Polytechnic.
  • Introduction to Law Office Practice: Sandra Tipene, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic; and Lucy Castle, Open Polytechnic.
  • Property Law and Practice: Stephanie Waterhouse, Open Polytechnic.
  • Business Law and Practice: Simon Penketh, Open Polytechnic.
  • Estates Law and Practice: Carrie Jackson, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic; and Rebecca Snowden, Bay of Plenty Polytechnic.
  • Litigation Law and Practice: (Nancy) Lyn McCarthy, Open Polytechnic.

Creating effective partnerships

How do in-house counsel build successful working relationships with their internal business partners, external lawyers and each other?

The 2015 CLANZ conference explores the concepts of partnership and collaboration to create successful outcomes. “Mahi Tahi: Working Together” is the theme for this year’s conference which will be held in Paihia on 21 and 22 May. 2015 marks 175 years since the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi and the programme includes a welcome on to the Treaty Grounds to formally open the conference.

Speakers at the conference include:

  • Meredith Hellicar, former lawyer and chair of James Hardie Australia;
  • Dr Lance O’Sullivan, 2014 New Zealander of the Year;
  • Neal Suggs, associate general counsel and diversity leader, Microsoft;
  • Tim Cummins, International Association for Contract and Commercial Management;
  • Jill Toovey, director, Innovative Knowledge Development; and in-house lawyers from Spark, TVNZ, Telstra Australia and Crown Law.

CLANZ has worked with Air New Zealand to offer special travel packages for delegates to the Bay of Islands. To register, please visit

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