Young lawyers set the bar high

By Anna Wallis

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FINAL STEP: Admitted to the bar on Thursday were Petra Allan, left, Nicole Slight, Caroline McHardy, Nick Robertson. and Sophie Nevill (front). PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
FINAL STEP: Admitted to the bar on Thursday were Petra Allan, left, Nicole Slight, Caroline McHardy, Nick Robertson. and Sophie Nevill (front). PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

Five lawyers were admitted to the bar in Whanganui on Thursday, four with strong links to the region.

The ceremony at the High Court saw Nick Robertson, Petra Allen, Sophie Nevill, Nicole Slight and Caroline McHardy admitted before family, friends, colleagues and Justice Collins who officiated.

Nicole Slight went to Whanganui High School and studied law at Victoria University. She spent the last year of her degree, 2013, at Tilburg University in the Netherlands.

"I am interested in the international policy side of things and and my mother's family is Dutch."

Nicole is working in the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet in Wellington. She is interested in public international law.

She chose law because she "really enjoyed" history and English at secondary school and teachers suggested she try law.

The law degree also meant she could study a number of other subjects in her first year.

She is not sure when she will return to law: "I am very happy where I am. And policy is a lot about law."

Petra Allen says she feels privileged to be able to help people understand the law.

The Victoria University graduate is working at Treadwell Gordon in Whanganui. She gets considerable enjoyment from explaining to people what they are signing or going through.

"I am very lucky to have the skills to get a law degree. I really want to help people and give back."

She is the first in her family to study law.

Petra, who went to Whanganui High School, was proud to be admitted to the bar in Whanganui, her home town.

"We all felt really lucky. We had one on one time with the judge and were able to talk to him. He spoke to each of us by name. It meant a lot."

Her first aim in her first job is to be a "good all-round practice lawyer."

After that she may know where she should specialise.

Caroline McHardy of Gisborne said her mum is a probation officer and she heard "good stories from court" growing up so the law had its attractions.

She comes from a farming background and wants to work in the industry.

"I didn't want to be a shepherd or a farmer so law meant I could still be part of it."

Caroline did a dual law/accounting degree so her future lies with commercial law.

Employed by Cooper Rapley in Palmerston North she is a Victoria University graduate.

"It's cool all of us are working in the provinces, rather than big city practices."

Nick Robertson is following in his father's footsteps. Also a Victoria University graduate, he has joined Armstrong Barton.

"My dad practices in Whanganui so he was my inspiration."

Born and raised in Whanganui, Nick went to St Johns, St George's and Whanganui High schools.

He has not yet decided which area of the law is best for him.

Sophie Nevill also has a strong family background in the law - her mum Fenella Devlin was a lawyer in Whanganui for 14 years and two of her aunties are lawyers.

"That was a drawcard."

Sophie graduated from the University of Canterbury this year and is working at Bullock and Associates. Again the links are strong; her mother and one of her aunts worked at the firm when it wads Jack Riddet Tripe.

Sophie is from Marton and went to St George's and Nga Tawa schools. Career wise, she is "trying everything" at the moment.

"I'm doing property and family matters now."

All lawyers in New Zealand in order to practice after obtaining a law degree undergo further training to be admitted to the High Court. This procedure is called admission to the bar.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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