Black gowns and white wigs filled Whanganui District Court on Wednesday when two law clerks were admitted to the bar as barristers and solicitors.

Ryan Benic and Phillipa Childs were sworn in by Justice Timothy Brewer in front of friends, family and colleagues.

Justice Brewer said that it is now common to refer to anyone who has a full time job as a professional, but he does not use the term in that way.

"As a lawyer, you profess the rule of law, you are bound by your oath and by the rules of professional conduct," Justice Brewer said.


"Miss Childs, Mr Benic, as barristers and solicitors, you are now part of the profession of law."

Justice Brewer paid tribute to those watching on in the public gallery.

"Achieving a law degree and professional qualifications is not a stroll in the park. It requires application and hard work.

"I'm sure that sitting in the public gallery of this court room are people who have supported you and to whom you owe a debt of gratitude."

Benic grew up in Whanganui before studying at the University of Otago for five years and then heading for New York where he worked as a bartender.

"It took a lot of work to get here, over many years, including some in which I didn't know if I'd keep doing this," Benic said.

"But so far since going professional, this has been everything I could have possibly imagined."

Benic jokes that he became interested in law because he didn't want to do medicine, but really, he enjoys looking at cases impartially and trying to divorce feelings on them.


He will receive his practise certificate in about a week and will then get to work for Wilkinson Smith Lawyers.

"I had all my family here today, the entire firm showed up which was fantastic because I'm going into criminal litigation and I will be around here a lot," Benic said.

"It's nice to finally be on the other side of the glass."