Dean Andrew Stockley, Auckland University's Dean of Law

Dean Andrew Stockley 104X125                  In this column we profile notable and interesting people involved in the profession, in order to find out a little more about what drives and fulfils them in their role.

What is it about your current role that impassions you, and gets you excited about your job?
We have a great law school, currently ranked among the top two dozen in the world. My job is to take something that is strong and to try to make it even better. I have made eight new hires in the last two years, including four in corporate and commercial law.

We have been reviewing our curriculum, working towards a more comprehensive legal writing programme, and building on alumni and law firm support to establish more scholarships and increase opportunities for our students to go on overseas exchanges and to international competitions.

There’s lots to do and it is great to have a job where you interact with incredibly talented students and other academics on a daily basis.

What is the greatest challenge presented by your role?
Funding. We suffer from an environment where we are told how much we can charge, how many students we can accept, and where the funding per student has no correlation to the quality of the service we provide.

We face increased competition from better resourced overseas law schools. If we are going to remain a world class law school we need new buildings, to be able to make more strategic hires, and to be able to fund more student scholarships and small group teaching.

What is the achievement (personal or professional) that you are most proud of?
When I was at university I founded the New Zealand Schools Debating Championships – which have produced many lawyers over the years! The Championships are celebrating their 25th anniversary this year and it is immensely rewarding to see something you founded and led prove enduring. More recently I was pleased that in my last job I helped take my college at Oxford from 14th to 2nd in the academic league tables. It took quite a lot of work so it was good to see it pay off!

What prompted you to go into law?
I enjoyed debating at school (my parents would say arguing at home!) and so law seemed a natural progression. Once I started studying, it became clear what a powerful tool the law is and how it can be used to make a real difference for other people and the community.

What human quality do you admire most?
Reason. It is at the heart of the law but is also the basis of any community and what distinguishes us as human. Law is about learning to reason – and of the need to do so with empathy, compassion and the desire to do right.

What aspect of human nature do you dislike most?
The opposite: irrationality. It can take many forms – prejudice, bias, greed, selfishness, an unwillingness to look to the needs of your community or society as a whole.

What is your favourite legal or politically-themed movie of all time?

The Shawshank Redemption. It speaks to justice and redemption,while finding plenty of humour, being uplifting and timeless.

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