Auckland Young Lawyer & Student Buddy evening

In what has become a highly successful event, ADLS recently hosted University of Auckland law students for its third annual Young Lawyer and Student Buddy Evening.

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Following discussions with law students, ADLS appreciates that many law students may not have any formal links to the profession prior to becoming lawyers themselves.

It means that students are somewhat left in the dark without a sounding board for what could be perceived as a “dumb question” (although we emphasise that there are no such things as dumb questions!), and may not have many networking opportunities.

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The lawyer-buddy, as an impartial outsider, is in a great position to be able to answer all of the student’s questions and give insight from their own recent experiences.

The aim of the recent Auckland evening was to match law students (in their fourth and fifth years) with junior members of the profession (with up to five years’ PQE) who practise in similar areas of interest to the students. It was a great opportunity for lawyers and students to meet over a glass of wine, network and discuss all the questions students had about becoming “Newly Suited”.

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The matched pairs then commit to catching up on a regular basis (preferably monthly or bi-monthly), but how the relationship unfolds is entirely up to the lawyer and student. They can figure out what works well for them, which can be as simple as having coffee, or visiting the lawyer’s firm to see a real law firm in action.

On the night, Smith & Partners Associate and Convenor of ADLS’ Newly Suited Committee, Ellen Harbidge, emphasised the links between ADLS and the Auckland University Law Students’ Society (AULSS). These include the ADLS work experience noticeboard, which matches law students with paid and unpaid work opportunities.

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As well as the Auckland Young Lawyer & Student Buddy programme, ADLS partners with the University of Canterbury Law Students’ Society (LAWSOC) and the Waikato University Law Students’ Association (WULSA) to run Buddy programmes in those centres, with these initiatives also proving extremely popular. Additionally, ADLS maintains a presence within universities around the country with other student-focussed initiatives, including free sausage sizzles. Students always appreciate free food!

The newly-elected president of AULSS, Ella Stolwerk, also addressed the students. She noted the importance of ADLS’ advocacy function in relation to submissions for law reform and to Select Committees, as well as providing CPD and events (particularly for young lawyers).

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Ms Stolwerk encouraged all students to become student members of ADLS, something which ADLS offers at no cost so as to encourage students to join.

The event was well-attended and was a great success. The emphasis now is on the young lawyer and student buddies making sure that they maintain a meaningful and helpful connection.

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ADLS encourages all law firms to support their junior colleagues who are participating in the buddy programme, to ensure that it remains a success.

ADLS’ Newly Suited Committee would like to thank MAS for its continued and generous sponsorship of ADLS Newly Suited events. The Committee would also like to recognise the hard work of the ADLS team to make the events run seamlessly.

We look forward to holding many more Newly Suited events, and other young lawyer events around the country, throughout 2018.

Our last Auckland Newly Suited event for the year will be a continuation of our series of Happy Hour nights at Everybody’s Bar on Thursday 9 November 2017. Please RSVP to events@adls.org.nz if you have not done so already.

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