J. Reuben Clark Law Society

Lighting the Path for Future Lawyers: Asia Pacific
Area Conference Focuses on Mentoring

The eleventh annual Asia Pacific conference of the Law Society was held in Hamilton, New Zealand in the first weekend of June, at the University of Waikato’s new law school building. The event was organized by the Hamilton, New Zealand Chapter and the Waikato University Student Chapter of the Law Society. With approximately 80 attendees from New Zealand, Australia, the United States, and Canada, the focus of the conference was on professional mentoring. By all accounts, it was a tremendous success.

Dr. Robert Joseph

After a welcome to the conference on Friday by Dr. Robert Joseph, a senior faculty member at the University of Waikato, the interaction between practicing lawyers and students began. The first ice breaker was a take on a popular game show in which competing teams answer trivia questions. The lawyers eked out a narrow victory. The next activity was akin to “speed dating,” in which each student had five minutes to ask an individual lawyer for advice before rotating to the next attorney. This was a superb opportunity for students to receive guidance and to develop professional relationships.
On Saturday, Hamilton Chapter Chair Tom Sutcliffe led a panel discussion with Mylene Rakena, an academic advisor to Maori Students; Dr. Robert Joseph; Josh Shaw, partner at WynnWilliams; and Joseph Shaw.  Topics included mentoring, tackling life changes, and careers in academia. The panel discussion was followed by addresses from Judge Jonathan Down on ethics, and Jared Ormsby, LDS Stake President of the Christchurch Stake, on finding life balance. President Ormsby spoke from experience since he has balanced the demands of his stewardship as Stake President during devastating earthquakes with his professional responsibilities as a lawyer.
The conference dinner was hosted by a local law firm, Norris Ward McKinnon, at their well-appointed, spacious office. The conference ended with a devotional at the New Zealand Temple Visitors Centre, where Professor Keith Thompson gave an insightful presentation on faith.
Though still in it’s infancy, the Law Society has gained

Jared Ormsby

significant momentum in New Zealand. There are chapters in Hamilton and Auckland, with a third opening in Christchurch where the next New Zealand based Asia Pacific conference will be held in June, 2018. One of the Law Society’s priorities in New Zealand is to continue mentoring students and new practitioners with their legal careers. To that end, a mentoring program was started after the conference so that law students could receive guidance from practicing attorneys during law school. It was abundantly clear that the mentees who attended the conference are of high quality, and so there is no doubt that the future of the Law Society in this part of the world is in good hands.
Following the conference, two student chapter members and conference attendees, third year law students Zachary Katene and Jarom Murphy, represented the University of Waikato Law School in the Australian Law Students Negotiation competition in Hobart, Australia. They competed against 28 other law schools, and won the highest award.
By: Thomas Sutcliffe, Chair of the Law Society’s Hamilton Chapter, and Julie Smith, Media Committee

Posted: July 29, 2016