The best of the best

08 June 2012

Prizes and Scholarships_2012

Winners of the Law School’s 2012 prizes and scholarships were last week honoured at its annual prize giving event.

In his congratulatory speech, the Dean of Law, Dr Andrew Stockley, said the students represented the best of the best at the Law School and that he was very proud to be celebrating their excellent academic achievements.

“Your awards are a result of some incredibly hard work and commitment to your studies - your efforts have paid off superbly,” he said.

Dean Stockley also acknowledged the fine accomplishments of the Law School students soon to embark on postgraduate studies at prominent universities abroad, some of whom were attending the prize giving event.

To the representatives of the firms and organisations who sponsor the Law School prizes and scholarships, Dean Stockley extended his thanks and appreciation, reiterating the importance to the University in being able to recognise and reward its top students.

The guest speaker of the event was Matthew Harris, a former top University of Auckland Law School student who is now a partner at Gilbert Walker.

Matthew received a number of academic awards during his time at Auckland Law School, including a Senior Prize in Law and won the Stout Shield advocacy competition. He also received a Fulbright Scholarship and an NYU Hauser Global Scholarship to take his LLM at New York University.

In his speech Matthew emphasised to the students the huge head start The University of Auckland Law School had provided for him and that he thought it would provide for them too.

“I am sure that the start you’ve been given at this Law School is excellent and that you’ll be very well set you up for whatever you choose to do next,” he said.

He urged the students to make sure they put their hands up for new opportunities even if they might seem difficult to obtain. He recalled advice from Law School Associate Professor, Scott Optican, when he was applying for Masters programmes overseas, to shoot for the top schools because “your name can’t be pulled out of a hat if it’s not in it. You need to go for it because if you don’t try you’ll never know”.

In talking about his time spent in New York, Washington DC and London in corporate law and litigation positions, he told the students “you’ll have a fantastic time and will enjoy experiences you’ll carry with you throughout your careers. To those of you who aren’t yet going overseas, I can assure you that no one who has these experiences ever regrets them”.

Wishing the prize and scholarship winners every great success for the future, Matthew added that he hoped some of the students would one day return to The University of Auckland to teach and research and that, whatever career path they take, they would continue to appreciate what a superb start they were given by the University.