Solicitor, McKenna King Limited, Hamilton
Master of Laws
Being able to learn from some of the country’s best law academics was a highlight of his time at AUT, says Alex Greaves who came to AUT to complete a Master of Laws specialising in criminal law.
“What I loved most about studying at AUT was being able to participate in discussions with some of New Zealand’s greatest legal academics in the criminal law sphere. I also appreciated that my study schedule was flexible and I could fit my degree around my full-time work.”
His interest in criminal law was what attracted him to the AUT Law School.
“I chose the Master of Laws because I wanted to expand my research skills and look deeper into the severe overrepresentation of Māori in the criminal justice system to inform my legal practice. I chose AUT as it had the widest range of criminal law courses for the Master of Laws, the academic staff included some of the leading criminal law academics, and because AUT is known for looking out for student welfare.”
A rewarding career
As a solicitor for McKenna King in Hamilton, Alex loves making a positive difference.
“I’m mostly involved in criminal defence work, with some general civil litigation. I’m responsible for interviewing clients, providing advice and representing them in court. I enjoy that I get to make a discernible difference to my clients’ lives, particularly those who are underprivileged in society. Although it is hard work, it is truly rewarding.”
There are a number of achievements he is particularly proud of in this career so far, says Alex who worked as a court registry officer, a probation officer and a junior lawyer for the Public Defence Service before joining McKenna King in early 2021.
“One of the achievements I’m especially proud of is being able to keep more Māori out of prison and with their whānau. Another achievement for me was being invited to assist with the judging of the AUT criminal law moot.”
Advice for other students
Alex has some great advice for other students thinking about a career in law.
“Don’t be afraid to think outside the square; both at university and your mahi. If you’re wanting to be a lawyer, particularly in the criminal space, don’t discount other mahi such as the registry to get some background experience that’s still relevant. Set your goals high and chase them but don’t be too worried about the path that takes you there.”
His other piece of advice is simple: network a lot.
“Quite often the first step to a successful career is to just network and shadow an experienced practitioner. My advice is to network a lot and try to get involved in organisations such as Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa, the Pacific Lawyers’ Association or one of the other many law associations.”