Criminal Defence Lawyer, Public Defence Service Manukau
Master of Laws
Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours)
What she loves most about being a criminal defence lawyer is being able to make a difference to her clients’ lives, says law alumna Averil McIntyre who now works for the Public Defence Service Manukau as an intermediate lawyer and acting team manager.
“As a criminal defence lawyer, I’m acting for legally aided clients charged with a crime. My role includes reviewing the evidence, researching and preparing submissions, advising my clients and representing them in court. Court appearances can include bail applications, sentencing, trials etc.
“I’m especially proud of cases where I’ve really made a difference to a client’s life such as by obtaining a discharge without conviction at sentencing so that they won’t be negatively affected by the stigma of a conviction for the rest of their life.”
For Averil, the clients are the most rewarding part of her work.
“I love talking to my clients and advocating for them. They’re often vulnerable and going through an extremely difficult time in their life. I feel very privileged to be able to assist them. I’m proud of the way I treat my clients and the representation I provide for them. I know that the process and the client’s experience can often be more important to them than the outcome itself.”
The right university environment
She has always wanted to help others, says Averil who graduated from AUT with a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) in 2019, followed by a Master of Laws in 2020.
“I initially wanted to be a vet and help animals, but abandoned that idea upon realising I wouldn’t be able to morally accept the treatment of animals required both during the degree and in practice. Therefore, getting a law degree seemed the next best way to help animals, and humans too of course.”
There were plenty of highlights throughout her time studying at AUT.
“I liked the culture at AUT, as it was more supportive and there were fewer harmful competitive attitudes. I was grateful to learn from some of the best lecturers, such as Professor Warren Brookbanks, who literally wrote the textbook on criminal law. His empathetic approach was also inspiring for the way I wanted to practise.
“I loved the opportunities the Mooting Club offered, including being able to travel to Australia twice for the animal law moot as well as to Dunedin for the family law moot. It was exciting to connect with other similar students, and I learned a lot."
Advice for other students
Averil, who received a number of top student awards throughout her studies, has some great advice for other students dreaming of a career in law.
“My advice is to always give back to the community. Being a lawyer is about service and you can start while you’re in law school by volunteering for charities like Youthlaw, which offers free legal advice to children and young people throughout New Zealand.”
Make your own part-time work opportunities while studying, she adds.
“Don’t just wait for a job advert to come up. I emailed almost every criminal defence lawyer in Auckland when I was studying to get work experience. That was how I got my start in this industry.”