Solicitor, Izard Weston, Wellington
Bachelor of Laws
Don’t let age put you off doing something new, says Josie McNaught who decided to study law after a successful career in journalism and raising her two children.
“I was a journalist for 20 years, specialising in arts and design, and working across print, television and radio. I was looking to activate another stage in my career, and law matched the skills I had already acquired. I wanted a new career that was challenging, suitable for a mature person, and that offered some flexibility and the opportunity at some stage to work for myself."
Law is hard, but in a good way, Josie says.
“Law is about people’s lives and livelihoods, so it has to take a few years to complete the degree, and you have to be serious and dedicated. I think I’m a better lawyer for having had some life experience and another career under my belt before I tackled the degree.
“If you love words, reading, writing, and teasing out intellectual problems and concepts, want to solve problems or advocate for people less fortunate, then law is definitely for you.”
A community of sharp minds
She had many highpoints throughout her study, says Josie who graduated in 2016.
“I liked studying again after nearly 25 years away from that environment. Winning the prize for the Criminal Procedure paper made me realise I hadn’t ‘lost it’ when it came to competing against other, younger brains. Seeing the look of pleasure and pride on the faces of my partner and children when I did well in an essay or exam was also a highlight for me.”
The people she studied with have since become her friends, the AUT law alumna says.
“I studied with some terrific people – both mature and young law students – who have become my close friends and who I regularly talk to about all sorts of things, including law, our first jobs, and winning (or losing) cases. I was surrounded by these sharp young minds and learned so much from them, and hopefully they learned something from me too.”
A passion for media law
Getting a job where she could specialise straight out of law school was brilliant, says Josie who is now a solicitor for Izard Weston Lawyers in Wellington.
“In this role, I’m working directly with the media and litigation partner. We work on all aspects of media law and across a range of areas in litigation. I write submissions, research, deal with clients, go to court – it’s fantastic and very hands on. Having my submissions quoted by judges in their judgments is a real blast.”
She also loves sharing her passion for the law with others.
“I was voted onto the Wellington Women Lawyer’s Association committee earlier this year. In August, I also started the first Law Society Media Law Committee.”