Nina Pinkerton-Bennett

Nina Pinkerton-Bennett

Law Clerk, Russell McVeagh
Bachelor of Laws (Honours) with First-Class Honours and Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution

Meeting likeminded people was one of the highlights of her time at AUT, says Nina Pinkerton-Bennett who studied a Bachelor of Laws (Honours) and a Bachelor of Arts in Conflict Resolution.

“I was grateful for being awarded an AUT Business and Law Scholarship, which made a huge difference. From there I was able to consider my interests; law, social justice issues and conflict resolution. The scholarship also made a great deal of difference to me personally – I had always been a bit apprehensive about studying law because I worried that I lacked the confidence to be a good law student. I decided to put myself out of my comfort zone and I’m so happy I made that choice.

“I really enjoyed meeting likeminded people, and I loved learning critical thinking skills and developing my areas of passion. I’m interested in many areas of the law, and I’m excited to have now started my career and feel very well equipped to do so. I would recommend studying at AUT to others because I very much enjoyed my time there. It has been fun, interesting, challenging and rewarding.”

After graduating from AUT in 2022 and receiving the AUT Law School’s award for the best honours dissertation, Nina secured a position as a law clerk in the litigation team at the Auckland office of Russell McVeagh.

Connecting students with business leaders
Nina says a key reason she chose to study at AUT was the great experience she had in AUT’s Shadow a Leader programme when she was in high school.

“I took part in Shadow a Leader as a high school student where I shadowed Foundation North’s Jennifer Gill. The experience had a huge influence on my decision to study at AUT. I knew that AUT had an excellent reputation for providing authentic learning experiences, and this opportunity brought this to life. It made me realise that AUT cares deeply about providing students with opportunities to gain experiences in workplace settings that are important to them. The AUT student I was paired with during the programme was lovely. She evidently loved studying at AUT, which influenced my decision even further.”

A few years later, Nina once again had the chance to participate in Shadow a Leader; this time as an AUT student herself, shadowing Dr Karanina Sumeo from the New Zealand Human Rights Commission.

“It was unforgettable and extraordinary! I gained a far better understanding of what I wanted to do in my future career. After speaking with a mediator at the Human Rights Commission, I’ve decided to become an accredited mediator at some stage in my career. I also made great connections. Everyone at the Human Rights Commission was so nice and helpful.

“Without a doubt I’d recommend the Shadow a Leader programme to other students. AUT does a fantastic job of pairing you with an organisation that is of interest and relevance to you. The experience is invaluable, and you gain a unique insight into how the organisation you’re partnered with functions.”

Advice for other students
Nina has some great advice for other students.

“Try to step out of your comfort zone – you’ll be surprised at what opportunities may arise. For example, I was encouraged by one of my incredible law lecturers to submit an essay to the Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association writing competition, and I won!”

Make the most of university life, she adds.

“Take part in extracurricular activities at university. I was a senior student ambassador, and I learned some great skills during my time as an ambassador and made friends with some lovely people.”