Solicitor, Hudson Gavin Martin
Bachelor of Laws (First Class Honours)
Having come to law after a successful career in IT, Sam Ennor was surprised how challenging it can be to apply the law to new technology.
“During a torts lecture, I was stunned at how difficult it is to apply older laws – of which there are many – to new technology; partly because it takes the law a long time to catch up and partly because those applying the law are often baffled by the tech.
“For the case we were studying, our lecturer pointed out that the judge whose decision we were reading didn’t really understand the technology at the core of what he was ruling on. I realised that there was a niche for a law graduate with an IT background and set about finding out how to fill it.”
Sam, who graduated from AUT in August, has now fulfilled this goal and works at Hudson Gavin Martin, a boutique law firm specialising in technology, media and intellectual property law.
“I may not work in IT anymore, but I still love technology, so seeing what our clients – who are everything from global giants to tiny start-ups – are doing with their tech and helping them make the most of it is both fascinating and rewarding. I also get to work with senior lawyers who are genuinely the best at what they do, which is a real privilege.”
Modern and world-class
After starting his law studies at another university, Sam decided to move to AUT in the second year of his law degree.
“I was drawn to the AUT Law School because of its focus on practical teaching, the smaller class sizes, and because there wasn’t the inertia you get at the older law schools preventing them from trying new approaches.
“I stayed at AUT because of the quality of the academic staff, and I appreciated that there were far more mature students like me. It felt like those of us with a few extra years were an important part of AUT, rather than an aberration.”
He thoroughly enjoyed doing his Bachelor of Laws (Honours) dissertation, says Sam who had the second best overall academic record in his year, in addition to being on the dean’s list in both 2019 and 2020.
“It was great to be able to spend almost a year researching and writing about a topic that fascinated me; liability for damage caused by deep learning artificial intelligence. Throughout the year I had expert guidance from my supervisor, Dr Moshood Abdussalam, who was just as interested. Even outside of the dissertation I was able to explore topics that fascinated me, writing essays on things like ‘Can you own ‘property’ in a virtual world?’ and ‘If an AI ‘paints’ a picture, does it attract copyright?’.”
Advice for other students
Sam’s advice for other students is simple: get to know your law librarian.
“Your law librarian can help you find the best way around the databases, get software to track your research and do referencing, and find any info you could possibly want.
“During the course of my dissertation I discovered a recent publication with the exact information I needed, but there was no eBook and the closest copy was in a library in Melbourne. Within hours of talking to our law librarian, I had been emailed scans of the chapter I needed.”
The research skills he developed throughout his studies are essential for Sam’s career now.
“I use the research and writing skills I developed at AUT every day. AUT’s focus on not just what we studied but on how we did it means that if I don’t know the answer to something, I can find it very quickly and then communicate it to the team.”