City attracts top-line legal talent
Palmerston North's newest prosecution lawyer has come a long way since being asked to leave school at 16, and she could be the first of a line of young lawyers to head through the city's Crown office.
In the High Court in Palmerston North yesterday, Nicky Wynne was admitted to the bar.
An honours graduate from the University of Canterbury's law school, she is one of two new lawyers set to join the Crown prosecution ranks in Palmerston North.
After being admitted by Justice Joe Williams, Wynne told the court about her journey to the bar.
She said school was not for her, and she was "politely asked" to leave when 16.
After a few years in the hospitality industry, she decided to "have a crack at the old LLB".
While studying, she also served on the New Zealand Law Students' Association executive as competitions vice-president.
Ban Vanderkolk, who holds the Crown solicitor's warrant for the Palmerston North region, said he worked with law schools to get Wynne and a law graduate from Otago to join his firm.
Changes to funding for Crown solicitors means they are bulk-funded rather than able to bill for each case.
While there is less cash around than before, Vanderkolk said it meant he was now able to employ "top-drawer young lawyers" out of law schools.
The career path through Crown offices may not be as long as before, but young talent now had the chance to go through the offices and gain experience in certain aspects of law sooner than in the past, he said.
"When these people leave here, which they inevitably will, they will be well ahead of their peers."
Vanderkolk said he would be working with law schools in the future to try to recruit more high-quality graduates.
It was also encouraging to have more young lawyers heading to the city, he said.
The second new Crown prosecutor, Michael Blaschke, will be admitted later this year.