Hard work pays off for law graduate

00:00, Nov 23 2012
Amanda Thomas, with her mother Sue Thomas after being admitted to The Bar at the Nelson Court House.

A former head girl of Waimea College has celebrated the culmination of years of hard work with the law, alongside the friend who has been with her since the beginning.

Amanda Thomas was admitted to the bar during a ceremony at the High Court in Nelson yesterday.

Ms Thomas was head girl at Waimea College in 2005, and then went on to graduate from the University of Canterbury in 2010 with a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Spanish and Political Science.

During her fourth year of study, she went on an exchange to the University of Castile-La Mancha in Spain, taking classes in Spanish history, Spanish language and translation, and developing a love of travelling, tapas and red wine.

She works as a policy analyst at the Ministry of Social Development, in the Child, Family and Community social policy team, and has worked on the White Paper for Vulnerable Children.

Standing alongside her during the ceremony was her long-time friend Beth McAuley, now an environmental lawyer based in Canterbury.


The two had gone to college together, and had then studied together at university.

They had helped each other in their studies, and had also adopted an attitude of "work hard, play hard", she said.

Ms Thomas said it was great to be able to celebrate the occasion, and that the day had been "a long time coming".

"It's the culmination of it really, it's like a graduation ceremony."

She had been attracted to law because it was such a versatile degree, she said.

Mother Sue Thomas said she was very proud of her daughter for her success.

Three of her four children had taken courses in legal studies, but Amanda was the only one to complete a degree, she said.

She joked that this was the 10th graduation ceremony for her children she had attended, but the first where she had not had to travel.

Two of her sisters - training surgeon Rebecca and maths teacher Louise - had also attended the ceremony.

Brother Matthew Thomas, a software interface designer in England, was unable to attend.

Justice Alan MacKenzie said the day was an important occasion for all concerned, not just for those at the bar, but for those at the bench.

The Nelson Mail