Landing in the law

by NZ Lawyer12 Sep 2016
Five minutes with Rachel Boyte, litigation and local government solicitor at Cooney Lees Morgan.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I fell into it – started out at university doing business and languages, and did LAWS101 as I thought a basic understanding of law would be helpful.  Turned out I loved it and quickly decided to carry on with that instead.

How long have you worked at Cooney Lees Morgan and what brought you to this position?
Three years – I was working up in Auckland and travelling down to Tauranga every other weekend (long distance relationship) and decided I’d had enough of the horrific Friday evening and Monday morning Auckland motorway traffic.  Luckily for me my colleague got pregnant with her second child just as I started looking so I picked up a maternity contract that turned into a permanent role. 

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
Nothing “strange” per se, but often a bit different from your run of the mill law – shipwrecks, portable toilets, lots of interesting cultural issues, odd claims against councils, for example one was for “millions of gold bullions”.

If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Michelle Obama, Adele,  Robin Williams – all people I would love to meet and I think they’d get along great (key for a successful evening).   Michelle should be President (I’ve been watching too much House of Cards); I’d pay a small fortune to see Adele perform; and I still can’t believe that Robin passed away – absolute genius and Mrs Doubtfire was a childhood favourite.

You’re based in Tauranga – where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work?
Head straight to the Mount, and start with a drink at Flour & Water then cross the road to Post Bank for dinner (book – its still a novelty in Tauranga to have to, but its certainly getting that way!)

What’s the best piece of advice (work or personal) you’ve ever been given?
Take on board all the recommendations and advice others give you but don’t strive to be just like them – mould that advice to fit in a way that suits who you are. If you are not being yourself something will never seem quite right, including to others (paraphrased from one of the amazing faculty at the NZLS Litigation Skills course this year)
 
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I like mountain biking in Rotorua but don’t do it enough. Love travelling – spent last Christmas island hopping in the Philippines.  I also love languages – am in my second year of Te Reo Maori at the Wananga currently.

Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Working in foreign affairs – was my dream job (but life got in the way!)

What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2016?
In my field it is the rapidly growing population and infrastructure / housing needs versus environmental protection – really tough issues.  More widely I think it is law constantly having to keep up with technology – things like drones – privacy and risks to planes/helicopters, and cyber-bullying. 

If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
Introduce urgent measures to cool the housing market (demand side) – seriously  -something needs to be done about it and in my view the type of RMA “fixes” the Government is looking at will achieve very little.

What do you love about your job?
That every day is different and that I usually get to work on “real” stuff – its tangible and you can see it – buildings, treatment plants, the MV Rena (if I could dive…).  I also get to work with great clients. 

What would you change about your job right now if you could?
More travel and outside time – less time spent at a desk!

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