Five minutes with… Heather Jamieson

by NZ Lawyer16 Mar 2015
1. What made you decide to become a lawyer?
 I’ve wanted to be a lawyer for as long as I can remember. My great-grandfather was Judge Raymond Jamieson (Chief Judge of the Arbitration Court in the late 70s) and I also have several other family members who are lawyers, so I guess the profession’s in the blood somewhat. In addition, I spent nearly 10 years working in the criminal jurisdiction of the Gisborne District/High courts, so while I wasn’t a lawyer, I spent a lot of time in court. That’s what really solidified my aspiration of becoming a lawyer. And of course, like many other lawyers I suspect, I love a good argument!
2. How long have you worked at McLaw Lewis for and what brought you to this position? How long have you been involved with the Maori Law Society and what is your role there?
I’ve been with McCaw Lewis since March 2014. I started out as a Law Clerk/Administration Assistant, primarily assisting with the Rangitāne settlement claim and organisation of the 2014 annual conference for the Māori Law Society. I have been a solicitor since September 2014 and now also work on several Waitangi Tribunal inquiries.
I have been involved with the Māori Law Society for several years, both as a student and practitioner. I currently wear two hats within that organisation; I am the Waikato Representative on the Executive Committee and the Event Manager for the 2015 annual conference being held in Waitangi.
3. What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?

As a relatively new lawyer, I don’t have a repertoire of weird and wonderful cases to draw on as yet, but during my years working at the court, I think that I may have just about heard it all – there was never a dull moment!
 4. If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
1. Bob Marley, because I find him intriguing and charismatic. I’d be really interested to hear about his music, his philosophies and his views on the world in 2015;
2. Robin Williams, because he was a seriously funny, funny guy and I love to laugh; and
3. I’d also invite John Key (after I’d done his job for a day) so he could tell me what he thought about some of the decisions I made, and of course, I’d take the opportunity to share a few of my thoughts with him.
5. Where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work in Hamilton?
My place! I have three children so as much as I love the idea of going out for dinner and drinks after work, I don’t do it often. I’d really like to give Mexico (and their sangria) a whirl though.
6. What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
Treat people the way you want to be treated – I don’t always get it right, but I try.
7. Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work?
I love the beach and would go home to Gisborne every weekend if I could! I also love thinking about exercise and how good I’d feel if I did more.
8. Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
A forensic scientist – without a shadow of a doubt.
9. What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2015?
10. If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do?
Probably make a lot of decisions that would just get overturned the next day!
11. What do you love about your job?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata – at the risk of sounding too cliché, it has to be the people.
12. What would you change about your job right now if you could?
I’d include an element of criminal law – I think that New Zealand desperately needs more Maori lawyers practising in that field and it’s always been something I’ve wanted to do.