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Law a global pursuit for new lecturer

Thursday 23 June 2022 4:33pm


From suburban Madrid to near its southern antipode, Aotearoa, new Faculty of Law lecturer Lucas Clover Alcolea says studying and working in the law has had many unexpected benefits - including global travel.

Lucas gained his undergraduate law degree from the University of Aberdeen in 2010 and then went on to work as a paralegal at an international law firm in Edinburgh. In 2011, while studying his LLM at Edinburgh University, he worked at the Judicial Institute for Scotland, the body responsible for training judges in Scotland.

He gained his Doctorate in Civil Law (DCL) at McGill University in the field of arbitration and trusts in 2020. While studying, Lucas completed internships with law firms in Zurich, Geneva and Paris in the areas of private client law as well as international arbitration. Lucas has also worked as a research assistant for several professors writing a report on remedies available to foreign investors in English law, conducted research on the intersection between human rights and investment law, and also researched possible options for reform of the WTO's Appellate Body.

His thesis was recently published by Edward Elgar. From August 2021 to May 2022 he was a postdoctoral associate at the Scheinman Institute in the ILR School at Cornell University.

Lucas says finding employment in New Zealand fits with many career and travel goals.

“I was born in a suburb of Madrid but raised in London, probably explaining my endless need to travel. In my spare time I enjoy travelling, hiking (or tramping as I’m told it’s called in NZ), and trying (and failing) to learn various languages. I speak English, Spanish (although not perfectly) and am learning French. I am also hoping to complete the Camino de Santiago, although it will be the longest hike and pilgrimage I’ve ever undertaken so I’m making no promises.”

His research has focused on the complex policy and legal issues posed by the meteoric rise of private justice in recent decades, and the challenges this poses to default state-based systems of public justice.

“I am a contrarian by nature and therefore enjoy challenging orthodoxy in various fields of law, usually on the basis that this orthodoxy fails to take account of the lessons of the past or is otherwise built on foundations of sand. I am currently working on a paper analyzing the Trusts Act 2019 and its potential unintentional adoption of contractarian trust law theory.”

He describes getting a new job mid-pandemic as “more than a little challenging,” but should be co-teaching a paper in-person on trusts from August and part of the Property paper next year. He hopes to develop a paper on arbitration, including the ever-controversial issue of investment arbitration because “its growth as an alternative to litigation is seemingly unstoppable in almost every area of the law.”

“On a more personal note, I intend to try and complete a few of the great walks (hopefully without getting stuck up a mountain), learn to drive (being a city boy I’ve always relied on public transport but my time in the US taught me driving can sometimes be a necessity and not a luxury) and settle into my new home.”