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Monday 12 December 2022 2:10pm

A new Law Dean's Innovation Fund, set to support and improve student experience, will be launched at the 150th anniversary of Otago's Faculty of Law next year.

The initiative will enable the Dean of New Zealand's oldest law school to support relevant and emerging priorities for students. These include funding for students experiencing hardship, scholarships for students from diverse backgrounds, and support for student-focused initiatives including travel grants for students to attend national and international competitions.

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Professor Shelley Griffiths.

Dean of Law Professor Shelley Griffiths says April's anniversary is the perfect time to launch the fund as the event is an opportunity to celebrate friendships and achievements, but also help shape the future of the legal profession.

“A key part of Otago's education is a highly personalised learning experience, defined by the one-to-one contact students have with Law faculty at all levels of the educational process.

“Empowering leadership with the ability to fund ongoing and sometimes evolving needs allows the Faculty of Law to maintain momentum of support for the student experience,” she says.

Two Dunedin law firms with long University histories, Anderson Lloyd and Gallaway Cook Allan, have contributed generous donations to launch the fund, as well as sponsoring anniversary conference sessions and celebrations, to be held in April 2023.

Professor Griffiths is grateful for their support and hopes other alumni will follow suit to help strengthen the faculty's ability to enhance the Otago experience for future generations.

Frazer Barton image
Frazer Barton.

Anderson Lloyd Partner and President of the New Zealand Law Society, Frazer Barton says the firm's contribution to establishing the Law Dean's Innovation Fund is in line with its values and goals.

“It's really important that this profession reflects the society we live in, that it is not elitist. We're in a privileged role, we're looked up to by society but there are certain expectations we have to live up to. We need to reflect society, so we need to support that diversity in all meanings of the word.”

Gallaway Cook Allan Partner Diccon Sim believes the aims of the Law Dean's Innovation Fund reflects the personalized approach the faculty takes to teaching and the opportunities it creates for students.

“It is vitally important there is equity in the rolling out of those opportunities. For the Dean to have a fund that they can identify and quietly support people who may not otherwise be able to take up the opportunities on offer is very important at this point of the Faculty's history and the University's history.

Diccon Sim image
Diccon Sim.

“The future of law looks a little different from what it's been historically and the kind of people that have historically been drawn to law are not necessarily the people who are going to best serve the legal needs of New Zealand in the next 150 years,” he says.

Other highlights of the 150th anniversary celebrations include keynote speaker Professor Jeremy Waldron from New York University School of Law; a session on tikanga Māori and the future of the legal system; Sir Ron Young and Kerryn Beaton KC sharing career experiences; a session by Justices Christine French and Forrie Miller about appearing before the Privy Council and the impact of the new Supreme Court; as well as social events including a cocktail function sponsored by Gallaway Cook Allan, gala dinner sponsored by Anderson Lloyd, and a lunch sponsored by McMillan & Co, Lawyers.

The anniversary will also host the 30-year reunion of Te Roopū Whai Pūtake, Otago's Māori law students' association, sponsored by Niche Recruitment; a lunch for students of Professor Frank Guest, who died in 1967; and a 50 Years On function for those who graduated in the early to mid-1970s.

Special guests will be Dame Silvia Cartwright, the former Governor-General, and Chief Judge Wilson Isaac of the Waitangi Tribunal and Māori Land Court.

Professor Griffiths and the organising group are looking forward to celebrating such a significant milestone with so many eminent speakers and alumni.

Event details

Otago Law Faculty 150th Anniversary Conference and Reunion

Friday, 14 April to Saturday, 15 April, with some additional elements on Thursday, 13 April.

For a full programme and to register, visit the event website:

Otago Law Faculty 150th Anniversary Conference and Reunion

For more information, contact:

Ellie Rowley
Communications Adviser
University of Otago
Mob +64 21 278 8200

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