News Item

June 2011

2011 Ethel Benjamin Scholars choose Harvard

There are three Ethel Benjamin scholarship winners for 2011. The three recipients of this New Zealand Law Foundation award are Charlotte Leslie, Anna Crowe and Natalie Coates and all three intend to study for an LLM at Harvard University.

Charlotte Leslie graduated from Auckland University in 2007 with an LLB (Hons) and a Bachelor of Health Sciences.
After spending two years as a judge’s clerk at the High Court, Auckland, she joined the medico-legal and public liability team at Meredith Connell in January 2009.

During her time with the firm, Charlotte conducted health-related prosecutions on behalf of government agencies as well as civil litigation. She also became involved in some complex and high profile criminal prosecutions, including a police shooting of a bystander.  In late 2010, left the firm for the United States.   Her LLM will focus on the relationship between public health (the study and practice of improving population health outcomes) and public law (the study of government and its relationship with citizens).

A Wellingtonian, Anna Crowe graduated from Auckland University in 2009 with an LLB (Hons) and a BA in history.
From February 2009 until this year, she has been employed as a clerk to the Chief Justice. Since January 2011 she has been an assistant Crown Counsel with the constitutional group at the Crown Law Office.

In 2008, Anna and the Auckland University team reached the quarter finals of the Philip C Jessup moot, one of the best ever results for a New Zealand university.  In 2007, she was senior editor for the Auckland University Law Review and is current secretary of the Wellington Women Lawyers Association.

Anna will use the scholarship towards her LLM, which aims to develop her capacity to contribute to public discourse in a range of areas, specifically in relation to women’s rights and New Zealand’s constitutional future.  Anna proposes to undertake a research paper on global administrative law, focusing on producing a feminist critique on aspects of this new field.

Natalie Coates became the first person to graduate from Otago University with first class honours degrees in both Maori and Law when she graduated in 2009.  In 2010 she won the Bill Sewell Prize in Legislation for the best paper written on an issue pertaining to legislation.  She was the top mooter at Otago University/University of the South Pacific moot in 2008.

Since February 2011, Natalie has been a law clerk at Aurere Law in Rotorua and from November 2010 until now she has been a research assistant at Victoria University. From July to December last year, she was a voluntary intern at Survival, an international NGO based in London that helps tribal people defend their lives, protect their land and determine their own future.

Natalie will use the scholarship towards an LLM, specialising in human rights and indigenous law and policy from socio-legal, philosophical, theoretical and practical perspectives.  Programmes of this nature and specialisation are simply not yet available in New Zealand, she says.

The Law Foundation established the Ethel Benjamin scholarship to commemorate New Zealand’s first woman lawyer.  It is awarded each year to outstanding women scholars to support post-graduate research in law that encompasses the foundation’s wider objectives, in particular research that will protect and promote the interests of the public in relation to legal matters in New Zealand. Most years, two scholarships are awarded.

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