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2014 Law Foundation Ethel Benjamin Scholarship has Three Recipients

Three young lawyers – Lani Inverarity, Elizabeth Chan and Zoe Fuhr – are the winners of this year’s New Zealand Law Foundation Ethel Benjamin Scholarship.


Lani Inverarity plans to study towards an LLM at Yale University. Her two areas of intended specialisation will be intelligence law reform and the rights of citizens versus non-citizens.

Lani graduated from Victoria University with an LLB (Hons) and a BA in Political Science and International Relations, and was admitted in 2010. She was a judge’s clerk for Justice Joseph Williams for two years, and then moved to Crown Law where she is presently an Assistant Crown Counsel in the constitutional and human rights team.

Lani’s professional goal is to contribute to a more informed, balanced debate on national security, intelligence and immigration issues both within New Zealand and internationally. Following post-graduate study she intends to take up professional roles involving national security and immigration law. In particular, she intends to seek employment as a legal adviser with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade or the New Zealand intelligence community, or both.

Elizabeth Chan plans to study towards an LLM at Yale Law School, where she will specialise in international commercial arbitration. She says her study is driven by her desire to understand the implications of investor-state arbitration for New Zealand’s economic future. Her dissertation will be on how international investment law should balance the rights of investors against the sovereignty of states to make laws in the public interest.

Elizabeth was one of three finalists in the Young New Zealander of the Year in 2012. She graduated from Auckland University in 2012 with an LLB (Hons) and a BA in Law, Political Science and French, and was admitted in 2013.

Elizabeth has been a judge’s clerk to Sir Peter Blanchard, Sir Robert Chambers and Justice Terrence Arnold in the Supreme Court since 2012. Her ultimate aim is to join the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a trade negotiator, developing expertise in negotiating the investment arbitration chapters of free trade agreements and investment treaties.

Zoe Fuhr plans to study towards an LLM at New York University. Her thesis will be Guilt in the 21st Century: Rethinking criminal culpability. She says she wants to explore critically the concept of criminal culpability and whether it relies on an outdated etiology of criminal behaviour. Her goal is to produce research which has practical value in addressing issues of recidivism and incarceration.

Zoe was admitted in 2010, the same year she graduated from Auckland University with an LLB (Hons) and a BA in Political Science and English. In 2010 and 2011 she was a judge’s clerk in Auckland, to Judge Abbot, Justices Harrison, Cooper, Woolford, Allan and Winkelmann. In 2012 and 2013 she was a litigation associate at Gilbert Walker in Auckland.

Zoe hopes to use her study and research to equip her to make a significant, creative contribution to criminal law scholarship and reform in New Zealand.


The Law Foundation established the Ethel Benjamin Scholarship in 1997 to mark the centenary of the admission of Ethel Benjamin as the first woman barrister and solicitor in New Zealand. Since the centenary, the Law Foundation has awarded this scholarship annually to outstanding New Zealand women law graduates for post-graduate study. The award is worth up to $50,000. Details of the award and previous winners can be found on the Foundation’s website.