Sam McMullan is the 2013 winner of the Cleary Memorial Prize, announced at the Law Foundation Annual Awards dinner at Parliament’s Grant Hall on 4 December 2013.
Mr McMullan graduated from Victoria University in 2010 with an LLB with first class honours and a BA (in Asian Studies and Japanese) and is currently studying towards an LLM at New York University.
He has worked part-time for the Law Commission and has clerked for Justices Wild and Dobson and Associate Justice Gendall.
His volunteer contribution has included significant work with ambulance services. After volunteering with St John Ambulance for around 12 months, he was a volunteer paramedic with Wellington Free Ambulance for more than two years. While in Auckland, Mr McMullan volunteered for Land Search and Rescue.
His mentoring at university has included working in the Manaaki Pihipihinga Te Putahi Atawhai programme and within the community at the Wellington Boys’ and Girls’ Institute, working with young men aged 14-21 who had had early contact with the criminal justice system. From there he became involved in Just Speak, a non-partisan network of young people speaking to, and speaking up for a new generation of thinkers who want change in our criminal justice system.
While at university, he was student editor for Victoria University’s Journal of Public and International Law, Head Tutor for Torts, and for the Legal Research, Writing and Mooting course. He was a student volunteer at the Wellington Community Law Centre and in 2009 was elected Education Vice-President of the Victoria University of Wellington Law Students’ Association. During this time Sam started, and ran, a seminar series for students. This involved getting lawyers in the community to speak about topics that were of interest to the student body, such as Helen Cull QC speaking about the defence of David Bain. Sam was also a part of the Wellington Law Students’ Society’s voice during Victoria University’s alteration of its LL.B requirements, assisted with the creation of the New Zealand Law Style Guide (which the Law Foundation publishes) and created a guide for legal research for his fellow students, which was printed and distributed amongst the student body. Sam has already had six journal articles published on a variety of subjects, which is quite an achievement for a young lawyer. One of these won the Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP award for the top student submission to the ILJ in 2011.
On a personal note, Sam completed the Coast to Coast in 2011 and has completed a number of other multisport and adventure race events. Now in New York, Sam has joined the NYU Rugby team. Sam’s parents Kevin and Maureen McMullan were at the Awards dinner to accept the Prize on his behalf.
The Cleary Prize honours the memory of Sir Timothy Cleary, past President of the Wellington District and New Zealand Law Societies and a Court of Appeal Judge until his death in 1962. It recognises the example Sir Timothy’s own life set for young people entering the profession.