“The noblest question in the world is what good may I do in it”
- Benjamin Franklin
LLM (1st class) ; BA (Psychology)/ LLB (Auckland)
Criminal defence work is a privilege and I feel grateful for meeting each and every one of my clients and the opportunity to help them during a very challenging and stressful time of their lives. I have great respect for the trust they place in me. I admire their willingness to share their lives and tell their stories.
Here is my story.
I was sent to board at Wanganui Collegiate school after largely opting out of public secondary school – challenging the system and rules which didn’t make sense to me. What I learned from boarding school was the need to work within the system to get what you want. It was a huge life lesson for me and while I push boundaries hard now, I know when to stop. I’m now commonly known as “Priesty” around the Courts. It is a throwback from my boarding school days when it was surnames only.
When I got to university, I knew I wanted to be a professional that helped people. I thought I was going to get a degree in sociology and English and move into a career in criminology. Every one loves the TV show ‘Criminal Minds’ right? I got into law because I wanted Friday’s off at University- it’s a true story. Well one paper and I was hooked- my BA (sociology and English) became a BA (psychology) / LLB. I transferred to Auckland University to the law school to finish my degree.
After finishing law school I was unsure whether to become a psychologist or a lawyer. I loved the law and knew I’d work within it, but the question was in what capacity. After some reflection, I decided on law, did my legal professionals course and an LLM focusing on criminal law.
After spending 18 months in general practice, in September 2001 I was approached and joined Meredith Connell, the Crown Solicitors Office in Auckland. I was a Senior Prosecutor there from 2007 and became an Associate of the firm from 2009. It was an incredible time where I learned my craft from some of the most remarkable advocates in New Zealand, and prosecuted the most serious of crime.
In September 2013, I joined the Public Defence Service where I represented legally-aided clients, before commencing my own practice in February 2016. I have not looked back. I love it. Full details of my career are on LinkedIn.
As part of my contribution to the law and to society, I have developed The Good Lawyer platform.