Achieving justice a key passion for aspiring lawyer

The Law Association Prize is empowering LLB(Hons)/BGlobalSt graduate Arianna Bacic to advocate for a more equitable justice system.

The future is bright for alum Arianna Bacic.

As the first person to study law in her family, Arianna Bacic didn’t know what to expect. But it wasn’t long into her conjoint Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Global Studies degree, which she started in 2018, that she knew she had made the right decision. “I found my studies to be deeply fascinating and engaging,” she says. “My interest in the law only grew as I learned about its intricacies and how it shapes the world around us.” 

It was a passion for justice that fuelled Arianna to study law. “I wanted to make a difference in the world – as cliché as that may sound!” she says. Through her studies, she was able to gain an understanding of many types of law, from litigation to public international law, with research focused on topics including international environmental law, disarmament and trade law.

During her studies, she developed an interest in the issue of access to justice, which she says is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s biggest legal challenges. “It is a challenge that is incredibly complex and multifaceted,” she explains, noting that, while there have been important developments in recent years, there is more work to be done. “Studying the law is a real privilege, so I consider it comes with a responsibility to contribute to access to justice efforts, be that through providing pro bono advice, advocating for legal reforms aimed at increasing access to justice, or participating in initiatives working towards a fairer and more equitable justice system.”

Climate justice is another area of the law she is drawn to. “Climate change intersects with every challenge we face in some way and presents highly complex issues for law and policy at both a domestic and international level,” she says, adding that, to effect positive change, an understanding of the legal system’s limitations is needed. 

She encountered this first hand while volunteering for pro bono charity The Equal Justice Project as co-manager of the Advocacy team. The experience enabled her to see how understanding the legal framework could facilitate more effective advocacy in local government. Work will be ongoing in this area, she predicts. “The climate justice space is constantly evolving, requiring law and policy experts to grapple with many challenging questions in the years to come.” 

Arianna Bacic celebrates receiving The Law Association Prize with Professor Jaimie King.

Arianna’s commitment to law and justice has not gone unnoticed. In 2023, during her final year of studies, she was awarded a Kupe Leadership Scholarship, which provides recipients with financial support for postgraduate study and valuable one-on-one mentoring from leaders in their field of research. Now in 2024, she has been awarded the annual Law Association Prize. Established in 1964 and funded by The Law Association, the prize acknowledges the law student with the best undergraduate record. 

It's a real honour, she says. “I feel very privileged to have been awarded The Law Association Prize. For students, prizes and scholarships make a real difference financially, in assisting us to fund our studies. They also encourage us to keep working towards our goals even when we face personal challenges.”

Recently graduated, she is taking the first steps in her legal career as a judge’s clerk for Justice Joe Williams at the Supreme Court. It is a role involving many responsibilities, including undertaking legal research and analysis, writing legal opinions, checking draft judgments before delivery and more – but one she is already enjoying. “It has proven to be an exciting, fascinating and rewarding experience,” she says. “My work has challenged me to think deeply about the law, and I have loved learning about a wide range of issues at the forefront of legal development in Aotearoa.” 

This new experience has only heightened her interest in advocacy and cemented her decision to pursue a legal career.

Media contact

Helen Borne | Communications and Marketing Manager
Alumni Relations and Development