Our roles as solicitors at McVeagh Fleming

Meet McVeagh Fleming at the 2020 CDES Business and Law Expo!

Erica Burke

Solicitor – McVeagh Fleming Relationship Property / Family Law Team

Did your career plan change as you studied?

It certainly narrowed in focus. As I continued my studies and could take elective papers (as part of the LLB), I chose family law and related courses. I really enjoyed these, so decided to continue with that “theme”. Towards the end of my degree, I knew that advocacy in a general sense appealed to me, particularly within the family law and relationship property context. In light of this, it seemed a relatively straightforward decision to seek work experience at a firm that specialised in those areas.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?

I can see myself in private practice, in a similar area of law to my current practice area. There are ongoing and expected developments within relationship property and trust law, which always keeps things interesting and I think it’s important to have variation and challenges at work. A personal goal is to keep learning, so it would be great to be working towards an LLM perhaps or further study in another area like public policy.

How valuable was your internship/graduate programme OR work experience for you as a student? How did this help you fine-tune where you wanted to head?

During the last few years of my BA/LLB (Hons) degree, I worked part time at McVeagh Fleming where I continued as a solicitor after graduating and completing the requisite professional legal studies course. I found that my clerkship quickly confirmed that family law was where I wanted to start my career. As I’ve mentioned above, advanced family law and relationship property at law school were two of my favourite courses. I knew that this didn’t necessarily mean I would like it in the real world however, with real clients and difficult emotionally charged situations to handle. I was fortunate to be involved with interesting and varied cases during my clerkship, and gain insight into each step of a matter. This meant that I could see what was in store for me, if I continued down this path as opposed to only working on small tasks without gaining an appreciation for the bigger picture.

Hamish Coupe

Senior Solicitor – McVeagh Fleming Property Team

Did your career plan change as you studied?

When I started studying at the University of Auckland I was in a BCom/LLB conjoint program with the goal of becoming a lawyer. That aspiration changed as I was exposed to various life and university influences, evolving into a BA/LLB from which I graduated in 2013. Along the way, and in the years following graduation, I worked in telecommunications and online retail which could have led to long term careers in those fields however I found the most interesting aspects of those jobs were those which are common within the law profession e.g. negotiation and mediation. I decided to complete my profs and to obtain a job as a lawyer.

Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years’ time?

In 5-10 years’ time I plan to be a partner at McVeagh Fleming Lawyers. I very much enjoy working as a lawyer so I’m in for the long haul. I still plan to be living in Riverhead with my wife and two boys. I’d like to have purchased a family bach at some point along the way.

How valuable was your internship/graduate programme OR work experience for you as a student? How did this help you fine-tune where you wanted to head?

I didn’t follow the standard path of internship/graduate program as I was working full time in other fields, however the reputation of the University of Auckland Law School opened doors for me when I needed them to open. My first role as a lawyer was as junior on a ten week murder trial. From there I had some direct law experience on my CV to work with and was able to get a feel for what area of the law I’d like to investigate further.