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Distance and practicality draw cards for College of Law LLM graduate Nicola Rowe
25 November 2021

Distance and practicality draw cards for College of Law LLM graduate Nicola Rowe

Published on 25 November 2021

Hastings-based lawyer Nicola Rowe knew she would need a practical distance-learning solution when it came to postgraduate studies. As a generalist lawyer with DK Legal Limited, she pursued the College of Law LLM online, which allowed her to make the most of her ongoing learning across a broad range of subjects. Insights spoke to Nicola about what attracted her to the College of Law LLM, how it’s helped her progress her career and practice, and what advice she might have for lawyers considering an LLM.

What caused you to study an LLM? In particular, what made you choose family law, and wills and estates subjects? Did it suit your work or client base?

The nature of law is such that you’re always learning. Given that we have to complete CPD annually, I was looking into options outside of the normal webinars. I wanted to be able to make the most of the time I was spending and put it towards an end goal. I had previously completed a Graduate Diploma of Legal Practice with the College of Law, so therefore the logical next step was to complete an LLM.

Being a general practice firm, we often undertake a wide range of work such as Conveyancing, Succession Planning, Commercial Transactions, Employment Matters, Relationship Property and Māori Land Court work. Therefore, it is important to have a broad foundation of knowledge you can build from as required. Relationship Property, Wills and Estates are areas where we have been doing a significant amount of work recently, therefore having been in practice for only 3 years, it was relatable to the work I was doing whilst also extending it.

Where do you work now, and what kind of challenges does it involve?

I work at DK Legal Limited and we’re located in the heart of Hastings with clients all around the country.

One of the challenges is the variety that comes through a regional practice. We’re often the first port of call for our clients, which provides so much opportunity and learning. 

We’re currently on the lookout for both an experienced and graduate lawyer to join our team – If you’re looking for a role, with plenty of variety in Sunny Hawkes Bay, feel free to get in contact.

What is the most rewarding aspect of what you do?

Whilst it might sound clichéd, the most rewarding aspect of my role is helping our clients to seize opportunities, solve problems and provide peace of mind when it matters most Whether it’s someone purchasing their first home, assisting someone through administering an estate, or someone selling their business to retire, they’re all very different matters, so we strive to help people in different ways. 

How did studying with the College help you in your career? Did it help you better advise your clients, or progress your career?

Being based in Hastings, the practicalities of working full time and not being in the vicinity of the various LLM providers was difficult. I had completed my Profs with the College of Law and received an email about the new LLM – Applied Law programme they were offering. Upon looking into this, it was what I was after – practical, remote learning.

The LLM course offered by the College of Law is a very practical course taught by current practitioners from around the country. When I say taught, it certainly wasn’t the traditional sit there, listen and write notes – it was far more interactive and more collegial, with reflection upon what you are currently doing in practice. It was certainly beneficial to hear approaches of other colleagues throughout the country. 

What advice would you have for LLM students looking to make the most of your study?

Make the most of the interactions – some of the best learnings I have had throughout the course stemmed not from the notes provided but from discussion between everyone. Different regions face different issues so it’s incredibly beneficial to hear different perspectives. Not only this, but you also get to extend your network.

What advice would you have for lawyers looking to break into your area of law?

Take as many opportunities that present themselves and find a good mentor. Ask as many questions as you can of them. Also, build good relationships with your clients - this couldn’t be more important in a regional firm.