Ex student president trades politics for law

Michaela Waite-Harvey has joined Anderson Lloyd's litigation team. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Michaela Waite-Harvey has joined Anderson Lloyd's litigation team. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Michaela Waite-Harvey has a new job.

The former Otago University Students’ Association (OUSA) president has joined Dunedin law firm Anderson Lloyd in its litigation team.

Over the summer break, Miss Waite-Harvey did a summer clerkship with the law firm and has now taken on a job as a law clerk.

The role is part-time until she finishes her double degree in law and classics later this year, then will become full time.

Miss Waite-Harvey, in her sixth year at university, could have graduated in 2021, but her year as a student politician delayed that.

It was a "pretty hectic" year as president, which was a fulltime job.

She was involved in finding a new vice-chancellor, and also the large review that was completed about racism at the university.

"Throw Covid in the mix and it was very busy."

All of that meant she was only able to complete about one paper a semester, she said.

Law was not a career Miss Waite-Harvey had considered when she went to university. Being the first in family to take up tertiary studies, she did not have anyone to ask for advice.

Miss Waite-Harvey started out studying for a bachelor of commerce degree, but soon realised it was not for her.

"It literally lasted about two days ... I hated maths and I did not want to do marketing."

She switched to a classics and politics degree, but still was not completely happy.

Some of her friends were law students and dragged her along to a legal lecture.

"I was sitting there and I thought this is what I want to do."

Miss Waite-Harvey switched politics for law and "it has been the best decision".

One of the best parts about being OUSA president was helping people in difficult situations and she hoped that continued in her legal career.

During the summer clerkship at Anderson Lloyd she worked in other parts of the firm, including the Resource Management Act team.

That was when she realised that litigation was for her.

Asked whether she wanted to follow in the footsteps of other OUSA presidents and go into politics, such as deputy prime minister Grant Robertson, Miss Waite-Harvey said "not a chance".

"Those could be my famous last words and I could be prime minister in 20 years, but no thank you," she said.

Add a Comment