ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand

ILANZ Scholarship

ILANZ Scholarship

By Sarah Taylor, Principal Legal Advisor, Tasman District Council| 29 June 2017

Sarah Taylor, Principal Legal Advisor and winner of the 2016 ILANZ Scholarship, shares her thoughts about applying for, and receiving, the scholarship

The best thing about getting the scholarship was the opportunity to take some time outside of work to explore a subject I really care about.  We don’t get too many opportunities to do that.  It’s very easy to get caught up in the ‘doing’ - dealing with reactive, transactional, operational, or urgent stuff – that we can forget to pause, to look up, and think about things differently.  The scholarship gave me a chance to take a break from the doing and think more creatively about different ways of working and the future of our profession.

The most enjoyable part of my research was talking to a lot of amazing people and hearing their stories, ideas, and experiences.  I also learnt a lot about myself during the process which has helped clarify my own strengths and future plans.

Here are some tips I’d pass on to anyone considering applying for the scholarship:

Do it! But…

  • Only apply in relation to a topic you care about.  Don’t do it because someone else has suggested it or because you think you “should” undertake research in a certain area
  • Make sure you’ve got time and headspace to do the work – it was a lot harder and required more time and discipline than I anticipated
  • Share your ideas with people you trust and ask them to peer review your proposal.  My initial proposal was too narrow (I proposed a solution rather than outlining the challenges I was trying to address) and it took someone else to point this out to me
  • Apply for the right reasons.  Think about your underlying motives, purpose, or driver - don’t just do it for the money
  • Determine your scope carefully and don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Would I do it all again?  Heck yeah.

Good luck!

Sarah Taylor

Sarah’s report “Valuing our lawyers: the untapped potential of flexible working in the New Zealand legal profession” can be found here: Valuing our lawyers