ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand


Interview with 2022 Tompkins Wake Small In-house Team of the Year - University of Canterbury

Interview with 2022 Tompkins Wake Small In-house Team of the Year - University of Canterbury

By Website Administrator , Brianna Smith, Member Services Coordinator| March 21, 2023 at 9:37 AM

How did it feel to win the Tompkins Wake Small In-house Team of the Year Award? 

Totally unexpected! However, when thinking back there were a number of significant achievements made over a short period of time and the recognition of this was appreciated. It’s been a real team morale boost following some challenging times.


Several of your team attended the 2022 ILANZ Conference, what were some of their notable highlights?

The highlight of the conference was hosting our colleagues from around NZ in our home city and reconnecting. We had great conversations between events. The optional seminars and guest speakers were really interesting and informative, not to mention the fun awards evening.


Established in late 2020, Te Tari o te Pouroki is the University of Canterbury’s first in-house legal team. Adela, how did you effectively build a legal team from scratch in only 12 months?

I spent the first three months building relationships and identifying all the legal issues that everyone was raising from across the organisation. This was followed by two months of escalating my concerns to the Executive and highlighting the benefits of bringing in a team of lawyers who could solve problems and make life easier at less cost than external lawyers. From there I furiously recruited and have been incredibly lucky to build a team of talented, dedicated and fun lawyers who are a real asset to the organisation.


What advice would you give to others looking to build a new legal team?

Be clear about the issues, gather data to support your position, don’t be afraid to ask for what would benefit the organisation even if it seems unreasonable and then make sure you deliver so the trust grows. I used Juno secondees in the beginning to show the organisation what was possible before recruiting permanent positions.


Your legal services team played a vital role in launching the UC Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) platform. Tell us about the support you provided and your collaboration with the wider organisation.

We were heavily involved in supporting the launch of MOOCs at UC starting with advising on software supplier contracts, terms and conditions for users, IP considerations, etc. We are now focussing on supporting UC to celebrate its 150th anniversary. One of our latest initiatives is the 150 Te Kakau a Māui scholarships which are on offer to students from Te Waipounamu South Island who are keen to make a change in their world - 2022 Te Kakau a Maui Scholarship NZ - Alumni and Friends - University of Canterbury - New Zealand. We have been providing legal assistance with the fundraising campaign, scholarship awards and events. UC is a dynamic place to work with much to celebrate and many projects to be involved in.  


Below pictures from the 2022 ILANZ Niche Gala Dinner and Awards Ceremony