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Prestigious law school place paid for with cakes and preserves

Aug 27th, 2012 | By | Category: Featured Article, Features, News

LEGAL MENTOR: Katie Morgan with Sir David Carruthers.

KATIE Morgan has accepted a rare opportunity to study law in the UK and is taking the kiwi approach to fundraising the $35,000 annual cost.

Miss Morgan (24) is one of a small number of New Zealanders to have been accepted to study law at Durham University.

Durham is considered an ivy-league university, up there with the likes of Oxford, Cambridge and the London School of Economics.

The university in England’s north made three law offers to New Zealand residents between 2008 and 2011.

Miss Morgan has been fundraising , and chose to do it the kiwi way, including selling her baking at Parliament and staging a soiree complete with politicians.

“I had a bit in my savings account but [it’s been] mostly hard work.  I’ve tried to find scholarships and grants that I’m eligible for but without much luck.

“Working at the New Zealand Parole Board and a bar, selling my worldly goods, baking, preserving, movie nights, cooking classes and some generous donations – and of course the soiree.

LOCAL SUPPORT: Katie Morgan with her local MP Peter Dunne.

“Suffice it to say I don’t get out much. The exchange rate is really working in my favour right now,” she says.

The soiree was a fundraiser partly organised by her aunt, MP Jacqui Dean and held in a Bowen House apartment.

Guests included Paula Bennett, Sir David Carruthers and Miss Morgan’s local MP Peter Dunne among others.

“Fees are about $25,000 a year, and accommodation for first year is $10,000, which includes meals, electricity, internet.

“After first year you can move into your own flat but because Durham is a collegiate university, they prefer you to stay in your hall (college) for first year as you will belong to that hall for life,” says Miss Morgan.

Miss Morgan already holds a Bachelor of Arts in international relations, modern languages and European studies from Victoria University.

She accepted the offer because Durham law school has an excellent reputation internationally, and she has relatives in the north of England so she won’t be completely isolated from her family.

“I got my first degree here in NZ so am looking forward to the opportunity to try out the English university system, as well as getting the chance to travel around Europe,” says Miss Morgan.

She got a taste of law during her studies of international relations, looking at human rights, conflict and international negotiations, which sparked her interest in studying law.

Miss Morgan recently discovered she will not be the first lawyer in the family.

She is the great granddaughter of Justice Ernst Peterson Hay, who formed the partnership Mazengarb, Hay and MacAlister in 1918.

“It was one of the largest firms in Wellington,” says Miss Morgan’s mother and Justice Hay’s granddaughter, Sue Morgan.

She also says Miss Morgan’s grandfather had considered law but decided there would be too much to remember.

“So he became a surgeon.”

Miss Morgan was not aware that there was a judge in the family until recently, but says it is further inspiration for her planned studies.

Her mentor, Sir David Carruthers, who she met through her work at the Parole Board, describes her as focused and driven.

“She has high standards of integrity and honesty,” he says.

Father James Lyons, left with Miss Morgan, also shares that view.

He has known her for 17 years in his capacity as her parish priest in Lower Hutt.

He has since moved to Sacred Heart Cathedral, but remains close with the Morgan family.

“I admire Katie, I think as the Judge [Sir David Carruthers] said, she has strong focus. She has something to offer, to offer to the country, to offer to the world and she is very focused on maximising her potential,” he says.

“I look forward to welcoming her back and following her progress, I think it will be quite remarkable.”

Miss Morgan intends practicing law once she is finished.

“At Durham you get to start tailoring your degree to your interests during second year, so that’s likely the stage where I’ll get a good idea of what branch of law I’d really like to get my teeth into.

“A longer-term goal would be looking at getting into foreign affairs, as I feel my first degree coupled with law would lead well into that,” she says.

Miss Morgan leaves at the end of September, and says she is starting to feel nervous already, but is excited about the opportunities ahead.

Jacqui Dean is proud of her neice.

“I think that someone who is brave enough to leap into the unknown and go overseas should be greatly admired and supported. They carry a burden, they know they have to perform and that’s something Katie can do,” says her Ms Dean.

Miss Morgan has a Facebook page, which has details on how her fundraising is going and lists the events she has planned in the lead up to her departure.








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