Cavell Leitch senior solicitor could have been a flower farmer

Emma Pearce has become "significantly better" at keeping her plants alive

Cavell Leitch senior solicitor could have been a flower farmer

Since taking up gardening, Emma Pearce considers one of her top achievements of 2023 to be her improved ability to keep her plants alive. She is presently the proud caretaker of about 20 different dahlias, and if she wasn’t in law, she thinks she could have been running a farm of cottage flowers.

But even though Pearce never truly planned to be in law, she took up the degree and has been riding a wave of success at Cavell Leitch, recently being promoted to senior solicitor. What used to scare her about litigation is now her favourite part of the job, she says.

In this interview, Pearce talks being comfortable with the uncomfortable, running Cavell Leitch’s peer group for junior and intermediate lawyers, and how her 2024 is shaping up.

What made you choose a career in law, and what's your favourite part of the job?

I had never planned to become a lawyer but completed a law degree and PROFS because of the career flexibility it offers. After three years at the High Court in Christchurch working alongside and being mentored by associate judges, and a stint in managing the civil team, I had a “what if” moment of, what if I never use my law degree? I thought there was no better time to take the plunge and become a lawyer. It turned out to be the best decision.

 I am fortunate to work with a bunch of great people, who have put a lot of time into mentoring me and giving me great opportunities to work with clients, in different tribunals and courts and on different legal issues. The cut and thrust of litigation is what scared me the most at the start, but it is now my favourite part of the job. No two days are the same; there is always a new challenge to face, and I am constantly learning. I have become comfortable with the uncomfortable!

 What is going on at the organisation? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?

I am involved in some great initiatives within Cavell at the moment – including the running of the peer group that we have for our junior/intermediate lawyers, and being a member of our culture team and Shadow Board which propose new initiatives to the board and the wider firm. I enjoy giving back by volunteering at Community Law and Citizen’s Advice.

 What has been your proudest accomplishment in the last year or so?

Work wise, my biggest accomplishment would definitely be assisting with the settlement of the oldest original Christchurch Earthquake case! This resulted in a great outcome for the client, after many years of litigation.

On a more personal note, I got married and have also become significantly better at keeping my plants alive!

What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?

After a busy 2023, 2024 is shaping up to be that way too, with hearings, mediations and possibly a trial or two thrown into the mix. I have a lot of great cases to get stuck into and am working alongside some fantastic clients! I am looking forward to continuing to advocate for our clients, meet new clients and continue to add skills to my toolkit, and refine them.

 If you weren’t in law, what do you think you’d be doing as a career?

Very left field, but I would probably be a flower farmer of cottage flowers, with the flower farm to double as a wedding venue! Gardening has become a bit of a hobby, and I have around 20 different dahlias currently!

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