Cooney Lees Morgan associate is ‘the eternal optimist’

Tania Reweti may not be an Oscar winner, but she has found fulfilment in acting before the court

Cooney Lees Morgan associate is ‘the eternal optimist’
Tania Reweti

Tania Reweti dreamed of becoming a rock star or an actress, but her mum put her on the path towards a “safer career choice.” While Reweti may never get that Oscar, she has come to love the intellectual challenge that the law brings.

As an associate with Cooney Lees Morgan, she finds her joy in helping clients to resolve their issues. Specialising in employment law, health and safety and civil litigation, Reweti has been able to present before the Employment Court in a case that she considers her proudest achievement in the last 12 months.

In this interview, she talks about Cooney Lees Morgan’s core values of integrity, excellence, diligence and whānau, being productive while working from home, being busy during COVID-19 and anticipating a tropical holiday.

What made you choose a career in law?

I actually wanted to be a rock star or an actress, but ended up doing law instead because my mum thought it was a safer career choice. I still resent her for making me miss out on an Oscar!

What do you love most about your job?

Definitely being on my feet in court and the intellectual challenge of debating a legal point, either with counsel or a judge—it’s exhilarating, challenging and also very satisfying when you get it right.

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

The firm is always alive with new people coming and different activities. I’m really proud of our new values statement that sums up the firm’s core values—integrity, excellence, diligence and whānau. That pretty much says it all.

What has been your proudest accomplishment in the last year or so? Or what’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year and what advice can you give fellow lawyers about it?

I think my proudest accomplishment in the last 12 months was appearing in front of a full bench of the Employment Court on a test case for our client regarding the correct calculation method for leave payments. Our client took the unusual step of paying costs for their employee’s lawyer so that they could all get clarity on what was a very grey area of the law.

Our client was successful and the case created a precedent for them and potentially many other employers in similar circumstances. It’s always a good feeling when you are part of resolving a big issue for a client.

What should the profession and law firms focus more on?

I think flexible working has become a big topic since lockdown. Many of us have realised that we can function very productively by working from home more than we thought, and the flexibility this provides has the potential to increase wellbeing, family relationships and just the overall management of stress levels and workloads.

What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward?

Employment and health and safety are two of my main areas of expertise, so the pandemic was an extremely busy period for me. Going forward, I think the business of law in general needs to be more adaptable, quicker to respond to changes and to the needs of clients.

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

A holiday somewhere tropical—I am the eternal optimist!

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