Five minutes with... Dr Maria Pozza

Dr Maria Pozza talks to NZLawyer about death row cases, the Christchurch markets and weapons.

What made you decide to become a lawyer?
I have always been interested in legal issues and politics from a young age and when at high school, I was fortunate enough to undertake a paper in law. From that point on, I was hooked. Thereafter, I pursued an LLB Law (hons) undergrad, postgraduate diploma in legal research and skills and undertook my Bar Vocational Course at the Inns of Court School of Law, London. After that time I joined Lincoln’s Inn.  However, my appetite for knowledge, was not satisfied. I had to know more about both UK law as well as other jurisdictions and how those states conduct international legal business with one and other. I thereafter undertook a Masters in International Studies, and finally a Phd which focused on international law and international relations pertaining to outer space.  Outer Space remains as one of the few areas which we still know very little about. 
When did you start at Helmore Ayers?
Two months ago on the 9th March 2015.

What’s the strangest case you’ve ever worked on/been involved with?
I am unsure as to ‘strange’ cases, but some of the most significant cases which have impacted my outlook on the legal profession as well as myself as a legal professional, are the ones I undertook as an Intern working with a lawyer on death row cases, in Huntsville, Texas, USA.
If you could invite three people for dinner, dead or alive and excluding family and friends, who would they be and why?
Only 3!!!  Sally Ride (the first woman into outer space 1978), Wernher (developed the Vengeance Weapon  V-2 / A-4 1945),  Nandasiri Jasentuliyana (not only did I have the privilege of meeting Nandasiri, but much of his work has been influential within my own research)
Where’s the best place to go for a drink and/or dinner after work in Christchurch?
That’s assuming that I have any time to venture out…..I have only been here 8 weeks – but open to suggestions.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given (work or personal)?
I have two: “Study, Study, Study”; and “always get it in writing”.
Do you have any hobbies/interests outside of work? 
I am a prolific reader of just about anything.  If I am not at home reading, I am in the gym most days, or out on Saturdays and Sundays visiting the local Christchurch markets.
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
An astronaut-space lawyer with an office on Mars providing regulated legal services to other astronauts about their affairs on Earth as well as their affairs in outer space.
What do you think will be single biggest issue facing the legal space in New Zealand in 2015? 
The use of outer space assets and the protection of information attained through those assets.  Cyberspace and security is a real issue and this will directly affect data mining and all legal issues associated with it.
If you had John Key’s job for one day, what would you do? 
There would be so many things that I may need more than one day!  For starters though, I would start to develop New Zealand’s domestic laws relating to our activities in outer space. 
What do you love about your job? 

So many things!  The people I work with are fantastic, smart and extremely hard working.  My firm practices a strong team ethos in order to better serve clients; we have a great team atmosphere as well as an open door policy regardless if you’re the partner or new lawyer.  Everyone is important and everyone has something valuable to contribute.  The level of collegial support, is amazing and the best I have ever seen.  That in conjunction with the wide variety of cases which comes through our doors, means that no two days are the same.  I love the fact that I learn something new every day and that my firm is forward thinking.  I am exceptionally lucky that I am given encouragement and support to lead our continued development in international space law.

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