NZ legal professionals mourn lawyer's death in Sydney car accident

Mitch East was just 28 years old

NZ legal professionals mourn lawyer's death in Sydney car accident

New Zealand legal professionals are mourning lawyer Mitch East, who died in a car accident in Australia, reported the NZ Herald.

Twenty-eight-year-old East had been in Australia for a stint with Australian law firm Arnold Bloch Leibler, as per Australia’s Daily Telegraph. He was hit by a car in a suspected hit-and-run incident after getting out of an Uber in Sydney’s Tamarama suburb and died at the scene.

A CCTV in the vicinity caught a white SUV on camera. The Herald said that Australian police were on the lookout for the vehicle; Detective Assistant Superintendent Adam Solah urged the public to come forward with any pertinent information, such as dashcam or CCTV footage, to aid the ongoing investigation.

Supreme Court Justice Sir William Young, for whom East had once clerked, highlighted the deceased lawyer’s intelligence. East was an alum of Harvard University, where he obtained his postgraduate degree, and of the University of Otago, where he earned his honours degree.

East was a recipient of the prestigious Frank Knox scholarship at Harvard and had also secured full scholarships to Cambridge University and New York University. He also nabbed the Deans’ Scholar Prizes in two subjects.

"He was a remarkable man with the most extraordinary, infectious, and often self-deprecating sense of humour. He was huge fun to work with – an all-round great guy. Mitch’s death in Sydney is a shocking tragedy, particularly for his parents and his partner and a terrible waste of a life that held so much promise", Young said in a statement published by the Herald.

University of Otago professor Andrew Geddis lauded East’s humility despite his achievements.

"We have an idea of what we’d like the ‘New Zealand character’ to be; someone who achieves highly, is incredibly able, but at the same time doesn’t think too much of themselves. And that was Mitch. He really did capture that. There is no doubt, academically, he was extremely able and the work he did was extremely important. Beyond that though, he was just a really nice guy", Geddis said in a statement published by the Herald.

Before heading to Australia, East was a solicitor at Meredith Connell and a senior adviser for the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Christchurch Terrorist Attack.

A GoFundMe campaign established for East’s family has raised over $75,000.

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