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21 June 20223 minute read

DLA Piper delivers its Pacific Island teaching programme in collaboration with Westpac

Law firm, DLA Piper has delivered the latest edition of its Pacific Island teaching programme in collaboration with client, Westpac New Zealand (Westpac). This is the first time the firm have partnered with a client to deliver the course since its launch in 2017.

The Pacific Island teaching course was designed to empower the next generation of lawyers with strong legal skills to establish and further pro bono practices in their home countries. DLA Piper partners with the University of South Pacific (USP) to provide legal education to law students from countries in the Pacific Islands. Lawyers from the firm's Australian and New Zealand offices provide practical training to law students to improve their legal and soft skills and prepare them for the workforce. The training aims to improve both legal and soft skills and prepare law students for the working world.

For this latest edition, DLA Piper lawyers from Australia and New Zealand were keen to collaborate with a client to enhance the offering to USP students. Westpac was invited due to their longstanding commitment to community impact – investing in, and partnering with, local communities to support economic and social development. The opportunity was a natural fit for Westpac, which lists inclusion as one of the key priority areas it focuses on.

The course, which took place in April 2022, saw Sukhjit Gill, a senior lawyer at Westpac join the DLA Piper team to teach the course. This addition enhanced the programme as Gill was able to offer unique insights to students from the perspective of an in-house lawyer working across Asia Pacific.

Commenting on the success of the collaboration and its impact on USP students, Asia Pacific pro bono director, DLA Piper, Catriona Martin said: "We were delighted to partner with Westpac on this program. One of the highlights for the students is listening to different perspectives and learnings from lawyers from Australia and New Zealand. Having an in house lawyer from Westpac to share their experience added another dimension to the course and expanded the students' horizons about what a career in law can be."

Sukhjit Gill, Senior Legal Counsel, Westpac New Zealand added: "The week was so energising, and it was such a treat to be able to share our knowledge and experiences with these students. Seeing the students develop so much confidence in just one short week was extremely rewarding. Their passion for the law and their desire to help others took me right back to law school and was a good reminder of the reason I chose to be a lawyer."

Following the success of this course, DLA Piper and Westpac will continue to collaborate on future editions of the training programme.