Law educator surprised by accolade

Gary Hamilton-Irvine





AHawke’s Bay man who has helped thousands of Kiwi lawyers upskill has received a top accolade in the 2022 New Year Honours. John Mackintosh, who recently retired after a decades-long service to the law profession, designed a course called Stepping Up, run by the New Zealand Law Society. He was caught by surprise when an email recently landed in his inbox informing him he was to be named an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit. “I looked at it and thought ‘Oh that’s a scam’,” he said. “I left it for a couple of days actually but I thought I better open one of these attachments and it was there. I still can’t believe it.” A humble Mackintosh, who was based in Christchurch throughout his career before moving to Napier last year, said his achievements in the profession were largely down to the people he worked with. In 2010, the New Zealand Law Society approached him and asked him to design a course to help fill a gap in its training. “When a lawyer has has some experience under their belt — they have done their degree . . . and had three years plus in an office — they can then apply to the Law Society for a certificate to practise on their own account and they can set up a firm or become a partner in a firm or step up as a barrister.” The course he designed, Stepping Up, is compulsory for lawyers across the country wanting to make that jump in their career, and has become an important step within the profession. More than 2400 lawyers have completed the course to date. “The candidates have to do about 50 hours of self-learning using manuals and material we put together, then a 21⁄ 2- day course and only then can they tick that box and move on to apply to the Law Society to go out on their own.” Mackintosh himself worked for over 40 years as a lawyer specialising in business law and operated his own firm. Over the years, he has helped with numerous other education programs and has lectured at Christchurch Polytechnic, the University of Canterbury and Lincoln University.