Victoria law alumna receives prestigious scholarship

Victoria University of Wellington alumna Johanna McDavitt has been awarded the 2017 New Zealand Law Foundation Ethel Benjamin scholarship for outstanding women lawyers.

Johanna, who graduated from Victoria with a Bachelor of Arts and a Bachelor of Law with Honours in 2014, will use the scholarship to study her Master of Laws at Harvard Law School. Her research will focus on the regulation of commercial conduct through competition law and financial markets regulation.

“I plan to undertake a comparative analysis of New Zealand's civil pecuniary penalties regime,” Johanna says. “My research will consider whether the level and nature of penalties imposed in the New Zealand regime is effective at deterring illicit conduct, without deterring legitimate business conduct, and whether regulatory defendants receive appropriate protection from the coercive powers of regulators.

“The ultimate aim of my research is to contribute to the discourse in New Zealand, and internationally, about how to design the most effective penalty regime for commercial conduct.”

Last year Johanna was awarded the New Zealand Law Foundation's Cleary Memorial Prize, which is awarded to one or two New Zealand lawyers each year who were admitted to the Bar in the last three years and who show the most promise of service to and through the profession.

Johanna is a solicitor with Simpson Grierson’s competition and regulatory team.

The New Zealand Law Foundation Ethel Benjamin scholarship honours Ethel Benjamin, New Zealand’s first woman barrister and solicitor, who was admitted to the bar in 1897.  It supports postgraduate research in law that will protect and promote the legal interests of the New Zealand public.

The Scholarship is awarded to postgraduate women who hold a law degree and have been accepted into a postgraduate law course in either New Zealand or overseas and is administered by Universities New Zealand on behalf of the New Zealand Law Foundation.