Governance & Staff

Governance

CHAIRPERSON - Dr. Susan Thompson - MA (History), BTheol (Theology), PhD (Theology)

Susan joined the Board of Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in 2013. Born in Christchurch, she trained as a Methodist minister in Auckland, was ordained in 1994 and has lived in Hamilton since 2002. She completed doctoral studies at the University of Auckland in 2002 and has a continuing interest in New Zealand history. Susan is an advocate for the acceptance and equality of LGBTQ people in church and society.  She is active in the Waikato Interfaith Council and has just started learning Te Reo Maori. She is currently working as Superintendent of the Waikato-Waiariki Methodist Synod.

TREASURER and DEPUTY CHAIR PERSON - Dave McEwen

Dave joined the Board in 1999 and serves as the Board Treasurer and Deputy Chairperson. Dave brings a wealth of experience from his background in the RNZAF and as an accountant in the private sector.


TRUSTEE - Brian Dobbs

Brian has been a Trustee since 2004. He has corporate and leadership experience in a number of industries and specialises in governance, finance, audit and risk analysis. He is Chairman of a number of Boards that govern medium to large companies and trusts, some of which are charitable. 

TRUSTEE - Cheryl Green - LLB

Cheryl has been a Trustee since 2013 and graduated from the University of Waikato in 1993 with a Law Degree (LLB) and is currently a Referee of the Disputes Tribunal in Hamilton.  She was previously the Director of Clinical Legal Education and Competitions at the University of Waikato. 

TRUSTEE - David Allan - LLB

David is a barrister, admitted to the bar in 1995 and has served as Trustee on the Board since 2017.  His legal areas of interest include criminal, mental health, intellectual disability, and parole.  David has a particular interest in improving the interview method of lawyers across the whole criminal justice system.

TRUSTEE - Ethan Jerome-Leota - LLB

Ethan is a solicitor, admitted to the Bar in 2018 and joined the Board in April 2021. Ethan is one of the Waikato-Tainui representative Trustees. His legal areas of interest include, Treaty Settlements, Environmental law and Intellectual Property. Ethan has a particular interest in strengthening the relationship between CLW and Waikato-Tainui. More importantly he is passionate about access to justice for all and supporting the education seminars facilitated by CLW. 

TRUSTEE - Jaydene Kana

Jaydene is a Chartered Accountant with extensive public and private sector commercial and leadership experience, through her roles based in New Zealand and overseas.  Jaydene is one of the Waikato-Tainui representative Trustees and joined the Board in 2021.  Jaydene has a particular interest is strengthening the relationship between CLW and Waikato-Tainui, with a focus on access to justice for those in need, especially Maaori. 

TRUSTEE - Sue Lane - B.Sc (Chemistry), M.A. (History) JP

Sue has been a Trustee, then Board Chair since 2000 and has advocated tirelessly and passionately for Community Law Waikato’s cause.  In 2018 Sue retired as Board Chair and trustee leaving behind a legacy of compassion and determination. Her contribution has been invaluable. 

Employees

GENERAL MANAGER - Juanita Bennett - LLB/BMS

Juanita started her journey with Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a volunteer 2005. At that time she was completing her studies at the University of Waikato, graduating with a LLB/BMS in 2006. The Centre employed Juanita in 2007 as a solicitor, followed by her promotion as Manager in 2010. “I absolutely love my involvement with the Centre and it is a privilege to be part of the mission. I firmly believe that access to legal services should be available to all individuals as opposed to only being available to the sector of society who can afford it. What inspires me the most in my role is the endless generosity and humanity of those who work collectively to help others. The words of Nelson Mandela sums it up: “A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” 

LEGAL SERVICES MANAGER – Angela Smith - LLB

Angela has been working for Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, since 2008 and has experience in a variety of legal areas.  Angela enjoys the broad range of law on offer at Community Law Waikato and holds a particular interest in working with refugee clients and refugee reunification applications.  Angela finds the work very rewarding which has kept her here for over a decade.  “What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make, one person (or starfish) at a time”. - Anon

SOLICITOR - Justin Young - LLB (Hons)

Alongside Justin’s law degree he has completed a Master’s degree in Philosophy. He has a particular interest in court work, employment and ACC law. He has worked diligently for Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, since 2012 in striving to achieve the best outcomes for his clients.

SOLICITOR - Harriet Youn - LLB/BCom
Harriet joined Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, as a solicitor in 2019. She started her career as a junior barrister in Auckland where she gained 7 years’ experience in a wide range of criminal litigation work.  She then practiced on her own account for a couple of years in Hamilton. Harriet studied law and economics at the University of Otago. 

SOLICITOR - Ellen Hockey - LLB

Ellen joined the team at Community Law Waikato in December 2019. She graduated from the University of Waikato in 2019 and was admitted to the bar in August 2020.  "What you do every day matters more than what you do once in a while." Gretchen Rubin

SOLICITOR - Claudia Russell - LLB/BA

Claudia joined the team at Community Law Waikato in September 2021.  She graduated from the University of Auckland with a BA/LLB majoring in Politics and was admitted to the bar in late 2020.  Before joining Community Law she worked at the District Court as a Family Court Registrar.  She enjoys any area of law that involves advocating for the rights of individuals.

SOLICITOR - Jadin Hooper - BSc/LLB (Hons)

Jadin joined the team at Community Law Waikato in August 2021. He graduated from the University of Waikato and was admitted to the bar in 2018. Jadin has worked in commercial and civil litigation for three years and has worked on resolving a range of disputes, including employment and family disputes. As well as a law degree Jadin holds a degree in Biochemistry. 

LEGAL ASSISTANT - Madison Russell
Watch this space!

ADVOCATE - Ben Hoffman

Ben joined our team at Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato in November 2018.  His area of expertise is benefit law (including student and seniors) and has an active interest in Accident Compensation (ACC) and administrative law (how government agencies use their powers).  He sees these areas as key to ensuring those needing support of the state can access justice.  When not at work he enjoys travelling the globe, biking or reading.  He began his law degree at Victoria University of Wellington and after some time away is currently a senior law student at the University of Waikato.

COMMUNITY LIAISON - Billie Dell - BTchg

Billie is of Ngati Whakaue descent and moved to Hamilton in 1998 from Auckland to study Education.  Billie joined Community Law Waikato - Te Tari Ture ā-Hapori o Waikato, in 2015, employed at that time as an administrator. She has recently transitioned to the Community Liaison role and is excited to take on a new challenge. Billie loves the opportunity to help people and be creative which is why she works at Community Law Waikato. ”Spend your energy on things that make a difference” - M Russell Ballard.

RECEPTIONIST – Janna Robertson

Janna joined the reception team in January 2019. Janna believes it is important to treat all clients with respect and maintain good communication.  Janna completed a law degree in 2006 and soon after, moved to Australia for 10 years. Now that Janna is back in NZ she is working towards completing her legal qualifications to become a practicing lawyer.  “Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.” - Jim Rohn

RECEPTIONIST - Jasmine Muhlmann
Jasmine joined the reception team at Community Law Waikato in June 2021. She is currently studying a Bachelor of Laws at Waikato University with a minor in political science, and has also been a volunteer case worker at Community Law since November 2020. Jasmine values respect, hard work, and morals above all else, and aspires to one day be a lawyer who exhibits all of these qualities. Jasmine admires the work Community Law does, and hopes to continue to contribute her time to them after graduating. “There is no limit to what we, as women, can accomplish.”- Michelle Obama.

Whakatauki

Maa mua ka kite a muri; Maa muri ka ora a mua.

“Those who lead give sight to those who follow, those who follow give life to those who lead”