Law Students Sell SOULS for CV Padding

SOULS – the Society of Otago University Law Students – is holding its Annual General Meeting this Monday August 20, followed by elections for the ten volunteer members of the 2013 Student Executive. The AGM will run from 11am to 5pm in the 8th Floor Common Room of the Richardson Building, and will feature a President’s Report, a presentation of the Treasurer’s Financial Statement, and votes on constitutional matters. One law student described this six-hour AGM as “one hour of routine procedural matters followed by a five-hour circle-jerk”.

SOULS is an incorporated society and a registered charity under the Charities Act, although Critic wonders how loose the definition of “charity” must be to include hundreds of future corporates. The SOULS constitution sets out nine listed objectives for the society. In short, these objectives are to: protect students, organise activities, produce a publication, organise competitions, encourage students to participate in inter-university competitions, involve students legally in the community, facilitate contact between staff and students, and cooperate with the Law Faculty and OUSA.

Dean of Law, Professor Mark Henaghan, told Critic that “SOULS is a very vibrant, active law student society. The work SOULS does makes a huge difference to the life of the Law Faculty. SOULS is involved in every aspect of life in the Law Faculty – educational, mentoring, careers, competitions, social and community outreach. We have been very fortunate to have strong, committed, imaginative leaders in SOULS over the years and we hope for the same in this year’s election.”

A second year law student, who wishes to remain anonymous, speculated that the sole purpose of SOULS is to get people drunk, with the notorious second year Law Camp being defined by alcohol, and tickets to the recent Law Ball coming with six free drinks. Just how SOULS has slipped under the political correctness radar of contemporary times leaves Critic baffled and wishing that OUSA could steal SOULS’ notes.

As Critic went to print, promotional candidate pages were appearing all over Facebook. Alongside prolific use of the word “chat” in a meaningless and cringeworthy context, a few gems of our nation’s future courtrooms stuck out like a non-Karen Walker wearer entering Richardson alongside her top-knotted peers. One particular hopeful compared himself to Belarusian shot-putters, promised to streak at a sports event next year, and used the age-old line “if you are going to throw away your vote, please throw it away to me”. Fortunately, one of the more intelligent campaigners promised that her “first course of action is to ban the use of ‘chat’ as a noun.”

The process by which the reigning SOULS exec passes the baton to their successors is as steeped in tradition as the legal system itself. Custom dictates that one person will be tacitly approved for each position by the current exec. Any candidate who runs in opposition to one of these anointed candidates will be met with disapproval and/or ostracism from the law student fraternity. To be fair, the 2012 SOULS elections appear to have at least temporarily bucked this incestuous tradition, with not a single candidate running for a position unopposed.

The SOULS exec is somewhat bloated, with ten exec members representing just 800 students. The ten positions being contested, and the candidates running in the elections, are as follows:


Emma Haggas, Tom Latimour, Andrew Row


Edward Bowie, Sam Davison


Chris McKegg, George Milne, Mikayla Zandstra

Education and Welfare Representative:

Georgia Angus, Sam Kember

Sports Representative:

Angus Grayson, Sam Sygrove

Publications Representative:

Caleb Grove, Sarah Reese, Lulu Sandston, Sam Teppett

Social Representatives (x2):

Lucy Brittain, Lizzie Christmas, Sophie Craig, James Lansdowne

Competitions Representative (x2):

Ella Collis, Alex Low, Nicolette Luke, Jonny Mahon-Heap, Derek McLachlan, Yasmin Olsen

Each of these positions provides valuable CV-padding for the successful candidate, and given SOULS’ high exec-to-student ratio, the level of effort required throughout the year is similar to that expended on the average assignment for which plussage applies.

Unlike in previous years, it would be misleading to say that there is absolutely no point in voting, so Critic will stop short of saying this outright. Good luck, and may the candidate with the greatest number of facebook friends win!
This article first appeared in Issue 21, 2012.
Posted 4:26pm Sunday 19th August 2012 by Zane Pocock.