Bradley Arona-Waqanivavalagi
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Bradley Arona-Waqanivavalagi

Graduate, MC
“I have access to some of the best litigators in the country that are helping me to hone my skills making this a great career starter.”

What kind of work have you been involved with at MC?

As a graduate and junior solicitor at the Tāmaki Makaurau office, I have been involved in many different aspects of criminal work with the Crown Specialist team. I started at MC in the Crown Specialist Team in February 2022 and for the majority of my time, I have assisted in prosecuting serious crime. My days usually consists of assisting senior prosecutors with a range of tasks including drafting appeal submissions, and appearing in court on bail matters and sentencing hearings. Since my admission, I have also had my own files allocated to me which I see through from start to finish.

MC also funds and runs the Te Kuhunga Scholarship Programme. This is an initiative targeted at high school students from lower decile schools who want to study law. The Programme gives several students financial support in their first year, as well as mentor and academic support. As a member of the Te Kuhunga sub-committee, I dedicate some of my time to facilitating this programme.

What is unique about working at MC?

The training and guidance given at MC to be able to run your own criminal files is very unique. You have access to some of the best litigators in the country and are supported every step of the way to be able to do criminal appearances on your own and work your way up to running your own jury trials.

As the Auckland Crown Warrant covers such a large area, we have a lot of files coming through to MC. The experience you get working on such a variety of criminal files has been invaluable. I thought that it would be a steep learning curve because of the number of files, but we have such great support systems in place at MC which make the process manageable and achievable.

What career steps have you taken to get to this point?

In early 2015 I was lucky enough to observe Judge Recordon in Te Kooti Rangatahi (the Māori Youth Court). From there, I have taken a particular interest in youth law and criminal law. From there, I studied completed my BA/LLB (hons) while tutoring numerous students while I studied. Although I was quite keen on criminal and youth law, I made sure I stayed open minded.

I wanted to cover a range of aspects of the law with my study, and consciously picked papers that I might not have otherwise considered. I believe it is important to keep an open mind and keep all your options open for the future. I apply the same philosophy to my work at MC because although criminal law is a big part of the firm, MC also covers a range of other legal areas as well with more than 25 practice areas.

What has been your favourite experience at MC?

My favourite part of my work at MC so far has been Te Kuhunga. Working with the scholarship recipients and talking to high school students about their aspirations is very fulfilling work. The students we have had in 2022 have been so diligent and eager to learn so it has been very rewarding.

One particular day, we had students from three different kura kaupapa schools come to the office and the day was run only in te reo Māori. It is very inspiring for me to see that MC has the capacity to facilitate a day like that.

Did anything surprise you while working at MC?

I was really surprised at the responsibility you can take on as a junior at MC. Right from when you are admitted to the bar, you become responsible for your own files. This gives you a lot of responsibility early on in your legal career and gives you a wealth of experience on what happens in the life of a criminal file. It is also great to know that criminal work is not the only experience you can obtain at MC. MC covers a lot of different areas of the law such as commercial, civil, regulatory, employment and many more.

One particular day, we had students from three different kura kaupapa schools come to the office and the day was run only in te reo Māori. It is very inspiring for me to see that MC has the capacity to facilitate a day like that.

What do you enjoy about working at MC?

I often find that no two days are the same. In the Crown Specialist team, each matter we attend to is different and unique. This keeps the content and work exciting, and I feel that I am always learning. Practically, one day I may be drafting different types of submissions, and the next I will be before the Court. I enjoy the variety and keeps work from being monotonous.

I have had to make some urgent Court appearances on short notice which can be nerve-wracking, but I’m actually grateful for these moments because I had to adapt and as a result I developed and grew my skills.

What is your advice to other students who would like to work with MC?

It is important to keep an open mind throughout your study and into your career and embrace situations where you might not feel the most comfortable. I was very nervous for my first appearance in Court. But discomfort breeds growth and MC gives you the tools and support you need to be able to make appearances early in your career.

The training at MC, the willingness of everyone to share their knowledge and the support from my peers has allowed me to hone my advocacy skills and continue my development as a junior lawyer.


“MC is New Zealand’s largest litigation firm, by far. 

About the firm

MC is by far Aotearoa New Zealand’s largest litigation firm. It is one of most established law firms in the country with over 160 lawyers in our Auckland and Wellington offices. As Office of the Crown Solicitor at Auckland, MC is the repository and custodian of specialist knowledge accrued over generations to benefit the Crown, while ensuring prosecution decisions are independent from politicians.

But most of our work now comes from litigation beyond the Crown warrant. We’re a blended firm, with our litigators doing Crown prosecutions and every other kind of litigation and legal work.

MC derives legitimacy from Te Tiriti o Waitangi and our lawyers pride themselves on their multicultural and inclusive world-view. In Auckland and Wellington, we’re about collaboration, honesty, accountability, excellence, and doing the right thing every day.

Working at the firm

If litigation is your thing, there’s really only one major firm for you.

With an average age of 31, MC leads on social justice and we encourage our team to take part in movements they support.

Women make up 65% of our team and 41% of our partners. We eliminated the gender pay gap six years ago and everyone who works with us is paid the Living Wage.

At MC, you’ll be working with clients and appearing in court in your first year. But, don’t worry – no firm invests as much in litigation training. You’ll be taught by New Zealand’s top litigators in our MC Training Courtroom – an exact replica of an Auckland High Courtroom, the only one of its type in Australasia.

And your wellbeing comes first. We’re the first firm in the Asia Pacific region to achieve WELL v2 precertification from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). Plus we have free barista coffee for our team all day.

 Sound good? Get in touch.

Opportunities for students

MC’s Winter Internship Programme focuses on developing you as a lawyer – taking what you’re learning in lectures and putting it to the test.

The Internship is new, practical and spread out over more than two months.

During your time with us you’ll meet all our MC players and immerse yourself in a team where you’ll do meaningful work and learn from the best in the business.

Winter is our busiest time which means you’ll see how we work together and support each other to get results for our clients.

To find out more, contact or visit our website.

Crown Specialist Team

Renee Zhang