MATTHEW Phipps hopes to specialise in 21st century legal issues like intellectual property disputes and network security consultancy when he finishes his law degree.
Matthews, who completed Year 12 at Coffs Harbour Christian Community College last year, is the 2006 winner of the annual Fishburn Watson O'Brien Law Scholarship.
He said his interest in a legal career was sparked by taking part in the Mock Trial Competition at school.
He is now looking forward to beginning his four-year degree in law and information technology in May at Queensland's Bond University.
Kelli Dugdale, one of Fishburn Watson O'Brien's key Family Law solicitors, presented Matthew with his $1500 scholarship cheque and the perpetual trophy for the school on Friday.
Ms Dugdale said the firm had been offering the scholarship for 17 years, hoping to encourage students from the Coffs Coast to study law and return to the area. She said legal clients preferred to work with lawyers who understood the region and had personal ties to the area.
Ms Dugdale hopes Matthew Phipps will also return for work experience with the firm. She said specialisation was increasingly necessary for lawyers and work experience allowed students to sample various specialty areas of the law for them.
Year 12 students around the Coffs Coast from the Nambucca Valley to Woolgoolga and west to Bellingen can apply for the scholarship, either by contacting Fishburn Watson O'Brien's office or through their website www.fwolaw.com