At 18, Filipino achiever set to become Australia’s youngest lawyer
What were you doing when you were 18-years-old? For Filipino Jozef Maynard Erece, he obtained a law degree.
Last April 17, Erece was awarded a law degree by the University of Southern Queensland, setting the record to become the youngest person to ever obtain a bachelor’s degree in that institution.
Considering his achievement, the Australian Scholarships Group hailed Erece as the “the youngest lawyer to graduate at 18 years in the Southern Hemisphere.”
In a report published on the USQ’s website, the young Filipino achiever said that he pursued a law degree to be able to enforce positive change in society.
“I initially sought this degree in law partly due to the versatility that it offers in terms of societal navigation. Whether through law, commerce, politics, the academia or otherwise, my humanist aspiration to precipitate empirically positive change will remain a constant,” Erece was quoted as saying.
He is currently taking a Graduate Certificate in Legal Practice at Queensland University of Technology. By June, he will be able to practice law in Australia.
Asked about his future plans, Erece said he planned to be admitted to the Bar Association of Queensland and to take further post-graduate study.
Born and raised in New Zealand in 1996 to Filipino parents, educator Maynard Erece and Dr. Josephine Ana Borja, he was considered a gifted child: at three-years-old, he started reading and by the time he was eight, he was able to publish a book in New Zealand.
Erece’s ascent to become Australia’s youngest lawyer was marked by stellar academic feats: his schooling was accelerated by three years. When he was 11 he was already a high school senior and graduated Valedictorian in the St. Peter’s Catholic School in Cambridge, New Zealand.
He was invited by the prestigious Stanford University to study under its Institutes’ Program, a special course for gifted youth where they can take university subjects, but he and his family turned it down.
Erece then entered USQ in 2012 for his bachelor degree in Law and completed it in just three years.
Aside from excelling in his academics, Erece is also an accomplished basketball player and taekwondo jin.
Towering at 6-foot-two-inches, he became the youngest player to play in the semi-professional Greater Brisbane League Gold tournament and has been invited to play for the Nike All-Australian tour to the United States.
He holds a third Dan black belt from the Kukkiwon World Taekwondo Headquarters in Korea and is the youngest local instructor of that martial art.
Aside from dabbling in sports, he is also an accomplished violinist, having performed with the Waikato Youth Orchestra and Saint John’s Sacred Heart College combined Orchestra in New Zealand.
In 2013, an 18-year-old American Gabrielle Turnquest became the youngest barrister admitted to the Bar of England and Wales, breaking a 600-year record.