Twins raise the bar

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    Makareta (left) and Katarina Coote as a barrister and solicitor at the Invercargill High Court this week. Photo: Luisa Girao

    THEY look the same, share similar interests and now a pair of Bluff twins have the same profession.

    Katarina Coote (22) was sworn in as a barrister and solicitor by her twin sister Makareta Coote at the High Court in Invercargill this week.

    “I feel really happy to have my sister here on my side,” Katarina said. Both women earned law degrees from the University of Otago, but Katarina had to take an extra semester to complete some of her papers meant she could be sworn in by her sister.

    The semester was the longest time the twins had ever spent apart.

    “I continued studying in Dunedin, while Makareta returned home. It was really good this time for me because I had the assurance I can do the things on my own. Now, I feel more confident,” Katarina said.

    The twins’ parents raised them to be independent.

    Makareta said despite their parents’ best efforts, they developed similar tastes.

    “We like the same foods, colours in school were quite similar,” she said.

    Katarina agreed. “Our mother never dressed us with the same outfits or treated us the same. She always encouraged us to be different and stimulate our individuality.

    “But, to be honest, in the end, we wanted the same things.”

    Katarina and Makareta were the first generation of lawyers in the family an achievement which made the whole family proud.

    Both were led to the profession during an open day.

    They bumped into Otago University law professor Mark Henaghan in a lift, who suggested they try the law lecture and it was there that their passion for the field was ignited.

    “We never thought of law before that day and probably, if we had not met him, we would have chosen completely different things.” However, the sisters stressed they had chosen different specialties for their legal careers.

    While Makareta enjoyed property law, Katarina wanted to go into criminal practice.

    Makareta, who is the elder by three minutes and had started working already, advised her sister to continue to be herself. “Be honest, true to yourself and listen to your heart.”

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