It is both a pleasure and a privilege to have been elected the New Zealand Law Society Vice-President Auckland and I look forward during my term to serving the legal profession in this role.
My involvement with the Law Society has been a longstanding and enjoyable part of my career. I first became involved when I was a relatively junior employment practitioner. At that time I worked on both the local and then the national employment law committees and was part of a team that established networking events for the employment bar that have now become tradition.
This involvement also took me on road shows and got me up speaking publicly as a young lawyer, and involved in the law reform process when issues arose. The work and the associated skill development delivered a wide range of benefits to my professional and personal development.
I was elected a member of the Auckland Branch Council in 2012 and have enthusiastically embraced the opportunity to have a part in the national organised profession.
For this reason, I highly recommend that young practitioners take the opportunity to volunteer with the Law Society and get involved at a branch and national level.
It is important for lawyers to remember that the practice of law is a profession, and with that comes certain responsibilities, especially in regard to mentoring future generations and ensuring the sustainability of the profession.
I have a keen interest in supporting young people into a legal career and discussing issues that may arise in their pursuit of the profession.
Appreciating that we are all time poor and often don’t have the resources to have even a cup of coffee with close friends or family as often as we would like, I would still encourage you to try and give time to a young person who is interested or entering a career in law as well as those who are facing challenges in their career.
My passion for encouraging young people is built on personal experience of what it can mean to a person. A friend of a friend was generous enough to spend some time giving me ideas of where to go and what a career in the law entailed when I started at law school. She then gave me advice on where to go when I graduated. Her advice made a huge difference to me in the early years of my career.
The need to give advice, build relationships, and be involved in the profession, is not limited to youth and I encourage everyone in the profession to network and provide each other with collegial support and guidance.
While we may sometimes come head to head in the courtroom and compete for business, we need to work together to ensure that professional standards across the board are consistently of the highest quality and the public can have confidence in the quality of the legal profession as a whole.
Our obligations to our clients and overriding obligation to the court as well as our professional responsibilities is what makes our profession stand out and requires us to operate to a high standard.
New Zealand Law Society Vice-President, Auckland