New Zealand Law Society

Navigation menu

Joining the legal profession

All New Zealand lawyers are regulated by the Law Society when they provide any legal services, conveyancing services or services provided by undertaking the work of a real estate agent. In New Zealand anybody may provide legal services, but only lawyers may carry out work in the reserved areas of law.

It is an offence for anybody who is not a lawyer or incorporated law firm to provide legal services under a misleading description.

The prerequisites for practising as a lawyer in New Zealand are admission as a barrister and solicitor of the High Court of New Zealand and holding a current practising certificate from the Law Society. A lawyer may practise either as a barrister and solicitor or as a barrister sole. A barrister and solicitor may be:

  • employed by a law firm or incorporated law firm
  • employed as a corporate lawyer (in-house counsel)
  • a director and/or shareholder in an incorporated law firm
  • in practice on own account as a sole practitioner or partner in a law firm.

All lawyers must comply with the fundamental obligations as set out in s4 of the LCA, including obligations to uphold the rule of law and to facilitate the administration of justice in New Zealand, and to protect the interests of their clients (subject to their overriding duties as officers of the High Court and under legislation).

Last updated on the 3rd June 2015