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Message from the Law Society President

By Law Society President Kathryn Beck

The promotion and retention of women in the law is an issue that requires ongoing and continuous reflection. There is no easy answer.

photo of Kathryn Beck  

With women making up more than 60% of current legal graduates the profession cannot afford to continue to lose some of its best and brightest before they reach the senior ranks. From a purely economic perspective the poor retention rates of female lawyers is a great cost for firms and organisations in terms of time, training and talent. From a competitive perspective a lack of gender diversity, particularly at management level, may result in underperformance both organisationally and financially.

It is essential that we begin to discuss and address the root causes of why women are leaving the profession and are underrepresented in leadership positions. We need to examine the culture of the profession, recognise where barriers to women's progression exist and be willing to encourage systemic change where necessary.

At the end of 2015 the New Zealand Law Society established the Women's Advisory Panel. Through 2016 this has been looking at a combination of initiatives that have been historically successful, as well as some new initiatives. We are looking to try some different approaches as well as to assess what has been done and what has been successful. This will not happen overnight, but the basis is now in place.

This webpage forms part of a number of Law Society initiatives aimed at supporting the advancement and retention of women in the profession. We hope it will be a starting place for discussion, a door to accessing resources and information, and a site where best practice and innovative solutions can be shared.

Last updated on the 4th August 2016