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Practice Briefings

A series of practical, downloadable guides for lawyers.

Addressing members of the Judiciary

4 April 2016 (PDF File, 455.9 KB)

Being able to appear as an advocate for any person before any New Zealand court or tribunal is one of the areas of work expressly reserved for New Zealand lawyers. As advocates, it is obviously important that lawyers observe the correct forms of address in their dealings with members of the judiciary. This Practice Briefing summarises the expected forms of judiciary address, both in the courtroom and in written communications.

Awards and Prizes for New Zealand Lawyers

25 January 2014 (PDF File, 523.4 KB)

Achievement in the New Zealand legal profession is recognised by the award of a number of annual prizes and scholarships. This Practice Briefing lists the best known prizes and scholarships which are awarded in New Zealand annually.

Certification under the Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009

30 January 2014 (PDF File, 588.1 KB)

The Anti-Money Laundering and Countering Financing of Terrorism Act 2009 ("the Act") requires "reporting entities" to conduct customer due diligence on their customers, their customers' beneficial owners and anyone acting on behalf of their customers. Lawyers are not yet reporting entities. However, they are asked to certify documentation by the customers of reporting entities such as banks, and there is some doubt as to how this should now be carried out. This Practice Briefing provides information on the wording which lawyers may use when certifying such documentation. It has been compiled from legal advice provided to the New Zealand Law Society and is intended to provide guidance in an area where there are no definitive procedures.

Choosing trust account and practice management software

28 January 2016 (PDF File, 225.8 KB)

Choosing, changing or upgrading your office (trust account and/or practice management) software is a significant investment. This practice briefing is intended to provide general guidance to lawyers considering office software solutions, and lists a number of matters that should be thought about before investments or decisions are made. It is a guide to good practice only, and does not constitute legal advice. As always, a lawyer must use professional judgement before deciding on office software investments, and if in doubt, seek specialist advice from vendors.

Closing down or selling a law firm

3 October 2014 (PDF File, 553.4 KB)

There are a variety of reasons why a practitioner might cease being in practice, including: retirement, incapacity, wanting a life style or career change, a practitioner has died, partners have agreed to dissolve the partnership, the practice is no longer pro-fitable, the practitioner is bankrupted, imprisoned, suspended or struck off, or they merely no longer want the responsibility of management. There are a number of regulatory and procedural requirements if a practitioner decides to close down or sell a law firm. Because of the number of steps to be taken, doing so will require forward planning.

Cloud Computing guidelines for lawyers

26 June 2014 (PDF File, 510.9 KB)

Legal practices are increasingly using cloud storage and software systems as an alternative to in-house data storage and IT programmes. This Practice Briefing aims to give Law Society members helpful guidance on best practices for moving to the cloud. It examines how cloud computing can be used while maintaining lawyers' professional obligations.

Correctly addressing parties of Asian descent

10 December 2015 (PDF File, 1.3 MB)

This Practice Briefing explains how some Asian (particularly Chinese) names should be presented and used, and recommends that solicitors and counsel clearly ascertain from their clients how they prefer to be named.

Counsel moving admission to the High Court

5 April 2016 (PDF File, 484.3 KB)

Over 900 New Zealanders are admitted as barristers and solicitors of the High Court each year. The admission ceremony is a significant event in the life of every new lawyer. While admission is a celebratory occasion, it is also a court proceeding. Often counsel who move admission do not normally appear in court and have become involved because the candidate is a relative or colleague. This Practice Briefing has been prepared by the Law Society to provide advice and information for lawyers who want to move an application for admission to the High Court.

Email scams which target lawyers

25 January 2014 (PDF File, 471.1 KB)

Lawyers are not immune from being targeted by criminals who seek to exploit some of the work practices used by the legal profession. New Zealand lawyers have been sent a number of emails by fraudsters, almost always based outside the country. This Practice Briefing provides information on the most commonlyencountered scams in New Zealand and suggests some tests for detecting them.

FATCA and New Zealand Law Firms

22 April 2015 (PDF File, 480.6 KB)

The FATCA agreement between New Zealand and United States is directed at reducing tax evasion by US taxpayers. New Zealand law firms with trust accounts may possibly be defined as "financial institutions" and could be subject to FATCA provisions. FATCA has implications for the way New Zealand law firms with trust account conduct their practice. Law firms should consider whether the agreement applies to them and what action they will need to take. This Practice Briefing provides information on the regime to assist law firms with assessing their particular position and FATCA obligations.

Financial Advisers legislation - implications for lawyers

14 November 2013 (PDF File, 508.0 KB)

All New Zealand lawyers will need a clear understanding of the 2008 Financial Advisers legislation in their daily practice. The intention of this Practice Briefing is to assist lawyers with their understanding of the practical application of the legislation.

Getting started with Twitter

4 April 2016 (PDF File, 440.9 KB)

Like all social networking services, Twitter can be used by businesses and organisations, to promote awareness of their presence, to make announcements and to comment on news, and to point clients or others to information which may be of use to them. The information in this Practice Briefing is based on the New Zealand Law Society's experience in setting up and operating a Twitter account.

Guidance to lawyers considering acting under a limited retainer

3 February 2016 (PDF File, 240.4 KB)

This practice briefing is intended as a guide to good practice for lawyers undertaking limited retainers (also known as "unbundled" legal services). While intended to encourage lawyers to consider offering limited retainers, this briefing is not legal advice. It is hoped lawyers will benefit generally from the guidance contained in this practice briefing, but as always each lawyer must apply her/his own professional judgement in determining how and in what circumstances to offer unbundled legal services.

How to recognise an email scam

14 April 2016 (PDF File, 454 KB)

Lawyers open lots of emails every day. Increasingly, individual fraudsters and networks of scammers are using hoax emails to trick people into sending money, giving away private information, or exposing their home or organisation’s computer network to malicious software and viruses. This Practice Briefing is a guide to help lawyers recognise email scams. 

Keeping personal details on the electoral roll confidential

2 March 2016 (PDF File, 435.1 KB)

Section 82 of the Electoral Act 1993 requires anyone who is qualified to be registered as an elector to register. Details of electors are compiled to create rolls for each electoral district. Section 106 requires the electoral rolls to show the names, residences and occupations of all enrolled electors and under section 110 copies of the rolls must be kept for inspection at the Office of the Registrar of Electors. This Practice Briefing provides information for lawyers with clients who have genuine reasons for requiring their details to be kept off the electoral roll.

Law Society Legal Research Facilities

25 June 2012 (PDF File, 213.1 KB)

The New Zealand Law Society's Library is one of New Zealand's most comprehensive legal information resources. The Library is a private library which is not open to the general public. Library services are provided to members and associate members of the Law Society, the judiciary and Ministry of Justice court staff.

Lawyers nominee companies and contributory mortgages

18 January 2014 (PDF File, 517.5 KB)

The rules governing lawyers nominee companies are contained in the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Nominee Company) Rules 2008. In force since 1 August 2008, all law firms which operate lawyer nominee companies are required to comply with the requirements. The Law Society's Board approved guidelines to assist with compliance and this Practice Briefing reproduces them.

Offering legal services on the internet

29 April 2013 (PDF File, 327.2 KB)

A growing number of websites offer legal services to New Zealand consumers, ranging from conveyancing to applications for limited drivers' licences. It is not clear that all of them comply with legal requirements imposed on lawyers practising in New Zealand. This Practice Briefing has been prepared by the Law Society to provide information on the requirements under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 and associated regulations which are of particular relevance to providers of online legal services.

Practice Management Systems in New Zealand

27 June 2012 (PDF File, 523.2 KB)

New Zealand lawyers have a number of different practice management systems to choose from. These have either been developed in New Zealand or adapted from a system used overseas. Obviously each law practice has its own needs and a decision on which system is best for a particular set of requirements can only be made by the practice concerned. The information in this Practice Briefing was gathered in December 2011 to provide a description of basic features and published in the 16 December 2011 issue of the Law Society's LawTalk magazine.

Privacy considerations when communicating with third parties

19 December 2014 (PDF File, 239.4 KB)

Lawyers have obligations under both the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 and the Privacy Act 1993 to protect clients' personal information. Lawyers may also have some obligations in relation to a third party's personal information. This Practice Briefing looks at these and offers some practical steps for managing those obligations.

Property transactions with potential methamphetamine contamination

8 December 2015 (PDF File, 1.3 MB)

As the problem of clandestine methamphetamine laboratories or "P-labs" continues to rise, lawyers and their clients need to be aware of the risks and tell-tale signs to look for at a property. Through a well-informed lawyer, clients can avoid costly mistakes in purchasing a property contaminated by this most dangerous of drugs.

Protecting clients' personal information

19 June 2014 (PDF File, 477.4 KB)

Developments in technology mean lawyers must have robust and secure procedures to protect their clients' personal information. The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act (Lawyers: Conduct and Client Care) Rules 2008 require lawyers to protect and hold in strict confidence all information concerning a client which is acquired in the course of the professional relationship. This Practice Briefing aims to give Law Society members helpful guidance on best practices for storing personal information. It is not intended to be an industry standard, nor does it provide a defence to misconduct or improper professional practice.

Running an effective internal complaints process

6 March 2014 (PDF File, 1.3 MB)

This Practice Briefing aims to provide best practice information for lawyers on responding to complaints and establishing an effective system for complaint investigation and resolution. While it refers to "law firms", it applies to all lawyers in private practice.

Seeking employment as a lawyer

20 January 2014 (PDF File, 555.6 KB)

This Practice Briefing provides advice and information on best practices for seeking employment as a provider of legal services. The information has been compiled by the New Zealand Law Society and is aimed at first-time job seekers, although the information will also be useful to anyone who is attempting to change employment.

Working as a law firm consultant

25 January 2014 (PDF File, 432.3 KB)

Lawyers who choose to work as consultants may have a number of reasons for doing so. Consulting can offer greater flexibility in working and the opportunity to work fewer hours with less administration. It is quite common for partners in law firms to move to the role of consultant as one of the steps towards retirement. Becoming a consultant usually involves a change in employment status and raises some professional regulatory issues. This Practice Briefing has been prepared by the Law Society to provide relevant advice and information on the requirements for lawyers who work as consultants.

Last updated on the 14th April 2016