New Zealand Law Society - Candidate Information Pack

Candidate Information Pack

Introduction to the Independent Review

The New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa (the Law Society) has commissioned an Independent Review of the statutory framework for legal services in Aotearoa New Zealand (the Review) to examine the regulation and representation of legal services in Aotearoa New Zealand, including the structure and functions of the Law Society.

Drivers

The Law Society’s decision to commission an Independent Review has been driven by:

  • the constraints the current Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 places on the Law Society’s ability to be transparent about its complaints process and to deal with a broad range of unacceptable behaviour, including complaints of sexual harassment and bullying within the profession
  • the importance of ensuring the statutory framework, particularly those areas for which the Law Society is responsible, is fit for purpose given the changes that have occurred in the legal profession and in regulatory good practice since the Act came into force
  • the opportunity to look ahead at what is needed to ensure fair competition for legal services, and to enable innovation in the legal profession
  • an increasing expectation that modern professions strengthen their commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, the bi-cultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand, and our diverse and multi-cultural society.

Purpose

The Review will identify what changes are needed for modern and well-functioning regulation and representation of the legal profession in Aotearoa New Zealand, to promote:

  1. Public trust and confidence in the provision of legal services
  2. The protection of consumers receiving legal services
  3. Innovation and a well-functioning market for legal services
  4. A culture of safety, health and wellbeing of legal professionals
  5. The rule of law and access to and the administration of justice in Aotearoa New Zealand
  6. A commitment to honoring Te Tiriti o Waitangi and the bi-cultural foundations of Aotearoa New Zealand, including Te Ao Māori concepts
  7. Inclusion and diversity, including reflecting Aotearoa New Zealand’s multi-cultural society

Objectives

The Review will examine areas to achieve these objectives, and recommend regulatory, organisational and governance frameworks appropriate for an Aotearoa New Zealand context.

This will encompass a targeted review of the following aspects of the regulatory framework which have been identified as potential barriers to a modern and well-functioning regulatory framework:

  • whether the Law Society’s representative functions should be separated from all or some regulatory functions
  • how unacceptable conduct is prevented and addressed
  • how complaints are made and responded to, including issues relating to transparency
  • which legal services are regulated and by whom.

The Review will also consider optimal organisational and governance arrangements for the Law Society and potentially recommend changes to the New Zealand Law Society Constitution, the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, and associated rules and regulations, as appropriate.

The full terms of reference for the Review are available here on the Law Society’s website.

The Law Society notes not all options raised through an Independent Review will fall within its control. For example, recommendations for legislative change will need to be accepted by the Minister of Justice.

Approach to conducting the Independent Review

The Law Society is now establishing a Panel to undertake the Independent Review and has charged an Independent Steering Group to undertake a transparent selection process and recommend appointments to the Board.

The Panel will be supported and advised by a Secretariat which will be appointed through a closed tender process that will conclude following the appointment of the Review Panel.

The composition, role and responsibilities of the Panel and supporting Secretariat are set out below. 

Composition of the Review Panel

The Panel will comprise three members, one of whom will act as Chair. Membership will include:

  • one member with experience in consumer protection, and
  • one member with an understanding of the professional and commercial rigours of legal practice.

Time commitment and fees for the Review Panel

We anticipate the Review will begin in February 2022. The Panel will undertake the Review over nine to 12 months. The estimated time commitment will be three days/week for the Chair and two days/week for each Panel member, on average.

It is likely there will be periods during the Review when there are more intensive time commitments required (for example, during engagement phases) and the overall time commitment will be worked flexibly according to the requirements of the Review methodology.

Panel member fees will be determined by applying the principles from the Cabinet Fees Framework [CO (19) 1].

Role of the Review Panel

The Panel will undertake a process of inquiry as set out in the Review terms of reference and deliver a comprehensive report incorporating recommendations that will be made publicly available.  In undertaking the Review, the Panel will be expected to:

  • consult with appropriate stakeholders and the wider community, taking reasonable care to ensure engagement and input reflects the diversity of the profession and the community
  • run a well-managed process, to time and to agreed quality standards including robust evidence-based recommendations
  • undertake regular engagement with the Law Society Board and management to ensure no surprises
  • share a provisional draft of the review with the Law Society Board, providing the Board with an opportunity to comment on accuracy and fit with scope.

Responsibilities of Panel members

All Panel members are expected to:

  • provide thought leadership and direct the work of the Review
  • undertake engagement with stakeholders to consult on the Review
  • provide direction to the Secretariat on the structure and content of the Review Report, review drafts, and agree final draft

In addition, the Chair is expected to:

  • chair all meetings of the Panel 
  • act as the key contact point for the Secretariat
  • lead the engagement hui, and
  • monitor and report on progress.

The Panel will also be expected to operate in accordance with the guiding principles underpinning the methodology of the review include:

  • commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • ease of participation – providing options and choices, and seeking out unheard voices
  • confidentiality and anonymity by the reviewer of individual views and information where requested
  • transparency of process
  • fairness and respect.

Secretariat role and responsibilities  

The Secretariat will include a Principal Advisor who will act as the key contact point for the Chair and Panel, and oversee the Secretariat.

The role of Secretariat is to:

  • lead on reviewing documents, undertaking research and organising stakeholder engagements
  • support the Panel to distil insights
  • lead on drafting the Review report
  • provide expert advice in key technical competency areas
  • provide expertise required by the competency framework that is not held in the Panel
  • provide expertise to support engagement with diverse communities
  • programme management including controls, risk management, monitoring and reporting.

Specification for Review Panel members

All candidates need to support the purpose of the Review and have an appreciation of the role and value of a modern and well-functioning legal profession to the wellbeing of all New Zealanders.

Specifically, we are looking for candidates who demonstrate and can show evidence of the following:

Required by all candidates

An understanding of the responsibilities of an independent reviewer

  • A commitment to uphold the principles of Te Tiriti o Waitangi
  • Excellent judgement, and high standards of personal integrity and conduct
  • Intellectual courage, critical thinking and analytic capability, with the ability to apply this to new contexts
  • Strong interpersonal skills, demonstrating curiosity and active listening, and the ability to work collaboratively
  • Ability to communicate ideas and information clearly and succinctly
  • Tenacity and resilience, with a willingness to work through challenges
  • An understanding of contemporary diverse and multi-cultural Aotearoa New Zealand, able to engage with a diverse range of stakeholders
  • Capacity to meet the time requirements of the role

Candidates who can contribute skills and experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Experience in consumer protection
  • An understanding of the professional and commercial rigours of legal practice
  • Independent review experience with a demonstrated track record of undertaking independent reviews in complex stakeholder environments
  • Expertise and demonstrated experience in one or more areas of examination for the Review  
  • Modern regulatory practice that provides for competition and innovation
  • Good practice in complaints management and dispute resolution processes
  • Traditional legal frameworks, and their application in contemporary Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Public policy
  • Machinery of government
  • The strategic, fiduciary and generative responsibilities of governance, and of good practice governance arrangements.
  • Methodologies to design efficient and effective organisational arrangements to meet strategic objectives    
  • Stakeholder engagement and communications, applying good practice methodologies and tactics to engage, communicate and collaborate with diverse stakeholders and strong writing skills with the ability to tailor to audiences 
  • Culture and change management, applying good practice methodologies and tactics to create culture change that supports strategic objectives
  • Finance and risk management in agile environments

Desirable understanding and experience

  • Membership organisations, particularly of professional bodies
  • Para-legal professions and organisations, and legal education bodies
  • Relevant government agencies
  • Tikanga practice and working with mana whenua, iwi and Māori groups and organisations
  • The interests and needs of Aotearoa’s diverse and multi-cultural society

Collectively, the Panel should bring diversity in terms of demographics, cognitive capabilities, geography and experience.


The Independent Steering Group may consider that some collective competencies may be provided or strengthened by the supporting Secretariat.

To apply, please complete the Expression of Interest form available here and return it to independentreview@lawsociety.org.nz no later than 9.00 am on Monday 15 November.

For an informal discussion, contact Robyn Ward on 021 751 960.

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