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Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy

14 November 2019

The Law Society and New Zealand Bar Association are promoting a policy which requires lawyers and their clients to commit to increasing the proportion of women lawyers leading court proceedings and other contentious matters.

The policy is one of a number of initiatives which are underway to improve the retention and advancement of women within the legal profession. While it is recognised that making partner or being appointed Queen’s Counsel is not necessarily the goal of all lawyers, those are positions of power and influence. At present while there are equal numbers of men and women who are lawyers in New Zealand, 31% of partners and directors are women and 19% of Queen’s Counsel are women.

Under-representation at the top end of the profession is a visible barrier to women advancing in the law. It risks sending the message to young women lawyers that they have less opportunity for advancement than their male colleagues. This may result in a loss of talent which harms the legal profession as a whole.

The Policy

The Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy is available here.

There are currently 48 adopters of the policy, consisting of both clients and supporting law firms, barristers chambers and lawyers. Details of adopters can be found below.

Adopters at launch on 5 December 2017

Clients (in order of adoption)

Westpac, Spark, Fonterra, Countdown, Stuff, Watercare, Meridian, Lion, Samsung, Auckland Airport, Chorus, ANZ, Contact, McDonalds.

Supporting law firms, barristers chambers and lawyers (in order of adoption)

Russell McVeagh, MinterEllisonRuddWatts, Buddle Findlay, Shortland Chambers, Crown Law Office, Bell Gully, Chapman Tripp, Simpson Grierson, DLA Piper New Zealand, Anderson Lloyd, Kensington Swan, Auckland Women Lawyers' Association.

Adopters following 5 December 2017

Clients (in order of adoption)

Broadcasting Standards Authority, Air New Zealand, LIC, NZ Human Rights Commission, NZ Superfund, ACC, Auckland Council.

Supporting law firms, barristers chambers and lawyers (in order of adoption)

Clifton Chambers, Wilson Harle, Brookfields, Todd & Walker Law, Webb Henderson, Barristers.comm, Bankside Chambers, Richmond Chambers, Montrose Chambers, New Zealand Law Society, FortyEight Shortland Barristers, Anthony Harper, Hesketh Henry, Sangro Chambers, Gilbert Walker.

Registration of interest

If your organisation, firm or chambers would like to adopt the policy or find out more information, please email

Last updated on the 14th November 2019