New Zealand Law Society - Law Society appoints independent Board member

Law Society appoints independent Board member

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Christchurch-based social entrepreneur Jason Pemberton has joined the New Zealand Law Society’s Board. It is the first time that someone from outside the legal profession has been actively involved in helping set the Law Society’s direction.

To meet the requirements of the Law Society’s constitution, Mr Pemberton’s status is an independent Board observer. His role is paid and he has full speaking rights at each meeting of the Board.

“Jason’s participation in Board meetings brings new perspectives and experiences to the table. This is a very important time for the Law Society and the legal profession as we focus on initiating and implementing significant cultural change,” says Law Society President Kathryn Beck.

“Until now the Board has been made up of the President and four Vice-Presidents, representing Auckland, the central North Island, Wellington and the South Island. It must be stressed that they provide very sound governance and fully represent the views of the profession. This has now been enhanced by including someone from outside the profession who brings other viewpoints.

“Our experiences and research over the past year have shown that a significant proportion of New Zealand’s lawyers operate in environments where stress, harassment and bullying and other workplace issues have a major impact.

“We are totally committed to addressing this in a wide variety of ways which range from the Culture Change Taskforce through improvements to the Practising Well initiative, the Gender Equality Charter, a focus on enhancing diversity, modifications to the regulatory mechanisms we operate under and also in the governance of the legal profession. Jason Pemberton’s inclusion on the Board is another very welcome step on this road.”

Mr Pemberton, 31, has a background in Human Resource Development and has been active in a wide range of charitable and social enterprise movements. His company You Think consults to initiatives with social or environmental objectives at their heart, and he is a Director of - the online marketplace for goods and gifts, direct from New Zealand makers. He was a co-founder of the University of Canterbury Student Volunteer Army, and has governance experience in youth development, arts education, health and disability, design thinking, and with the New Zealand National Commission for UNESCO. He was instrumental in the design and delivery of the Social Enterprise World Forum in Christchurch in 2017 and is currently writing a book in service of those working on social or environmental projects.