The wide-ranging discussion on sexual harassment and work environments in the legal profession cannot be allowed to die away, New Zealand Law Society President Kathryn Beck says.
“The disclosures over the past week will have made every lawyer in New Zealand consider their workplace and also their profession.
“We know that sexual and other harassment is not something unique to lawyers. However, we must also take this as a call to action. The legal profession cannot sit and wait for things to go away or slowly change.
“The whole legal profession must take responsibility for the way it works and the way it treats sexual harassment of any degree. It is not OK and I am calling on all lawyers and others in legal workplaces to speak out if anything happens to them or if they see or hear of anything happening to their workmates.
“As a profession our goal must now be to create workplaces which are safe environments for everyone. Some firms will need a cultural change and this must become a focus and an imperative. Other firms will be models of what a safe workplace should be, and it would be sad that their efforts are obscured just because they are in the legal profession.”
Ms Beck says the Law Society is stepping up the initiatives it has been developing to encourage change.
“We will strive to provide support and make other processes available so that this change can occur as quickly as possible.”