The New Zealand Law Society has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Open Polytechnic over a new qualification for legal executives.
From 2018, the Open Polytechnic will offer the New Zealand Diploma in Legal Executive Studies. The MoU will see the Law Society and the Open Polytechnic work together over the next three years to make sure the programme meets the expectations of the legal profession.
The New Zealand Diploma in Legal Executive Studies will replace the NZLS Legal Executive Diploma, which is being phased out.
“Legal executives play a very important role in the legal profession, and the Law Society is happy to be working with the Open Polytechnic to ensure that students continue to receive a quality education,” says Tim Jones, New Zealand Law Society Vice President (Auckland).
Students who had already begun their studies in the NZLS Legal Executive Diploma, and will have completed all six papers in the diploma by the end of 2017, will be awarded this qualification by the Law Society. Students who have already begun their studies in the NZLS Legal Executive Diploma, but will not finish all six papers by the end of 2017, will transition, with cross-credits, into the new qualification, the New Zealand Diploma in Legal Executive Studies.
A legal executive is a person who works as a trained assistant to a lawyer in a legal or quasi-legal environment. The work covers a wide range of activities including searching public registers, preparing and filing documents, preparing estates, sale and purchase of real estate or a business, and debt recovery. A legal executive may interview clients on behalf of a lawyer but does not appear in court.