With New Zealand moving to COVID-19 Level 2 on 13 May, and a further easing of restrictions on gatherings due to come into force from midday Friday 29 May, the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa is adapting how it operates.
The Society’s Chief Executive Helen Morgan-Banda says how the organisation operates is evolving as the country adapts to government guidelines.
“We are taking the approach that we have throughout this pandemic which is to carefully follow official government guidance on how we can work and the services we can offer.
“With New Zealand officially moving to Level 2, and further restrictions now being lifted, we are working to be as responsive as we can to lawyers, members of the public and others who may use our services while following official guidelines and continuing to ensure we take all the required steps to keep people safe.
“In practice this means that the Law Society is moving toward a hybrid operating model with some services starting to be offered through libraries, branches and our bigger offices and others continuing to be offered virtually.
“We need to take the government guidelines and adapt them for our operations to ensure that we are compliant while allowing a range of activities to occur. That work is now underway.
Libraries have already developed their protocols and currently open from 9.30am – 4.30pm with COVID-19 Level 2 protocols in place and contact tracing. We will continue to review the hours fortnightly, or as government restrictions change.
Staff in some of our branches outside Auckland and Wellington are starting to work at least part-time from branch offices and we are working to support them with appropriate guidelines. We are moving to operate a hybrid model in our two biggest offices in Auckland and Wellington where staff will continue to work in their virtual offices at home most of the time but there will be also be staff working in our physical offices.
There have been some queries about whether meetings and events can be held within offices, and with the easing of some restrictions on gatherings, requests are being dealt with individually, and as long as guidelines are followed it should be possible to move to a mix of virtual and face-to-face meetings.