Up to 300 Victoria University law students and their supporters marched from the Wellington Law School grounds to Midland Park on Lambton Quay today, demanding safe work places for all training and graduate lawyers.
The protest follows sexual harassment allegations made earlier this year concerning the treatment of some interns who were working for law firm Russell McVeagh about two years ago, during a summer clerk programme.
Students from the Victoria University of Wellington Students’ Association (VUWSA), Victoria University of Wellington Law Students’ Society (VUWLSS) and the VUW Feminist Law Society (VUWFLS) led the “March on Midland: Rally to End Sexual Violence”.
They chanted slogans aimed at Russell McVeagh. The firm’s office is situated on the 24th floor of one of the buildings overlooking Midland Park.
“We deserve to be confident that we will be treated with dignity and respect at work, at university, at home - everywhere,” says Bethany Paterson, VUWSA Welfare Vice President and a fifth year law student.
“We want senior lawyers to mentor and teach us, rather than be reduced to objects to stare at and grope. There is no amount of re-wording, re-phrasing, or re-drafting that can justify sexual assault and harassment in the workplace. We are trusting you with our careers and ambitions, please take care of them and us,” she says.
Members of the Faculty of Law were also present at the protest including, Dean of Law, Professor Mark Hickford, lecturer Yvette Tinsley, along with lawyer Steph Dyhrberg, who is convenor of the Wellington Women Lawyers' Association and Vice-President of the Wellington Branch of the New Zealand Law Society.