There has been a steady increase in the number of legal workplaces committing to the New Zealand Law Society Gender Equality Charter, with law firms, in-house legal teams and barristers from around the country signing up.
But a faster uptake is needed, Women’s Advisory Panel Chair Chris Moore says.
37 legal workplaces have signed up to the New Zealand Law Society’s Gender Equality Charter.
“Let’s see how quickly we can make that 137 workplaces,” Mr Moore says.
“There have been some disturbing information about the culture of the legal profession over the last few days. Signing up to the Charter is a powerful statement that your legal workplace is prepared to commit to cultural change,” he says
The Charter is a set of commitments aimed at improving the retention and advancement of women lawyers. The specific commitments include tackling unconscious bias, encouraging flexible working, closing the gender pay gap and promoting equitable instructions. Charter signatories are asked to meet these commitments over a two-year period and report on progress to the Law Society.
Some of the large law firms who have signed up to the Charter include Simpson Grierson, Buddle Findlay and Bell Gully.
Other firms include Rishworth, Wall and Mathieson, Dyhrberg Drayton Employment Law, Wynn Williams and Anderson Lloyd.
The Law Society’s voluntary Gender Equality Charter was launched on 12 April in the Grand Hall of Parliament.
The Charter is open to the whole legal profession. Law firms, in-house legal teams, sole practitioners (including barristers sole) and barristers’ chambers can all sign up to signal their commitment to gender equality and inclusion. The charter is designed so that signatories can choose the best way to meet charter commitments according to their needs. Guidelines and online tools and resources have been developed to help charter signatories.
Charter signatories will be able to use specially designed logo on their communications and marketing.