I am coming towards the end of my two years’ service as the New Zealand Law Society’s Wellington Vice-President, one of the five members of the Law Society’s Board. It has been a great privilege to serve on the Board, and to help watch out for the interests of our 12,000 members, and the interests of New Zealanders generally.
One important aspect of the Board’s role is in the area of law reform. The Board considers reports on submissions made to select committees and government departments by the Law Society’s law reform committees. It is fascinating to see the volume of work and the large contribution that so many people are making to law reform.
And it’s gratifying to see how the Law Society contributes to good government and to the well-being of the whole of New Zealand society.
Following the implementation of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006, the previous Board did a huge amount of work concerning the regulation of the profession. While the Act is still a relatively new piece of legislation, the current Board has undertaken continuing work on regulatory matters, particularly in providing guidance and setting up precedents. Improvements are always being sought and achieved. A good example is the enhanced consistency throughout the country in the work and decision-making of the standards committees. Another excellent development during my time as a Board member has been the rolling out of the early resolution service throughout the country.
During my time on the Board, I have greatly appreciated working with lawyers from different backgrounds – whether it is property lawyers, family lawyers, barristers, lawyers from large firms, small firms, sole practitioners or in-house lawyers – and lawyers of different ages. It’s important to have a good mix. The quality of decision-making is enhanced when there is diversity, and when that diverse group gets together with a common vision.
I have also enjoyed working with other groups, sometimes on challenging matters. A good example has been the Society’s work with the New Zealand Bar Association on the intervention rule, an issue where there were quite different perspectives within the profession.
As well as working with my wonderful fellow Board members, I have had the privilege of working with two brilliant Presidents, Jonathan Temm and now Chris Moore. The Law Society Executive Director, Christine Grice, and staff are just superb. They are committed and extremely professional, and I can’t speak highly enough of them.
My time on the Board has been really stimulating. It has been an enormous pleasure and privilege. I will miss it and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have served.