Seven members of the New Zealand Law Society's Women's Advisory Panel have now been appointed. The full panel will be announced soon.
This new group has been established with the aim of considering initiatives that will make a real difference to improving the retention and advancement of women in the legal profession.
The Law Society Board has asked the Women's Advisory Panel to consider issues and initiatives such as:
- embedding unconscious bias training in other training programmes;
- encouraging men in the legal profession to champion change;
- reducing the attrition of young female lawyers;
- gender audits; and
- equitable briefing policies.
Law Society President Chris Moore will chair the new panel.
When LawTalk asked Mr Moore why a man was chairing the Women's Advisory Group, he said that there were two main reasons.
One of his major aims as Law Society President was to develop initiatives that would encourage the retention and advancement of women in the legal profession.
In addition, "this is an issue not just for women but for the profession as a whole. Clearly, it is vital that we include predominantly outstanding women on the panel, but alongside that, we also need to have men in the profession championing the issue. That is why two of the members of the Women's Advisory Panel are men."
While the new group will be considering initiatives over the coming weeks and months, one programme is already being put together.
Building on the success of its first Women in Law conference in 2014, NZLS CLE Ltd will run a second conference: Women in Law – Career by Design. This full-day conference will run in Auckland on 11 April 2016 and Wellington on 12 April 2016. The Wellington event will also be webstreamed.
The conference will present a practical programme that helps women build upon their own personal strengths and resilience in order to be prepared, confident and pro-active in seeking leadership positions.
The seven members appointed to date are:
Chris Moore (Chair)
The New Zealand Law Society President, Mr Moore is a partner of specialist projects firm Greenwood Roche in Auckland.
As well as being President, Mr Moore has held a number of other Law Society roles.
He was an inaugural member of the Law Society's Property Law Section when it was established in 2000 and was the section's chair from 2004 until 2013. He was the inaugural President of the Law Society's Auckland branch from 2009 until March 2013, and Vice-President (Auckland) in 2012 and 2013.
Mr Moore has more than 35 years' experience spanning a range of industry sectors including commercial property, hospitality, manufacturing, retail, local government and the public sector.
He regularly acts for overseas and institutional investors acquiring property and commercial interests in New Zealand and in the ongoing management and administration of those investments.
Mr Moore started his career in a mid-sized Auckland firm before moving to the Bay of Plenty where he was a partner in the firm now known as Hamertons Lawyers Limited. He moved back to Auckland in 1987 and was a partner at Russell McVeagh from 1989 to 1999. He then moved to Meredith Connell, where he was a partner for 13 years. He has been a partner at Greenwood Roche since April 2013.
Mr Moore is married to Heather and they have three children, two of whom are lawyers.
Ms Brennan is Chief Legal Advisor at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, a position she has held since May 2013.
At MBIE she leads a talented and committed team of about 70 lawyers and technical specialists who support a fascinating and varied business focused on growing the New Zealand economy to provide a better standard of living for all New Zealanders. She is a member of the Government Legal Network Advisory Board.
Early in her career Ms Brennan was a litigator with Kensington Swan and Chapman Tripp. She counts herself fortunate that this was a time where it was possible to cut your teeth on a wide range of litigation. While working predominantly in the commercial area Ann has enjoyed a variety of work at all levels, including employment, medical, insurance, corporate and financial services.
Over time Ms Brennan's focus became more commercial and a one-year stint at Westpac as Senior Counsel turned into six years. In 2007 she was appointed General Counsel of Public Trust where she was a member of the executive team and responsible for the legal, risk, compliance, regulatory affairs and customer quality functions. She was also Board Secretary and director of a number of subsidiaries.
Married to a lawyer, Ann is mother to twins studying law. She encourages full participation in the legal workforce and has been a regular presenter at events promoting diversity.
Mr Campbell is a partner at Kensington Swan where he is one of the firm's Auckland litigation partners. He is also a member of the firm's Board. He has been with Kensington Swan for the last 14 years and in practice for 22 years. Previously, he worked for Morrison Kent and in London (working mainly on defamation and extradition matters).
David's present practice involves contentious commercial and civil matters, and common law, work for individuals, community organisations, and corporates. In particular, he has been involved in major Commerce Act litigation and significant product liability matters. He also routinely advises on liability insurance issues, mostly for construction clients.
David was recently re-elected to the Law Society's Auckland branch Council and is also involved in the Law Society's Civil Litigation and Tribunals Committee. He is a former editor of Brookers' Civil Litigation Practice and Procedure.
Kensington Swan was recognised as one of the top 50 leading companies for women in APEC, according to a study published in late 2014. The study, undertaken by APEC's Policy Partnership on Women and the Economy, acknowledged three New Zealand companies: Kensington Swan, Westpac New Zealand, and the Bank of New Zealand.
Mr Campbell is married with two children.
Anita Chan QC
A former Chair of the Law Society's Family Law Section (2000-2001), Ms Chan is a Dunedin barrister practising from Princes Chambers.
After graduating from Otago University in 1984, Ms Chan joined various Dunedin law firms working in criminal, civil and family law and tribunals. She went to the independent bar in 1997 and was made a Queen's Counsel in 2014.
At Princes Chambers, Ms Chan leads a team of specialist family law barristers. Together, they handle the full range of family law disputes. Her practice is in complex property and child disputes, and includes representation of children, a role she particularly enjoys. She is often retained as counsel in cases involving farms, trusts, high-value assets, and complex asset structures. She is an expert in cases involving international family law issues.
Ms Chan is one of just a handful of New Zealand lawyers to have been appointed a Fellow of the prestigious International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. This is a worldwide association of practising lawyers who are recognised by their peers as the most experienced and skilled family law specialists in their respective countries. She was elected as a Governor of the Academy in 2008, appointed as its Parliamentarian in 2011, and served as its Vice-President from 2012 to 2014 .
Ms Chan is a director of FairWay Resolution Ltd. She was a foundation director of the New Zealand Law Society Continuing Legal Education Board. She is also a former convenor of the Otago Women Lawyers' Society (OWLS).
Together with her husband, Ms Chan is the owner of Monarch Wildlife Tours and Cruises, which provides guided tours of the Otago peninsula and wildlife.
Ms Epati is the Law Society's Gisborne branch President. She is also a member of the Law Society's Criminal Law Committee, having been appointed to that role in September this year.
A criminal defence lawyer, Ms Epati graduated from Auckland University in 2000 with a BA in philosophy and history and an LLB. She began her working life as a lawyer with Meredith Connell in Auckland, where she was a Crown prosecutor for four years.
In 2004 she moved to Wellington, working as a Crown prosecutor at Luke Cunningham Clere.
She moved from criminal work to working in the public law team at a boutique Wellington law firm on a one-year fixed-term contract. However she found she missed the criminal law work and returned to Luke Cunningham and Clere.
After having her first child, she decided she wanted to take a step back from conducting serious criminal trials with a young child, so in 2008 she moved to the Crown Law Office, working in the Criminal Process Team appearing as lead counsel on appeals to the Court of Appeal and as counsel assisting in the Supreme Court. In that role, she appeared as senior appellate counsel in a significant number of appeals against conviction and sentence to the Court of Appeal.
Tiana and her family relocated to Gisborne in October 2012. She has been with Rishworth Wall & Mathieson, working mainly as a criminal defence lawyer since then.
As well as her criminal specialty, Ms Epati is interested in human rights law, and recently completed a post-graduate intensive paper in human rights litigation at Auckland University. She is the first Gisborne President of Pacifika descent.
Ms Muir is a partner at Simpson Grierson in Auckland, where she heads the employment law group. She acts for many of New Zealand's largest employers and advises on both contentious and non-contentious matters.
In both 2012 and 2014, Ms Muir won the Best in Workplace Relations Award at the Australasian Women in Business Awards.
For a number of years Ms Muir has been recognised internationally as a leading lawyer by Asia Pacific Legal 500, Employment; Chambers Asia-Pacific, Employment; and The International Who's Who, Legal Labour & Employment/Pensions and Benefits.
A board member of Global Employment Law Alliance, Ms Muir also chairs both the Fletcher Building Employee Educational Fund and Auckland Writers Festival and she is on the Board of Trustees of Auckland Grammar School.
She is a guest lecturer on employment law at Auckland University's Law Faculty, and is a co-author of the Thomson Reuters published legal texts Employment Law and Recruitment and Termination. Ms Muir is married with two sons.
The convenor of the Law Society's Law Reform Committee, Ms Theron is a partner of Meredith Connell in Wellington.
She is a commercial and public law litigator who advises public and private-sector clients across a range of fields and has appeared in courts at all levels, in tribunals, before Select Committees and as junior counsel assisting a Commission of Inquiry.
After obtaining a BA from the University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Ms Theron moved to Wellington and in 1999 she graduated as Victoria University's top law student. She worked as a solicitor for Chapman Tripp from 1999 to 2002.
As the 2002 Ethel Benjamin Scholar and a Fulbright Scholar, she studied at New York University, graduating with an LLM in May 2003. While in New York, Ms Theron also worked as an intern at the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, Early Warning and Contingency Planning Unit.
After she returned to New Zealand, she worked as in-house counsel at Telecom New Zealand Ltd, before joining Thorndon Chambers where she worked as a barrister from 2004 until she moved to Meredith Connell in 2014.
She is a contributing author of Professional Responsibility in New Zealand, Morison's Company Law and Heath & Whale on Insolvency, and author of Guide to Company Liquidation (all published by LexisNexis). She has six children and step-children between the ages of 4 and 28.