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New Zealand Law Society Guide for New Lawyers

Welcome to the legal profession. The study and research you've completed over the past few years will have been challenging. Now that you've completed your law degree and the professionals course, you're entering an exciting and fulfilling career path.

One thing you will find as you start work as a lawyer is that it's very different to studying law and you're going to have to learn quite a few new things. Law school and profs teach you how to think like a lawyer; when you enter the workforce, you've got to learn how to act like a lawyer.

This guide has been published by the New Zealand Law Society to assist those becoming lawyers with the process involved, and to help with some of the matters which new lawyers may encounter in their first few years. Legal practice can be somewhat daunting for a new lawyer coming to terms with both the office-related and legal issues. We hope we can provide you with some information and suggestions which will assist you in your chosen profession. 

Obviously this guide is not intended to be exhaustive, as each individual's experience is likely to differ as a result of varying workplaces, work practices, job requirements and client base. There are other sources of information and groups you can join and information on these is included.

The New Zealand Law Society is the regulator of the New Zealand legal profession and we want to provide assistance to new (and sometimes, not so new) lawyers by ensuring they understand the very high standards of professional conduct which are required. We are also an organisation which is focused on representing the interests of this country's lawyers, ensuring they are able to develop their professional skills and that they enjoy being members of a vibrant and exciting profession.

All information is correct at 1 February 2019. However, you should be aware that some of the information and requirements may change over time: check Law Society websites for updates.

Finally, congratulations on getting here. Law can sometimes seem to be an enormous challenge in your early years as you get to grips with applying theory to practice and putting in some big hours. So, it is important that the sacrifices made while at university are not lost; while law can be enormously satisfying, make sure that you also make time for yourself and those close to you - and above all, have fun. 

Tiana Epati
President, New Zealand Law Society
April 2019.

Last updated on the 21st May 2019