New Zealand Law Society - Law associations and groups

Law associations and groups

As a student, a new lawyer or even a practitioner who has spent a long time in practice, you may be unaware of the range of legal societies and organisations that exist to bring together those working in areas of law or those representing particular groups. They provide collegiality and expertise, organise events and often an annual conference. All the groups listed have a website, or at the least a Facebook page, and most also issue newsletters. The organisation and membership levels vary from body to body. Below is a list of fraternal and industry associations for lawyers and students, including lobby groups. The New Zealand Law Society provides this information as a service to the legal profession and inclusion of an organisation does not mean it is endorsed by the Law Society.

Areas of law

NZLS Property Law Section

Who are they? The PLS represents the interests of a large number of property lawyers by supporting them in the development and practice of property law. The section is also active in property law reform activities.

Who is it for? The more than 4,000 New Zealand lawyers who carry out some property work.

Property Law Section

NZLS Family Law Section

Who are they? The section represents the interests of around 1,000 family law practitioners. It has a strong and active voice in relation to such issues as Family Courts management, the independence of the Family Court, lawyer for child rates, legal aid rates, and education.

Who is it for? Full membership is available to those who hold a current practising certificate and are members of the New Zealand Law Society. Associate membership is also available to retired lawyers, overseas lawyers, present and former members of the judiciary in New Zealand or elsewhere, and legal academics.


The In-house Lawyers Association of New Zealand

Who are they? ILANZ represents about 2,700 in-house lawyers and provides advocacy, networking and education to lawyers working in private sector, public sector, academia, not-for-profit and other organisations.

Who is it for? Anyone holding a New Zealand Law Society practising certificate as an in-house lawyer.


New Zealand Bar Association

Who are they? The general functions of the NZBA include: to promote and encourage a strong and independent bar; to promote the interests of barristers and the separate independent bar; to preserve and maintain the independence and integrity of barristers; and to promote and encourage a high standard of ethical conduct amongst barristers.

Who is it for? Full membership is open to all holders of a current New Zealand practising certificate as a barrister sole. Associate membership is also available.


Criminal Bar Association

Who are they? The CBA was formed in 1984 to further and promote the practice of criminal law in New Zealand. It takes an active role in law reform issues, particularly in such areas as legislative change, individual rights and freedoms, and prison reform.

Who is it for? Members include defence lawyers, prosecutors, judges and academics whose area of expertise and interest is the criminal justice system.


Arbitrators’ and Mediators’ Institute of New Zealand

Who are they? AMINZ works with government, business and community groups on policy to examine the likely impact of proposed changes and options for the use of best practice dispute resolution.

Who is it for? Members include arbitrators, mediators, adjudicators, conciliators, facilitators, investigators and expert witnesses from the private and public sectors.


Australian & New Zealand Association of Psychiatry, Psychology and Law

Who are they? ANZAPPL explores the relationship between psychiatry, psychology and the law. Its objectives include promoting co-operation and communication between the disciplines of psychiatry, psychology and law related fields, and promoting research into issues and problems in forensic psychiatry, forensic psychology, and areas of law and other disciplines in which psychiatry and psychology have a relevance.

Who is it for? Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the relationship between mental health and law.


Australian & New Zealand Education Law Association

Who are they? ANZELA was established in 1991 to promote and encourage research, study, discussion, writing and/or dissemination of information about issues on laws relating to education; organise and stimulate participation in conferences and meetings on the laws relating to education; co-operate and exchange information with bodies and persons, on the laws relating to education; and develop policies on the laws relating to education.

Who is it for? Academics, legal practitioners, educators and others who have an association with and/or interest in education law and legal issues affecting education.


Australian & New Zealand Society of International Law

Who are they? ANZSIL was established with the aims of developing and promoting the discipline of international law; supporting the teaching of international law; providing a forum for academics, government lawyers, NGOs, students and practitioners of international law to discuss research and issues of practice in international law; increasing public awareness and understanding of international law; and liaising with other bodies in promoting any of these objects.

Who is it for? Membership is open to all those with an interest in the field of international law, including legal practitioners, academics, government officials, civil society organisations, and students of international law.


Australian & New Zealand Sports Law Association

Who are they? ANZSLA provides education, advocacy and networking opportunities about legal issues in sport.

Who is it for? ANZSLA’s membership includes lawyers, administrators, academics and government representatives, though membership is open to anyone with an interest in sport.


Aviation Law Association of Australia and New Zealand

Who are they? ALAANZ was established in 1980, with the aims of developing the practice of the law affecting the aviation industry and the exchange of information about aviation laws.

Originally named The Aviation Law Association of Australia, the Association expanded across the Tasman in the late 1980s. ALAANZ has some 350 members in Australia, New Zealand and overseas.

Who is it for? Lawyers and managers involved with the aviation industry who deal with legal or policy issues and lawyers in both private practice and employed by government departments and corporates. ALAANZ encourages student members.


Charity Law Association of Australia and New Zealand

Who are they? CLAANZ was originally established as the Australian Charity Law Association in 2009 in response to the emerging need for accountable, charity-related legal services in Australia. The Association changed its name in 2015 to reflect the engagement, since its establishment, of Australian and New Zealand colleagues in addressing legal issues in the charity and NFP sector in both countries.

Who is it for? Membership is open to anyone with an interest in charity law.


Collaborative Advocacy NZ

Who are they? Collaborative Law has been practised overseas since the mid-1990s. It was seen by legal advisors as a way for their clients to take control of their separation and provide them with a way to resolve issues with dignity and respect. A group of family law practitioners in 2009 felt that New Zealanders could greatly benefit from being offered this process and have worked to see it implemented here.

Who is it for? Since 2009 the number of legal practitioners involved grew and word spread among other professionals. Accountants, psychologists, child experts and counsellors have become involved and undertaken training.


Energy Law Association

Who are they? The ELA focuses on all issues of legal interest related to the energy sector, including oil and gas, electricity, mining, minerals, water, and all issues of legal interest related to them. The utilisation and management of natural resources is a large part of the industry, however, the Association does not have an environmental focus.

Who is it for? Membership is open to anyone with an interest in the law as it relates to energy and natural resources. Membership largely comprises both practising or academic lawyers and executives from corporate entities and government bodies involved in the energy and natural resources sectors.


Human Right Lawyers Association Aotearoa New Zealand

Who are they? The Association is a non-partisan independent group dedicated to the study and advancement of human rights in New Zealand and abroad. It engages in educational projects, provides amicus briefs, assists in legal analysis and in the drafting of reports on human rights issues by other organisations, drafts submissions to highlight the human rights aspects of proposed legislative changes, and undertakes shadow reporting for international organisations.

Who is it for? Any lawyer or law student interested in human rights.


Lawyers for Climate Action NZ Inc

Who are they? LCANZI was established in 2019, they are lawyers who want to use their legal skills and experience to ensure a better future for everyone. They are lawyers from all over New Zealand who have specialist expertise in many different areas of law.

LCANZI accepts the scientific evidence that shows that climate change will cause global catastrophe unless we cut emissions now and achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. They believe that New Zealand can and should do more in the global fight against climate change. They want to make sure that New Zealand meets its obligations under the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions in a way that is evidence-based, effective and consistent with the rule of law, Te Tiriti o Waitangi, international law, and the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act. 

Who is it for? LCANZI has around 400 members. Full membership is open to anyone with a law degree, associate membership is open to everyone. We also welcome pro bono volunteers to assist community groups as well as project volunteers to work on specific projects.

Website: Lawyers for Climate Action NZ Inc

Legal Research Foundation

Who are they? An independent, non-profit organisation associated with the Faculty of Law at the University of Auckland. The purpose of the LRF is to promote legal research and education in New Zealand. It publishes the New Zealand Law Review.

Who is it for? Lawyers and students.


Maritime Law Association of Australia and New Zealand

Who are they? MLAANZ was established in 1974 with the object of advancing reforms in the maritime law and to facilitate justice in its administration, furnishing a forum for the discussion and consideration of problems affecting the maritime law and its administration, acting with foreign and other associations in efforts to bring about the unification of maritime and commercial law, maritime customs, usages and practices, and a greater harmony in the shipping laws, regulations and practices of different nations.

Who is it for? Membership is comprised of more than 500 members from Australia and New Zealand and from several other countries. It includes lawyers and judges, academics, representatives of major exporters, shipping companies, port operators, ship, cargo and liability insurers and government and defence force representatives.


New Zealand Animal Law Association

Who are they? The Association is a coalition of lawyers working to improve the welfare and lives of animals through the legal system.

Who is it for? The Association has more than 200 lawyers spanning various practice areas, including lawyers working for large commercial law firms, criminal and civil litigators, in-house counsel, lawyers working for government and the judiciary, and include a Queens Counsel.


New Zealand Association of Comparative Law

Who are they? The NZACL was formed in early 1995 with the primary objectives of promoting the education and training of people in New Zealand in the field of comparative law, promoting the study of foreign legal systems in New Zealand, and promoting comparative legal research and comparative legal study in New Zealand.

Who is it for? Members include practitioners, judges, lawyers in government and academics. Several members are based overseas.


New Zealand Insurance Law Association

Who are they? The NZILA was established in 1991 to promote interest in, and understanding of, the law relating to insurance and to encourage the exchange of information and ideas concerning insurance law. Its primary function is delivering educational and networking opportunities such as seminars and conferences for topics of interest to its members.

Who is it for? Membership is open to anyone with an interest in insurance law, including underwriters, claims managers, brokers, loss adjusters, investigators and lawyers.


New Zealand Institute of Legal Executives

Who are they? The NZILE is the professional association for legal executives in New Zealand. It was established in 1975 by legal executives, for the benefit of legal executives, and has more than 1,100 members.

Its aims are to advance and protect the status and interests of legal executives and to promote unity, cooperation and mutual assistance among legal executives.

Who is it for? Legal executives.


New Zealand Institute of Patent Attorneys

Who are they? The NZIPA was established in 1912. It is an incorporated body representing most Patent Attorneys registered under the New Zealand Patents Act, and who are resident and practising in New Zealand.

Who is it for? The current membership of NZIPA comprises 159 Fellows, 1 Honorary, 36 Students, 17 Non-resident, 15 Associates and six Retired.


New Zealand Society of Conveyancers

Who are they? The Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 allowed for the establishment of a new conveyancing profession in New Zealand, where only qualified and skilled persons may apply to the NZ Society of Conveyancers to become registered as a conveyancer.

Conveyancing practitioners are governed by the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 and the rules and regulations made under that Act. Only a Registered Conveyancer, as approved by the NZ Society of Conveyancers may describe themselves as a Conveyancing Practitioner or Registered Conveyancer.

Who is it for? Registered conveyancers, licensed conveyancing practitioners and licensed conveyancing practitioners.


Resource Management Law Association

Who are they? The RMLA keeps members abreast of the latest developments in environment and resource management-related policy, law and practice, through news, debate, commentary and collaboration.

Who is it for? The RMLA has more than 1,100 members, including lawyers, barristers, judges, planners, environmental managers, environmental engineers, environment commissioners, consultants and civil servants.


Restructuring Insolvency & Turnaround Association of New Zealand

Who are they? RITANZ is the professional body for insolvency practitioners and for those working in the field of business reconstruction and turnaround, and corporate and personal insolvency in New Zealand. The organisation is affiliated with INSOL International, a worldwide federation of national associations for accountants and lawyers who specialise in turnaround and insolvency.

Who is it for? All professionals and senior management practising in the field of insolvencies and corporate reconstructions, including lawyers.


Society of Construction Law New Zealand

Who are they? The Society was formed in 2005 to promote research and education in the field of construction law and a means by which people from throughout the industry could come together to discuss issues relating to construction law.

Who is it for? The Society has over 600 members from all sectors of the construction industry, including lawyers, architects, engineers, quantity surveyors, contractors, project managers, insurers, and academics.


Women lawyers

Auckland Women Lawyers’ Association

Who are they? The Association is a representative organisation of women involved in the legal profession including solicitors, barristers, judges, corporate counsel, law students and community representatives.

AWLA works to address legal issues affecting its members and New Zealand women and children. It also provides a forum for women lawyers in Auckland to make and strengthen contacts.


Wellington Women Lawyers’ Association

Who are they? The WWLA became an official incorporated society in 1987 with one of its main objectives being to work for the equal opportunity and advancement of women in the study and practice of law.


Canterbury Women’s Legal Association

Who are they? Represents women lawyers throughout the region.


Otago Women Lawyers’ Society (OWLS)

Who are they? OWLS’ objectives include to work for the equal opportunity and advancement of women in the study and practice of law; to work for reform of the law and its administration, and for the advancement of social policy, particularly as it affects women and children; and to promote the use of women’s skills in law.


Women in Law Association Waikato Bay of Plenty

Who are they? WBOP WILA is a committee set up under the WBOP branch of the NZLS and seeks to promote collegiality between female lawyers through formal and informal networking, regular social events, and provides CPD education. The Association has committees in Hamilton, Tauranga, Rotorua and Whakatane.

Who is it for? Membership is not limited to those holding a practising certificate and is open to wider professions where collegiality, support, and education may be appropriate. This includes judges, court employees, NZ Police, Oranga Tamariki employees, social workers, mental health practitioners etc.

See: Women in Law Association or visit their Facebook Group page.

Ethnic lawyers

Te Hunga Roia Māori o Aotearoa/ Māori Law Society

Who are they? THRMOA was originally established to provide an annual opportunity for Māori lawyers to discuss and debate issues relevant to Māori, and this has remained the central focus for the organisation and the annual hui.


Pacific Lawyers’ Association

Who are they? Established in 2001, the Pacific Lawyers’ Association is dedicated to, in particular, promoting the fellowship and mutual support among Pacific people; identifying and responding to the legal needs of Pacific communities; and promoting and conducting research on any issues of relevance to Pacific lawyers and Pacific people.


Young Lawyers

The New Zealand Law Society provides assistance and support to groups of new lawyers located in some of the Law Society branch areas. Some of these represent new lawyers on the branch Council and ensure their viewpoints are considered. A “new” or “young” lawyer is generally someone who has been in legal practice for less than five years, but can be up to seven. For more information on life as a new lawyer, read here.

Auckland Young Lawyers

Hamilton Young Lawyers Group

Canterbury-Westland Young Lawyers

Otago New Practitioners’ Group

Further information is available from Kate O’Boyle (03) 477 7401,

Southland New and Young Practitioners

For further information contact President Natalie McRae 03 211 1370, or Vice President Tim Marshall 03 211 1370,

Wellington Young Lawyers Committee


New Zealand Law Students’ Association

The NZLSA oversees the six regional law student societies, provides advocacy services, and runs national legal skills competitions, as well as publishing a bi-annual magazine and other useful resources for law students. The website contains details of the regional law student societies:

Te Rākau Ture Maori Law Students Association (TRT) – Auckland Law School

Students meet and study in the TRT’s common room in building 810, room 215.


Nga Rangahautira/ Māori Law Students Association - VUW


Te Putairiki; Maori Law Students Association – Canterbury

The Association has its own office in the Law School, where students can study, receive tutorials, meet with their peers, have coffee and lunch, or simply hang out inbetween classes.


Pacific Law Students’ Association – Auckland Law School

The Association aims to ensure the academic, cultural and social welfare of all Pacific Islands law students. The PILSA executive committee provides and facilitates a variety of functions.


Pacific Law Students’ Association – University of Waikato

Aims to provide a strong support network for students with the hope that it will continue long after tertiary study, to recognise the value in Pacific cultural heritage and work together in order to promote unity, encourage motivation and inspiration.


Pacific Law Students’ Association – Otago

The primary concern of the group is to ensure that as many Pacific Island students as possible graduate and are admitted to the bar. It also hosts a Pacific Islands Legal Issues Week.


Asian Law Students’ Association – VUW

The Association was founded in 2014 to provide a friendly and inclusive support network for students of a shared cultural background together by providing social, educational and cultural opportunities at the university.


In addition the universities also have societies for feminist, international and other law students. Please check each university’s website for details.


ADLS Incorporated

Who are they? ADLS began as the Law Society for the Auckland District, and latterly, from 2008, as an independent membership organisation.

It claims a membership of 4,000, has16 legal committees, delivers a CPD programme, produces and maintains over 150 legal forms and operates an online WebForms portal. In addition it produces the weekly LawNews.

Who is it for? There are three types of membership: lawyer, qualified and contributing membership.


Australia & New Zealand Law and History Society

Who are they? The Society is an interdisciplinary group of scholars who share an interest in the connections between law and history. The society grew out of the annual Law in History Conferences, which have been running since 1982.

Who is it for? Members include historians, lawyers, academics and others interested in the area.


Christian Lawyers Network

Who are they? The network provides a way to connect around the country, provide a platform to consider and discuss what issues there are in being a Christian lawyer and to organise conferences and meetings. It aims to support the work of local groups of Christian lawyers by providing a national organisation that connects them and a means to learn from each other.

Who is it for? Christian lawyers.


Inter-Pacific Bar Association

Who are they? The IPBA is an international association of business and commercial lawyers who live in, or have a strong interest in, the Asia-Pacific Region.

Who is it for? Membership is drawn from throughout the world, and it currently has over 1,500 members from over 65 jurisdictions.


Law and Economics Association of NZ

Who are they? LEANZ is dedicated to the advancement in New Zealand of the understanding of law and economics. It provides a forum for the exchange of information, analysis and ideas amongst those with an interest in this form of analysis. That interest may be practical or it may be more academic.

Who is it for? Members include lawyers, economists, policy advisers, academics, students, corporate members and donors.


Other groups lawyers are involved in include the Howard League, the New Zealand Howard League, Just Speak, the Abortion Law Reform Association of New Zealand and Law For Change.