Highlight: New Law Society president on regulation, relevance and recognition

An area of focus for Jacque Lethbridge is the Independent Review of the organisation's structure

Highlight: New Law Society president on regulation, relevance and recognition

Following her election as the 32nd president of the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa, Jacque Lethbridge is a woman with a plan. At the fore of this plan are three aspects: regulation, relevance and recognition.

In 2019, the Law Society commissioned an independent review of its structures and functions. Lethbridge intends to see this carried through in a timely manner, and with input gleaned from throughout the profession.

She also plans to cultivate relationships with members, working together with member groups like the National New Lawyers Group, New Zealand Asian Lawyers, the Pacific Lawyers Association and Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa. Moreover, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Law Society has strengthened its connection with stakeholders in the justice sector.

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“These relationships can now be galvanised and consolidated. I plan to build on new connections with the Judiciary and Ministry of Justice, advocating for swifter resolution of delays in access to justice,” Lethbridge said.

She also aims to maintain the organisation’s role as an “active voice in shaping law.” The Law Society has often presented submissions related to new legislation in New Zealand, notably as COVID-19 drove the development of many new bills to handle unprecedented issues.

“A little-known aspect of the Law Society’s role is that we must serve the people of Aotearoa New Zealand by regulating the profession and delivering New Zealanders excellent lawyers. We must also be a strong and independent voice for the rule of law,” Lethbridge explained. “Seen together, these are vital mainstays of a liberal democracy. How we do this is not always popular – but it’s always necessary.”

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