Legal community urged to join in Culture Change Taskforce’s work

Law Society says that the task force’s work is on target

Legal community urged to join in Culture Change Taskforce’s work

Kathryn Beck, chair of the Law Society’s Culture Change Taskforce, is urging the legal community to join in the work.

“The strategy is a work in progress, designed to benefit everyone in the legal community, so it is important that we hear what you think about our vision, our approach, and how we can work effectively together to support a sustainable and healthy legal community in Aotearoa,” she says. “We want to partner with the legal community to refine the strategy and we plan to engage with the legal profession next year to hear their thoughts.”

The comments come as the Law Society said that the task force is on course to deliver by November a strategy for culture and systems change in the profession.

The task force was formed by the Law Society last year as a response to sexual harassment and bullying in the profession. In a survey, the Law Society found that 31% of women lawyers and 5% of men lawyers have been sexually harassed in legal environments. The study also found that bullying is prevalent in the profession, with 52% of respondents agreeing that they have been bullied.

The former president of the Law Society said then that the survey showed that there is a cultural crisis in the country’s legal profession.

"This is about the legal profession. New Zealanders expect our profession to operate to the highest standards of integrity with a commitment to fairness, equity and justice,” she said then. “This survey makes it crystal clear that we are not meeting that expectation. We are failing to keep our own people safe, and we cannot stand for this.”

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