NZLS GM Representative and Strategy on the long-term benefits of the new subscription model

Amanda Woodbridge shares what she considers to be the top three benefits for lawyers

NZLS GM Representative and Strategy on the long-term benefits of the new subscription model
Amanda Woodbridge

Earlier this year, the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa unveiled its new paid subscription model for lawyers. The initiative has been backed by firms like Anderson Lloyd and Dentons, with the firms highlighting how beneficial Law Society services have been towards the legal profession.

In this interview, Law Society General Manager Representative and Strategy Amanda Woodbridge talks to NZ Lawyer about what she considers the biggest benefits of the new model, how it improves on the old model, and what initiatives will benefit from the boost in financing.

What spurred the Law Society’s decision to move to the paid subscription model?

Currently, most Law Society member services are provided at no cost to members and are being delivered at a significant deficit to the Law Society. The deficit is being funded by reserves and is not sustainable. Lawyers may not realise that the money the Law Society receives from practising certificate fees can only be spent on regulatory matters, not on representative services the Law Society provides to members. Section 67(4) of the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 prohibits any cross-subsidisation, and the Law Society has separate regulatory and representative accounts.

We know our member services are highly valued by the profession – last year alone, 10,000 individual members of the profession participated in branch and Section events around the motu. To ensure we can continue to provide services to the profession, and expand our services, it was necessary to introduce a membership subscription.

How does such a model improve on the previous model the Law Society has been working with?

We recognised that to introduce a paid membership subscription, we also needed to refresh our member offer to deliver even more value for our members. Our research with the profession told us that they value our trusted, measured voice speaking on behalf of the profession on issues relating to access to justice and the rule of law. They also told us they wanted even more support to make their work lives easier through access to quality education, technical support and the like – and that’s where we are focusing more of our effort. We have also introduced new benefits to our membership offer, including our Partner Programme which will be available for our members from 1 July.

What in your opinion are the top three benefits for lawyers who subscribe to Law Society membership?

It’s hard to choose the top three as I think all the benefits we offer are of value to the profession and every lawyer will find at least one benefit that is relevant for them.

However, if I had to choose, I would say the top three are:

  1. We are the only national organisation that represents and advocates for all the profession with our reach of 13 branches throughout the motu
  2. Through our branches and three Sections dedicated to family, property and in-house law, we provide local access to support, networking, and educational opportunities
  3. We offer up to 30% off full price NZLS CLE Limited and Law Society legal education, member services and events.

What are some Law Society initiatives that will benefit from the funds generated through this new model?

Our new strategy means that we can deliver the same great benefits with even more value. Up until now, membership services have been delivered at no cost to lawyers, so now, members will receive those services plus a host of new ones including our new Partner Programme which offers members a host of savings for both their professional and personal lives.

What do you see as the best long-term impact of this new model?

The Law Society was established by members 154 years ago. This new model ensures we can represent the profession and provide that voice and support into the future. It’s important that lawyers know that services that are currently funded by regulatory, such as libraries, counselling, and mentoring, will continue to be available to the whole profession, regardless of membership status.


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