The NZ legal profession’s leading influencers for 2021 unveiled

The first-ever Most Influential Lawyers list celebrates 34 trailblazers in the industry

The NZ legal profession’s leading influencers for 2021 unveiled

A diverse collection of lawyers who over the past year have set a standard for the legal industry is being honoured in NZ Lawyer’s inaugural Most Influential Lawyers list.

In a year filled with uncertainty, the legal profession had to make significant adjustments. The sudden shift in the way law firms and organisations operated impacted lawyers in different ways, including with regard to work-life balance and mental wellbeing. Many lawyers had to adjust to setting clear boundaries, especially as clients became more willing to call on them at all times.

However, not all changes were detrimental – law firms and businesses found themselves embracing flexibility and integrating tech into operations more easily as a response to restrictions. Organisations were also innovating in terms of service delivery to clients, especially as court proceedings went virtual.

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With companies not just changing how but why they do business, in-house counsel are being exposed to a wider variety of issues, allowing them to build on their knowledge base and increasing their value to their employers – which could drive the cultivation of in-house legal teams.

In many ways, the pandemic overhauled the way the legal profession operates, and in the process, certain lawyers have risen to the occasion in outstanding ways. The 34 individuals recognised as the first-ever Most Influential Lawyers were identified through a nomination process, which also considered individuals without a formal law qualification. NZ Lawyer evaluated the nominations based on the overall impact of their contributions, singling out those who delivered specific outcomes in support of their peers and the industry.

The illustrious individuals who made the cut include Norling Law director Brent Norling, Martelli McKegg partner Jacque Lethbridge, Tompkins Wake CEO Jon Calder, barrister and mediator Paul Sills and DLA Piper partners Laura Scampion and Reuben Woods.  

The winners were categorised as follows:

  • Business
  • Changemakers – lawyers in any area or type of practice who have been leaders, innovators, or catalysts for positive change in any area of the profession such as diversity, law firm management, education, etc.
  • Government/Non-profits/Associations – includes public inquiries, officers of Parliament, academic institutions and the judiciary
  • Human Rights, Advocacy and Criminal
  • Young Influencer – lawyers born in or after 1980 who have had an extraordinary impact on the profession or society

To know who else made the Most Influential Lawyers list, click here.

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