Legal profession must act, says Law Society President

Legal profession must act, says New Zealand Law Society

The wide-ranging discussion on sexual
harassment and work environments in the legal profession
cannot be allowed to die away, New Zealand Law Society
President Kathryn Beck says.

“The disclosures over the
past week will have made every lawyer in New Zealand
consider their workplace and also their profession.

know that sexual and other harassment is not something
unique to lawyers. However, we must also take this as a call
to action. The legal profession cannot sit and wait for
things to go away or slowly change.”

“The whole legal
profession must take responsibility for the way it works and
the way it treats sexual harassment of any degree. It is not
OK and I am calling on all lawyers and others in legal
workplaces to speak out if anything happens to them or if
they see or hear of anything happening to their

“As a profession our goal must now be to
create workplaces which are safe environments for everyone.
Some firms will need a cultural change and this must become
a focus and an imperative. Other firms will be models of
what a safe workplace should be, and it would be sad that
their efforts are obscured just because they are in the
legal profession.”

Ms Beck says the Law Society is
stepping up the initiatives it has been developing to
encourage change.

“We will strive to provide support and
make other processes available so that this change can occur
as quickly as possible.”


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