New Zealand Law Society - Leading law firms endorse Law Society membership

Leading law firms endorse Law Society membership

With the Law Society’s introduction of a membership subscription this year, several large law firms have already expressed their commitment to signing up all their lawyers as members.

Leading law firms Dentons Kensington Swan and Anderson Lloyd say that they support the national membership body as it’s the New Zealand-wide organisation that speaks authoritatively and with one voice for all lawyers. Cloud accounting firm Xero is also renewing membership for all its NZ-qualified in-house lawyers, and says they see great value in continuing to receive the Law Society’s services.  

Dentons Kensington Swan Chair and Global Vice Chair Hayden Wilson says that getting behind the Law Society is the right thing to do for his firm, their lawyers and the profession. “We, and all our lawyers, have had the benefit of the Law Society’s representative services for free for many years. Those services are important, but they do cost. If we, as a large law firm, want to ensure that the Law Society delivers services that are of value to us, we need to pay for what we value. We can’t get by on reserves generated by previous generations.” 

Mr Wilson cites the example of the Law Society’s law reform advocacy as something that an individual firm could not do on its own. “Often it is only the Law Society, through its members and committees, which makes impartial and thoughtful submissions on law reform. He considers it critical that the Law Society is properly resourced to do that work for his firm, and for the benefit of the community, including their clients.” 

He says another key reason is advocacy on behalf of the profession. “We need a credible voice, which speaks for all lawyers, and not narrower interest groups, with the Courts, Ministers, MPs, and the Ministry. They need to hear from a trusted body that has a mandate to speak for the profession. The Law Society has done some of this previously, we need to ensure that it does more.” Xero’s General Manager – Legal, Strategic Growth and Development Ben Jacobs echoes that, saying “the work the Law Society and ILANZ (the in-house section of the Law Society) do around the rule of law, law reform and advocacy is of significance to all lawyers working in New Zealand. It’s important to us to be part of that.” 

Anderson Lloyd Chief Executive Richard Greenaway says he expects that Law Society membership will provide additional advantages, and that being part of a national organisation shows commitment to the greater good of the profession. “I think that particularly younger and mid-career lawyers consider Law Society membership essential. It’s quite a challenge to recruit mid-career lawyers particularly in the regions, so we want to be able to offer Law Society membership as part of our benefits package”. Mr Greenaway says that over time, clients may come to expect their lawyers to be Law Society members, reflecting the firm's commitment to the profession and the broader community. 

While many larger firms are able to offer their lawyers a range of benefits in-house, Mr Greenaway says he values the option of discounted CPD education, access to specialised training, and opportunities to interact with colleagues outside the firm. “The Law Society's mentoring programme and confidential support options are important for the wellbeing of all lawyers. These benefits supplement the firm's existing initiatives and contribute to a well-rounded professional development experience for its lawyers.” He adds that Anderson Lloyd's decision to become Law Society members aligns with his firm's values of supporting our communities and staying at the forefront of the legal profession. “We are confident that this membership will not only benefit our firm but also contribute to the advancement and well-being of the legal profession as a whole.” 

Mr Jacobs says that while lawyers at Xero receive company benefits, there is still significant value in remaining members of the Law Society and therefore also ILANZ. 

“We want our lawyers to continue to have the opportunity to connect with and learn from other lawyers through events and ILANZ’s annual conference,” he says.  

“ILANZ does so much to support the inhouse community, including providing inhouse lawyers with information, resources and tools that are targeted specifically to working as an inhouse lawyer.” 

Mr Wilson says that he sees signing up his firm’s lawyers as members as a matter of principle. “We are a leading firm and part of showing leadership is supporting our national representative body.” 

Note: Law Society President Frazer Barton is a partner at Anderson Lloyd. Xero’s General Manager Ben Jacobs is also the incoming President for the Law Society’s ILANZ section. One of the Law Society board members (David Campbell) is a partner at Denton’s Kensington Swan.

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