Submissions are open for Chris Bishop’s Member’s Bill to amend the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act 2006 to allow a lawyer who is an employee to do free legal work (pro bono) other than for the lawyer’s employer on conditions set by the New Zealand Law Society.
The bill had its first reading on the 24th March, and was met with cross-party support.
“A lot of people will be unaware that currently, under the Lawyers and Conveyancers Act, an employed lawyer is technically deemed guilty of misconduct if the lawyer does legal work outside their employment or for a community law centre, so this seeks to improve access to justice by allowing that to happen.”
-Chris Bishop, National MP
“I’m thrilled the Bill received universal cross-party support on its first reading in Parliament. Once the Bill passes, the law will finally be changed to allow employed lawyers to do their bit, outside of their day jobs and Community Law Centres, to alleviate the big and growing problem that many people in Aotearoa New Zealand face getting access to justice.”
-John McLean, former General Counsel for Rabobank (and champion of this amendment).
“In a former life I was an ethics specialist, and it is an anomaly that lawyers are seen as acting unethically if they are helping those in need. Having said that it is also important that lawyers, and especially junior lawyers, don’t provide advice which is inaccurate or downright wrong – so the role of the Law Society in making rules which ensure this will be important.”
-Dr Duncan Webb, Labour MP
Juno Legal encourage in-house lawyers to make submissions on this bill.
Learn more about this bill and make a submission here.