“Epati Out” Says Retiring NZ Law Society Chief

New Zealand Law Society President has signed off from her role heading the Law Society with an “Epati Out” signoff, signalling the end of her leadership as the first Pacifica head of the Law Society.

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A former LawFuel Lawyer of the Year, Tiana Epati provided a fresh, younger face for the Law Society following a tumultuous time with ugly claims of sexual harassment, bullying and the like taking centre stage for the New Zealand profession both prior to and during her three year tenure.

The Gisborne-based litigation lawyer had a baby during her term but also managed to effectively communicate an effective message of inclusiveness for the profession after the nasty sexual abuse allegations that erupted in 2018 and continued to cast a shadow over the New Zealand law profession.

“Today I step down as President of the New Zealand Law Society. To the entire legal profession, thank you for taking a chance on me. It has been the honour of my life to serve you and our community. I won’t stop. Even if it’s just one legal aid client at a time.

I leave the organisation in the very capable care and protection of new President Jacque Lethbridge and CEO, Joanna Simon,” she said in a LinkedIn post.

Martelli McKegg partner Jacque Lethbridge is the third consecutive female leader of the New Zealand Law Society.

She has worked as an in-house lawyer and in private practice beginning her legal careers in 2004 in criminal law both as a prosecutor and then a defence lawyer at the Public Defence Service before moving into civil litigation at established Auckland firm Grove Darlow & Partners where she was made the firm’s first female partner in 2012. She moved to Lowndes as a litigation partner in June 2016.

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