The NZ Law Society President has an interesting career history spanning criminal defence to Maori law work
“Precocious and inquisitive” is how incoming Law Society president Jacque Lethbridge describes herself in an interview in ‘Business Desk’s’ MyNetWorth column (which doesn’t provide such details), as she talked about her initial desire to be a doctor and her love of shoes.
As the fifth female head of the Law Society over its 153 year history, the Martelli McKegg partner describes her background in criminal law defence work, which included working with the Public Defence Service, as well as commercial and civil litigation and her key role as mother from the commencement of her legal career.
Growing up in Feilding she completed her degrees at Victoria and Auckland Universities and has been actively involved in various professional and community organisations.
Her early criminal work lead to the first public defender, Michael Corry, recommending that she become involved in civil work and following the GFC and her partnership at Grove Darlow she handled a range of insolvency litigation matters that continued to be her focus.
She recently appeared alongside John Billington QC in the successful challenge to the Government’s MIQ requirements on behalf of wealthy entrepreneur Murray Bolton, who won the right to travel to the United States by private jet and self isolate at his Herne Bay home.
As Bolton’s lawyer Martelli McKegg handled requests from ‘grounded kiwis’ for assistance. “My lawyers have been absolutely inundated with requests for assistance from people from all walks of life, both trapped in New Zealand and overseas,” Bolton said.
She has previously also represented Antony Shaw who took a successful action against former Auckland mayor and former MP John Banks claiming Banks was his birth father.
But having been admitted to the bar with a young child to look after (Harry is now 18) she was focused on moving her career along and providing the best she could for her son.
She “decompresses” at the weekend with partner Serio and Harry – “when he’ll see me”.
The biggest misconception about lawyering is that it’s glamorous. Ultimately, it’s a service industry. Your time is not your own.
I’m a big shoe person. I think my career has tracked along with Kathryn Wilson’s. It comes back to my dad. He was in a wheelchair for 42 years but he instilled in us that it wasn’t so much the shoes that you wear but the way you wear your shoes
I want my biggest success to be bringing other female partners through the legal system. I have always wanted to create meaningful change by doing it myself.
Jacque Lethbridge took over the Law Society leadership from Tiana Epati, a former LawFuel lawyer of the year.