National Party MP Chris Bishop is introducing a bill designed to make it easier for lawyers wot handle legal workout outside of their existing employment, which is currently regarded as misconduct under current Law Society rules.
“My Lawyers and Conveyancers (Employed Lawyers Providing Free Legal Services) Amendment Bill makes a small change to allow a lawyer who is employed in either a law practice or in-house (for example by a non-lawyer, like at a government agency or a power company) to do legal work other than for the lawyer’s employer, on conditions set by the New Zealand Law Society,” he said.
Chris Bishop’s mother worked as an in-house lawyer.
“Any in-house lawyer who, for example, advises a friend on a tenancy dispute matter or a domestic building contract, or who amends the local tramping club’s rules is considered guilty of misconduct,” he says.
He said that many lawyers handle work outside of their employment, often on a pro bono basis, and many are also unaware of the potential breach of Law Society rules in doing so.
“The Bill provides that lawyers may do work outside their employment on conditions set by the New Zealand Law Society. I expect those conditions will include the work being done with the employer’s consent and on a pro-bono basis.”
“The current Act is far too strict in its application and stops lawyers providing legal assistance to those who need it.”
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