New Zealand’s In-House Power Lawyers: A Selection of 10 Key Players


In-House Power Continues To Grow in the New Zealand Profession: 12 Key Power Players

The growth of the in-house lawyer has been one of the key features of New Zealand’s law profession in recent years as the number of lawyers working in-house closes in on one-third of the entire profession.

Law Society stats from 2021 show 28 percent of the profession were working in-house.

The Law Society data also showed more women than men, with 62 percent being women (compared to 54 percent of women across the entire profession).

The largest segment (22 percent) of in-house lawyers possess 6-10 years of post-qualification experience (PQE), followed by the second-largest group (18 percent) with 11-15 years of PQE.

Nature of In-House Lawyer Work Recruitment experts have indicated that, historically, most in-house lawyers were engaged in government or local government entities. However, a shift has occurred, with the majority (2,276) now working within commercial business organizations.

Nonetheless, a relatively even distribution exists between Auckland (1,509 in-house lawyers) and Wellington (1,453 in-house lawyers). Additionally, 720 lawyers holding practicing certificates have identified themselves as overseas lawyers.

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Grant Pritchard, an in-house lawyer at Spark and President of the In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand (ILANZ), said there had been a shift in perception over the last three decades of what in-house lawyers did. Rather than acting as intermediaries they were also doing ‘actual work’.

Their expertise for companies and government bodies in navigating often complex challenges, particularly in areas like banking, food industries and others where there is a complex web of compliance and regulatory issues has created an increased demand for greater in-house legal resources.

Attractive Legal Roles

New Zealand's In-House Power Lawyers: A Selection of 10 Key Players

Recruiters emphasize a strong demand for in-house roles where the compensation is often attractive along with flexible work, skill enhancement and travel provide additional attractions.

Companies often seek to onboard general counsel and legal counsel earlier in their growth. The advantages of in-house counsel are evident, including cost reduction in law firm expenses. In-house lawyers contribute to process establishment, collaborating with sales and finance teams. As companies expand, these roles encompass a diverse array of responsibilities.

Another recruiter noted that most organizations seeking in-house counsel favor lawyers with three to six years of post-qualification experience.

While certain roles require industry-specific knowledge, such as IT backgrounds for IT companies and expertise in property-related matters for property companies, the fundamental qualities and skill sets needed remain consistent.

Legal Secondments

Gaining insight through a secondment from a law firm to a business environment can be beneficial and a frequent way to achieve an in-house role on a permanent basis, providing exposure to the in-house realm and preparing aspiring in-house counsel for the necessary in-house skills for a successful career.

LawFuel provides a look at some of the existing and emerging in-house power lawyers who are making their mark in this key area of the New Zealand law profession.

See The In-House Power Lawyers Making Their Mark . .

>> The ‘ONE’ Lawyer

The Latest Law Roles on the LawFuel Network

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