The Law Society have announced that Gisborne lawyer Tiana Epati has been elected President of the New Zealand Law Society following the expiry of the current term for Kathryn Beck in April 2019.
Ms Beck’s term has been marked with the difficulties of Russell McVeagh’s harassment scandal and the developing #Metoo storm that followed. Ms Epati will need to grapple with the issues following some stringent criticism of Ms Beck’s handling of the crisis.
Her election makes her the fourth woman to be President of the New Zealand Law Society. Since the first President was elected in 1897, the national lawyers’ organisation and regulator has had 30 Presidents.
The NZLS media release says that Tiana Epati is currently Vice-President, Central North Island and a partner with Gisborne law firm Rishworth Wall & Mathieson. She was admitted as a barrister and solicitor in September 2000 after graduating from Auckland University with a BA in philosophy and history and an LLB. She spent four years as a Crown prosecutor with Meredith Connell before moving to Wellington to work as a Crown prosecutor with Luke Cunningham Clere and, on a one-year fixed term contract, in the public law team at Izard Weston.
She moved to the Crown Law Office in 2008 to work in the criminal law team before moving to Gisborne in 2012, where she has worked as a criminal defence lawyer with Rishworth Wall & Mathieson. She was President of the Law Society’s Gisborne branch from 2014 to 2016 and was elected Vice-President, Central North Island in April 2016.