Gender in the Legal Profession

Producing a solutions-focused report capturing ideas for how to stop sexual harassment and bullying in the legal profession.


About the project

This project will engage people of all genders in the legal profession in New Zealand about sexual
harassment, bullying and gender equality. It will produce a solutions-focused report of ideas for change that will be passed on to the New Zealand Law Society, the Minister of Justice, law firms, law faculties and other related organisations and parties.

There has been good documentation of the problem through other fora. This report aims at the next phase: capturing creative options for change. It is hoped the report will be a useful resource for organisations and individuals when thinking about how to tackle difficult and longstanding problems in the profession.

The success of the project will be measured by the extent of participation, and the response from
stakeholders once it is published. In particular, the project coordinators will be keeping an eye out for uptake of the ideas.

Lawyers, non-legal support staff, law students, legal academics and people who have previously been lawyers but are no longer practising are all encouraged to participate. Possible solutions are currently being formulated at the firm or NZ Law Society level. This is important work, grounded in the belief that everyone involved with the legal profession has important ideas for how the profession can change.

Read the final Report PUREA NEI: Changing the Culture of the Legal Profession

Watch the video of the launch of the Purea Nei report and panel discussion on 26 Feb 2020

Grant amount

$5,000 over six months for work in 2018-2019. This is a co-funded project with the New Zealand Law Foundation, which is contributing the same amount.

About Ana Lenard, Allanah Colley and Bridget McLay

Project coordinators Ana Lenard, Allanah Colley, and Bridget McLay are enrolled barristers and solicitors of the High Court of New Zealand and junior members of the legal profession. Ana and Allanah are the founding editors-in-chief of the New Zealand Women’s Law Journal — Te Aho Kawe Kaupapa Ture a ngā Wāhine.

Bridget is the deputy editor of the journal.

The project is also supported by women from the Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Otago Women Lawyers’ Associations.

Contact person

Bridget McLay

“This project is about putting into action the calls for cultural change in the legal profession. We aim to develop real world solutions and initiatives through engagement with a wide range of members in the profession about how meaningful change can be achieved. We see this as an important next step in making the profession safer, healthier and happier – a profession we can enjoy working in and be proud of.”

– Ana Lenard, Allanah Colley and Bridget McLay