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Jacqueline Lethbridge Will Become The Third Female President Of The New Zealand Law Society

Press Release – New Zealand Law Society

Jacqueline Lethbridge has been elected the 32nd President of the New Zealand Law Society | Te Kāhui Ture o Aotearoa at the Law Society’s Council meeting earlier today.

Ms Lethbridge will take over from current President Tiana Epati when she finishes her three-year term in April 2022. Ms Lethbridge will be the third consecutive and fifth female Law Society President in its 152-year history and one of the youngest.

“It is an honour to have the opportunity to lead the Law Society at a time when the justice system, the rule of law and the legal profession are facing unprecedented challenges and changes” says Ms Lethbridge.

“The Law Society has started a journey to better reflect our society and, as someone who has come from very humble beginnings, that is something I wish to see continue. We need lawyers – and judges – who mirror the makeup of our society. Good lawyers are forged from a multitude of backgrounds.”

“I would like to acknowledge the current President, Tiana Epati for her strong and dedicated leadership throughout her Presidency and the other candidates who stood for election, Frazer Barton, Arti Chand and Duncan Terris. Having such high calibre people either currently in the role or standing for President demonstrates the importance of this role. I would also like to acknowledge all those lawyers, branch and section managers from all over Aotearoa who took time out of their busy schedules to meet either in person or virtually while in lockdown with all of the candidates. Your commitment and contribution to our profession is invaluable.”

Currently the Law Society’s Auckland Vice President, Ms Lethbridge is a partner at Martelli McKegg Lawyers in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland where she heads the litigation team and specialises in commercial and civil litigation with a focus on restructuring and insolvency.

Ms Lethbridge has worked as an in-house lawyer and in private practice. After 3 years at the Waitangi Tribunal from 2001, she began practice in 2004 in criminal law both as a prosecutor and then a defence lawyer at the Public Defence Service before moving into civil litigation at established Auckland firm Grove Darlow & Partners where she was made the firm’s first female partner in 2012. Ms Lethbridge moved to Lowndes as a litigation partner in June 2016.

Ms Lethbridge has held various board positions including being Chairperson of the Board of Auckland Community Law Centre for 10 years and a member of the Board for the Restructuring Insolvency and Turnaround Association of New Zealand in 2016. She has also contributed to the profession throughout her career having been a council member of Auckland District Law Society, served on a Standards Committee, as a current member of the faculty of NZLS CLE Litigation Skills and as an adjunct lecturer for the College of Law.

She is actively involved in promoting and encouraging diversity in the law profession. Recognised as a diverse leader most recently as a Changemaker in the NZ Lawyer Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers 2021 list and a Top Diverse Board-Ready Director for 2021 by the Superdiversity Institute, Ms Lethbridge would like to use her experience as a working parent in the law to tackle the continued glass ceiling for women.

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