The New Zealand Law Society has released a detailed data report with a summary of the specific findings for Pacific lawyers, following the release of the overall report in October this year. The findings as they relate to Pacific lawyers should be of concern for the entire profession and show:
- 52% of Pacific lawyers experienced workplace bullying, which has been a 4% increase since 2018. And over a 6-month period, 27% of Pacific lawyers said that they had been bullied compared to 16% of all lawyers for the same period.
- Job satisfaction for Pacific lawyers has dropped by 19% since the 2018 survey – sitting at 65%.
- Pacific lawyers reported having experienced employment discrimination in the last 5 years, significantly more than all lawyers (29% versus 11%) and 59% of those lawyers linked this discrimination to their ethnicity. 47% of these lawyers resigned from their job as a result.
- 10% of Pacific lawyers have experienced sexual harassment in the last 5 years, comparable to 7% of all lawyers. And in terms of specific behaviours, 13% of Pacific lawyers said they felt intimidated by staring or leering in the workplace, compared to 6% of all lawyers.
Pacific Lawyers Association President Arti Chand says we should acknowledge the progress that has been made by the legal profession since 2018, but it is important to keep the spotlight on the negative experiences of specific groups in our legal profession – who not only continue to experience unacceptable behaviour but, in some instances, are enduring more of it.
Tiana Epati, PLA member and former President of Law Society has said “That a spotlight is being put on this issue by the Law Society is positive. But we need to move on from having conversations. Now, more than ever, we need concrete action, active allyship and bold leadership by those with seniority in our wider profession. In the 2021 Women’s Law Journal I wrote an essay titled ‘#Metoo must not leave anyone behind’. This was part of my repeated call as President to ensure the experiences of women of colour were not erased. It is heartbreaking to see that it has left some behind, again”.
The PLA will continue to work to highlight these issues being faced by Pacific lawyers so that we can work with the wider profession to improve outcomes for our people.