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Acknowledgement

The Association acknowledges the professional accounting support it receives from Robyn Jamieson.

Convenors Report 2015/16

2 May 2016

Dear Members

Firstly I would like to say a huge thank you to the existing committee members.  Everyone on the committee contributed to the success of the events which we have run over the last 12 months.  It really has been a team effort!

I would like to say a special thank you to Dee Morgan who is stepping down from the committee due to work commitments.  Dee has been an important member of the committee, having previously been the Secretary.  We will miss you Dee!

We welcome two new full committee members this year.  They are Anna Whelan from Rhodes & Co and Chantal Morkel from Cavell Leitch.  We still have one committee place available so if anyone tonight wishes to join us, please let me or any committee member know.

This past year was my first as convenor and I had huge shoes to fill after Catherine Bibbey’s excellent leadership over the previous two years.  We were fortunate in that Catherine was able to stay on as the treasurer which is an important role.  Diana Jeong as Secretary and Debbie Dunlop as our administrator have assisted the smooth running of the committee. 

Last year was a busy one for the committee. We again held the mid-winter dinner to raise money for the scholarship which we award to the top non-honours law student at University of Canterbury.  It was presented last year to Rachel Gresson who is currently working overseas. Lucy Hone enthralled us with her after dinner speech on the issue of resilience.

Last year, we started holding “Lunch and Learn” seminars.  These are free and exclusive to CWLA members.

In September we held our very first “Lunch and Learn” seminar with Karen Brown from Hairy Lemon.  20 members are now much more familiar with using social media for professional purposes.  Our next Lunch and Learn will be on 17 May when we are very privileged to have the Honourable Paula Bennett speak to us.

October heralded our third Professional Women’s conference at the Rydges. The 183 attendees were spell bound by Rabia Saddique’s speech on her fight for equal justice after her experience as a RAF officer in Iraq. Our other amazing speakers included Jacinda Ardern, Julia Batchelor-Smith, Kathryn Wilson and Helen Cull QC. We received excellent feedback after this conference.

Planning is well under way for this year’s conference which will be held on 30 August at the Rydges.  Our keynote speaker is Lucy Cornell, who is a well known voice coach and will talk to us on the issue of “A Women’s Voice means Business”. We are also very fortunate to have Dame Silvia Cartwright, the Honourable Amy Adams, Joanna Perry and Claire Turnbull speaking to us. Again there will be a significant reduction in the registration fee for CWLA members.

As you may recall our keynote speaker at the 2014 Professional Womens Conference was Beatrice Mtetwa, a human rights lawyer from Zimbabwe.  A documentary of her struggles to ensure human rights and rule of law was shown at the Hoyt cinemas on 25 November.  The money raised from this evening, as well as a donation from CWLA, enabled $3,000 to be sent to the Zimbabwe’s Lawyers for Human Rights organisation so they can continue to keeping fighting for what we take for granted.

Finally we held our Christmas Dinner at the Bamboozle Restaurant, where we had the opportunity to sample amazing food and enjoy fine company. We also used this opportunity to donate money and goods to the Women’s Refuge.

In the background we are also liaising with the University of Canterbury with studies to obtain an understanding of work place practices of the Canterbury legal profession with a focus on part-time workers and flexibility. Of particular interest are views on the viability of part-time workers in various legal fields and professions both for an employee and an employer’s perspective, whether the traditional 8.30 to 5.00 workday still applies to various legal fields, and expectations of employees and employers in relation to flexible work practices.  We are optimistic that the results won’t be too far away.

We could not hold these events or conduct these studies without the support of you our members.  We are very pleased to see that our membership has grown from 83 members this time last year to 129 members now – a growth of over 50%.  As you may be aware, becoming a member of CWLA ensures that you are able to attend our events at a reduced cost – and some events like tonight and the “Lunch and Learn” seminars are free. As members you are also able to add your profile to our “Find a Female Lawyer” page on our website which can be useful for practice development.  We are also very grateful to those firms who sponsor our events, enabling us to run them at minimal cost.

Finally, thank you all again for your support over the last year and hopefully your continued support in the next year and beyond.

Angela Searle

Convenor

 

Convenors Report 2014/15

The first thing I would like to do is thank those members of the committee that are retiring either completely from the committee or stepping down from a substantial role in the committee to being a committee member only. In this regard I’m referring to Dee Morgan who is resigning as secretary but staying on the committee and Roz Burnside who is resigning as treasurer but staying on the committee. Other committee members retiring are Kate Bradley who is travelling overseas and we wish her all the best in this regard and Stephanie Melbourne because of other voluntary commitments.


We welcome three new full committee members this year. They are Diana Jeong (from Cuningham Taylor), Vivienne Wilson (from Simpson Grierson) and Fiona Henderson (from Anderson Lloyd). We also have Cheryl Clausen (a legal executive with Canterbury Chambers) who is to join us in a sub-committee capacity role. Cheryl is keen to assist with our annual conference and other type events.


We have recommended a rule change to increase the maximum capacity of the committee and assuming that in the course of the AGM this is passed we will still have one committee place available so if anyone tonight becomes motivated and inspired please come forward to any committee member.


Also I am stepping down as convenor and will take the role of treasurer this coming year. The rules provide for convenors to only hold that position for two years and even without this I think that two years is long enough and it is important that the organisation benefits from changes in leadership. Angela Searle has volunteered to be the convenor for the upcoming year. As I said earlier I have volunteered to be treasurer and Diana Jeong has stepped forward to be secretary. In addition we are assisted by an administration officer Debbie Dunlop (on a paid basis). You will no doubt as members be dealing with Debbie Dunlop in future.


Like the 2013 year, the 2014 year was a busy one for the Association with our second foray into running the conference. In this year the conference was co-hosted again with the Bar Association but most of the work was done by us because of the Bar Association’s commitment to the World Bar Conference which was held shortly after our conference. The ability of us to do this led us to make a decision that in the 2015 year we would be the sole host of the professional women’s conference thereby retaining more profits in Christchurch and being able to make greater allowance for discounts to women attending who work in the non-profit sector.


The 2014 conference was also a great success and you would have seen the various articles on this conference. Again, feedback from attendees was that the conference was excellent value and this is also attributed to the very good sponsorship we obtained from a number of law firms in town. We do appreciate it is, inter alia, through our members making recommendations to their firms that brings these firms in to support us.


The profits from the 2014 conference have been used to assist in the maintenance of the website but also we are for the first time collaborating with the University of Canterbury to fund two studies. The first study focusses on part-time workers and the other on flexibility which are to be completed in conjunction with the University of Canterbury. The overall objective of the studies is to obtain an understanding of work place practices of the Canterbury legal profession in 2015 with a focus on part-time workers and flexibility. Of particular interest are views on the viability of part-time workers in various legal fields and professions both for an employee and an employer’s perspective, whether the traditional 8.30 to 5.00 workday still applies to various legal fields, and expectations of employees and employers in relation to flexible work practices. The CWLA is working with the University to begin work on the studies in the second half of 2015.


Again we hosted a professional women’s dinner in August at the Ilex Café which proved to be a very popular venue with an inspiring after dinner speaker. Our Christmas lunch was heavily subsidised and attended by a record 80 women. Again we were able to provide funds to the Women’s Refuge from raffles (approximately $300) and a number of hampers given the generous support of the people attending the lunch.
This year we have already confirmed the venue for the professional women’s dinner and the date. Mark your diaries now, it is to be on 20th of August and we have the Addington Coffee Company lined up as our venue with an interesting speaker to be confirmed soon. Keep an eye on the website. We will of course be having our Christmas lunch in December and will in due course advise the time and date.


Our conference this year is on 9 October in the afternoon and again at Rydges. Angela Searle assisted by Kathy Basire are the organisers this year. They have through their hard work been able to secure an absolutely inspirational speaker, Rabia Siddique and you will have read about her in the recent Canterbury Tales. Other speakers confirmed are

  1.  Kathryn Wilson and again there was an article on her recently in the Canterbury Tales;
  2. Julia Batchelor-Smith is to also talk to us and she will be familiar to all of you from her “Laws of Motherhood” column in New Zealand Lawyer; and
  3.  Helen Cull QC is coming back this year, not as MC but to speak on public speaking, what to do and what not to do and how not to talk in court. Interestingly Helen Cull as well as being a QC was at the beginning a very career qualified speech teacher.

As with anything, nothing could happen without the support of our members. We have kept our membership fees very low and this year we are proposing only a $5 increase for both full and associate members. This means that the joining fee for full members will be $45 (inclusive of GST) and for associate members $25 (inclusive of GST). Given the very substantial discounts for members at our conference, Christmas lunch and the AGM, membership provides significant benefits. In addition there is our “Find a Female Lawyer” page on our website which could well be a valuable marketing tool for members. Again in 2015 we will continue to provide this service at no charge to our members. If you are not sure what I am talking about please go to the website www.cwla.org.nz and look at this page. It is remarkably simple to create an account and edit an account.
Finally, thank you all again for your support over the last year and hopefully your continued support in the next year and beyond.


Catherine Bibbey
Convenor