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The Aotearoa Legal Workers Union believes young lawyers working long hours are

being exploited, one of the issues highlighted by Dame Margaret Bazley in a review
following the Russell McVeigh sexual harassment scandal.

In her report, Bazley wrote of junior legal staff finishing work as late at 4am and "being
at their desk within an hour of waking and in bed again within an hour of leaving their
desks."

She said discretionary rewards like "prezzie cards" were not working "because the
partner either did not know or did not pay attention to the hours worked by staff."

Recommendation 23 of her report suggests "a fair system of days in lieu or payment for
overtime be developed, applied consistently, and not left to the discretion of partners."

Stuff asked 15 major law firms about their remuneration policies, and whether staff were
falling below minimum wage rates during heavy workload periods.

Here are their responses:

Simpson Grierson:

1) ​What is the starting wage for a recent graduate at Simpson Grierso​n?

For privacy reasons we can't disclose those details.

2) ​Does the firm have a Living Wage policy in place?

We pay all of our people above the Living Wage.

3) ​What overtime hours are lawyers, particularly those with 10 years or less experience
in the industry, expected to work?

We strongly encourage our people to maintain a healthy balance of work and non-work
activity around their agreed hours of work and no one is required to work a particular
number of extra hours.

However, given the ebbs and flows of work volumes, we recognise that some people do
work extended hours from time to time. In response, we set salaries to compensate for
that and to acknowledge the requirements of each role.
We also have a number of formal and informal ways to recognise and compensate
instances where our people take on extra hours, and our policies provide for them to
take the rest needed to maintain personal wellness.

4) ​What compensation schemes, if any, are in place to recognise overtime work?

We have a number of ways to recognise and compensate instances where our people
work extra hours. This can include informally or formally granting time in lieu, bonuses,
and other compensation.

5) ​Are the schemes (if any) in place structured/formal? Are they discretionary?

We have formal and discretionary methods in place.

6) ​If the latter, do they rest on the discretion of the partner?

Anyone in our organisation can nominate someone for discretionary recognition.

7) ​Is SG aware of any workers (practicing lawyers or otherwise) at the firm who slip
below minimum wage levels over the course of any fortnight wage period?

No we are not.

As in any industry, there may be occasions where some of our people work extra hours
from time to time. If that happens we have formal and informal processes to recognise
that effort and provide for them to have additional time off or compensation.

8) ​Did the firm make any changes in recognition of the (overtime compensation)
recommendations in the Bazley report after it was released?

We reviewed our operations in light of the recommendations the Bazley report made in
relation to Russell McVeagh. We felt that our practices around compensation were
appropriate, and we will continue to monitor them.

The report also provided additional confirmation of the need to embed flexible working
practices, and we currently have several teams participating in a flexible working pilot.
The intention is to introduce new working practices with a focus on enabling our people
to flex their day and hours worked around their needs. We will roll this program out to all
staff later this year.

Meredith Connell:

1/ ​What is the starting wage for a recent graduate at Meredith Connell?

Commercially sensitive but it is top end of market.

2/ ​Does the firm have a Living Wage policy in place?

Yes – all staff not just lawyers (including on-site contractors e.g. cleaners)

3/ ​What overtime hours are lawyers, particularly those with 10 years or less experience
in the industry, expected to work?

They aren't – the budgeted time expectation fits within a 37.5 hour week.

4/ ​What compensation schemes, if any, are in place to recognise overtime work?

Financial compensation available.

5/ ​Are the schemes (if any) in place structured/formal? Are they discretionary?

Both – structured and formal but are discretionary.

6/ ​If the latter, do they rest on the discretion of the partner?

No.

7/ ​Is MC aware of any workers (practicing lawyers or otherwise) at the firm who slip
below minimum wage levels over the course of any fortnight wage period?

No.

8/ ​Did the firm make any changes in recognition of the (overtime compensation)
recommendations in the Bazley report after it was released?
It was considered - but on reflection we were satisfied our current practice was not
comparable to the concerns raised in the report and no changes were required.

Kensington Swan:

1. ​What is the starting wage for a recent graduate at Kensington Swan?

Kensington Swan's current Law Graduates are paid $46,000 plus a $1,000 clothing
allowance, if they didn't receive this allowance as a Summer Clerk at Kensington Swan.

2. ​Does the firm have a Living Wage policy in place?

Kensington Swan introduced a mandate in 2016 to pay a living wage for all permanent
employees.

3. ​What overtime hours are lawyers, particularly those with 10 years or less experience
in the industry, expected to work?

Kensington Swan observes standard business hours of Monday to Friday, from 8.30 am
to 5 pm with a one hour break for lunch (37.5 hours per week). There are times when, in
order to meet the needs of clients and court deadlines, some employees will work
outside those hours. Client work has peaks and troughs and we have policies in place
to recognise staff working in these situations, as set out in response to question 4.

4. ​What compensation schemes, if any, are in place to recognise overtime work?

Kensington Swan has in place a range of schemes, including:


· Bonus policy
· Meal and travel policy
· Time in lieu or overtime arrangements (primarily for part-time authors, secretaries and
corporate services staff)
· Discretionary bonuses

5. ​Are the schemes (if any) in place structured/formal? Are they discretionary?

At the moment Kensington Swan's schemes are a mix of formal and informal. This is
something that the Firm is reviewing to ensure it has a consistent approach to reward
and recognition and also that employees understand their entitlements.
6.​ If the latter, do they rest on the discretion of the partner?

While Kensington Swan's informal schemes are usually at the discretion of the partner
and the Human Resources Director, management monitors staff working levels to
ensure that a consistent approach is taken.

7. ​Is KS aware of any workers (practicing lawyers or otherwise) at the firm who slip
below minimum wage levels over the course of any fortnight wage period?

As in all law firms, there are certain events that create significant peaks of demand. For
example, it is not unusual for all of those working on a High Court proceeding, or a large
deal closing, to work long days for a number of days in a row. Where this occurs, the
compensation processes referred to in Q4 are used to ensure that those people are
appropriately rewarded and recognised.

The starting salary for a Law Graduate is $46,000 after which salaries increase by
approximately 20% each year over the following four years.

8. ​Did the firm make any changes in recognition of the (overtime compensation)
recommendations in the Bazley report after it was released?

We have closely reviewed the Bazley report and taken a number of steps to address the
issues raised in it, including in relation to the approach the Firm should take to reward
and recognition

Russell McVeagh:

We are continuing to work through Dame Margaret's recommendations for our


long-term culture transformation programme. Please see our ​March statement​ which
outlines the developments of the past year.

On this specific issue we have a dedicated People Action Group, made of up of staff
from across the firm, which has been working with senior leadership in the area of hours
worked and recognition.

Our Board, HR team and myself are closely monitoring hours worked across the firm.
We have a range of mechanisms to ensure we recognise contribution of all our people
and are committed to applying these consistently.
We have asked, and will keep asking, all of our people to raise any concerns about
excessive hours and workload by them or anyone else, with their manager, the HR
team or myself, or anyone in the dedicated People Action Group.

- CEO Jo Avenell

Bell Gully:

Bell Gully reviews salary levels across the firm regularly, including as part of an annual
review process, to ensure our team are being rewarded fairly for the work they do.
While we don't have a formal policy in this area, we do monitor salaries against the
Living Wage, as well as against wider market expectations, in what is a competitive
market for the best people.

There are no set expectations around hours worked beyond what is contracted.
Sometimes people will work beyond those contracted hours when needed to respond to
client needs. That is recognised by the firm in a number of ways. All of our legal team
are eligible to participate in a formal, transparent, annual bonus structure as well as a
monthly staff rewards scheme, both of which provide additional remuneration reflecting
effort beyond our expectations. We run a moderated process where partners have input
into these schemes, but the final decisions on annual bonuses for legal staff rest with
two salary partners, and those for monthly staff rewards with two staff partners, to
ensure fair treatment across the firm.

We have also adopted a further policy where those working long hours will, in additional
to the cash recognition that we provide, receive time off in lieu.
We are committed to providing a fair environment where all staff can grow and thrive.

The well-being of our team is a priority for our firm and will remain so in the future.

- Bell Gully chair Anna Buchly.

Chapman Tripp:

"Chapman Tripp is committed to providing a workplace environment where all our


people can flourish and are fairly rewarded for their contributions.

"We have a social, economic and corporate responsibility to meet the ongoing
expectations of our people. As part of this we recognise the importance of continual
review. We currently have a program of work underway to assess our approach to
performance and reward to ensure it is aligned with best practice.

"We can confirm that our people are earning above the living wage, and that we also
have various programmes in place to actively recognise and reward our people for their
efforts.

- People and Culture Director Tania Restall​

DLA Piper:

DLA Piper participates in the annual EY Legal Remuneration Survey of remuneration


and market trends for New Zealand, ensuring we are paying market rates. This obviates
the need for a Living Wage policy; we know we pay all our permanent employees above
it.

As for overtime, from time to time specific projects may arise which lead us to ask
lawyers to work additional hours. Their salaries and benefits - as in many occupations -
are calculated to compensate for any extra requirements. Moreover, we have revised all
salaries upwards after a review based on the annual EY survey.

As a global law firm, we have a number of best practice programmes designed


specifically to enhance the wellbeing and work life balance of employees. It is an
important focus for our firm.

- DLA Piper New Zealand Country Managing Partner, Martin Wiseman

Lane Neave:

Lane Neave's culture is such that we strongly encourage a work/life balance with both
partners and employees, and we do not encourage or expect employees to
continuously work extended or excessive hours.

We have a Working Hours and Additional Hours Policy in place to cover information on
the hours that employees work, work/life balance, health & safety and wellness. This
Policy outlines what our normal working week looks like (37.5 hours) and the steps to
take if an employee or supervisor identifies anyone continuously working over and
above these hours.
Our budget for daily billable hours is set at level where our legal staff work reasonable,
but not excessive, hours and is considered modest in comparison to many other law
firms of our size. It is also worth noting that our Working Hours and Additional Hours
policy was developed and resolved in consultation with our staff.

We have a continuing education programme with all our staff and partners, which cover
issues from resilience to sleeping well and we encourage our staff to get involved in
many wellbeing activities, including volunteering for charity.

While I don't believe it is appropriate to share salary information about any of our staff,
I'm happy to confirm that we review our graduate starting remuneration every year
against a range of market data to ensure that we fit favourably within market rates as
one of New Zealand's larger law firms.

One of our strengths when attracting graduates is the way we value their lives outside of
work, including spending time with family, undertaking wellness activities, taking part in
sport and recreation, being part of a community, volunteering, or undertaking further
development and study. Our philosophy is that well-rounded, interesting people make
better lawyers.

We also recognise that there is an ebb and flow in our line of work. From time to time
our clients need us to work late to help with an important matter but we don't give out
prizes to the last one who turns out the lights. If our team do work outside their normal
hours, we offer general support such as meals, days in lieu, and our policy outlines that
supervising lawyers can approve overtime to be paid in some circumstances.

Our firm used the Bazley Report as an opportunity to review and reflect on our culture
and practices, including as part of the ongoing rolling-review of all our policies.
We can confirm that our remuneration levels for all of our permanent staff, including
graduates and non-legal staff, are above the current Living Wage and significantly
above the minimum wage. Our base remuneration is further topped up with a yearly
wellbeing allowance to all staff and a discretionary bonus to legal staff.

- Ellery Tappin, Corporate Communications Manager

Duncan Cotterill:
"Ensuring the wellbeing of our team is really important. To us this means safeguarding a
good balance in their lives, fair remuneration, and providing a respectful culture and
working environment that is supportive and provides equal opportunities.
We pay market rates and all of our permanent staff are paid above the living wage. We
have a number of wellbeing initiatives and benefits in place too including flexible
working, sports teams, community days, pro-bono work and office pilates classes and
massages.

Our expectations around chargeable work are reasonable i.e. 6 hours a day. We have
no expectation for our employees to work outside of normal office hours on a sustained
basis, however like every client relationship-driven business, from time to time there
may be a need to work beyond regular working hours in order to meet clients' needs.
Where a team member does work beyond their regular hours, we do have a policy to
manage this appropriately and we monitor and recognise this through both formal and
informal ways. There are existing individual employment agreement provisions and also
a discretionary scheme to acknowledge contributions that go above and beyond typical
working hours for example paid time off, bonuses and weekends away, as appropriate.
For discretionary recognition, this is assessed by management, partners and relevant
partner committees to make sure there is consistency.

Being a good employer who treats all staff with respect and care is something we take
really seriously. Our people are our greatest asset and we have a responsibility to
protect their wellbeing."

- CEO Peter Boyle

Anderson Lloyd:

1. ​What is the starting wage for a recent graduate at Anderson Lloyd?

We are committed to paying a minimum of the Living Wage across the firm which at
2019 rate of $21.15 / hr before tax, equates to a salary of just under $44k. The salaries
for our Graduates in three of our four office locations are market driven, which is above
the Living Wage (Auckland ($48k), Christchurch ($45k) and Queenstown (48k). In
Dunedin, the Graduate market rate is below the Living Wage, therefore we increased
this to meet the Living Wage requirement. All other legal support salaries also align to
the Living wage

2. ​Does the firm have a Living Wage policy in place?

Yes. As discussed above, the Living Wage is the minimum pay level at Anderson Lloyd
for all staff.
3. ​What overtime hours are lawyers, particularly those with 10 years or less experience
in the industry, expected to work?

The wellbeing of our people is vital. All staff contracts are for 40 hours a week and we
don't expect our people to work beyond this. If the need arises for our people to work
additional hours on unexpected projects requiring quick turnaround we do allow this with
prior approval however we do monitor the amount of hours people work above their
contracted hours to make sure we have the right resources in place.

As part of our Health & Safety requirements, we implemented an 'hours worked' report
which our GM HR compiles each quarter for the CEO to present to the Board. This
formal process allows us to complete a regular health check on our people and their
hours – Through this reporting we can see patterns of hours worked beyond our
expectations and if we see or have any concerns we provide support to the staff
member and their supervisor. This involves but is not limited to looking for additional
resource not only with the department but also across other offices.

4. ​What compensation schemes, if any, are in place to recognise overtime work?

Time in lieu, Bonuses, Reward vouchers e.g. coffee vouchers. We are currently going
through a review of our rewards and recognition structure to ensure they align with our
higher firm values.

5. ​Are the schemes (if any) in place structured/formal? Are they discretionary?

Formal - the Health & Safety reports is presented at the Board meeting. This ensures
the response to any hours worked outside of contracted levels is seen independent of
the Partner supervising the workload.

6. ​If the latter, do they rest on the discretion of the partner?

n/a

7. ​Is AL aware of any workers (practicing lawyers or otherwise) at the firm who slip
below minimum wage levels over the course of any fortnight wage period?

No. As discussed – we work to Living Wage requirements


8. ​Did the firm make any changes in recognition of the (overtime compensation)
recommendations in the Bazley report after it was released?

The above processes and commitments were already in place before the Bazley Report
recommendations were released. Anderson Lloyd therefore utilised the release the
Bazley Report findings as an opportunity to review our policies.

The New Zealand Law Society​ was also approached for its response, and provided
the following:

The New Zealand Law Society does share the concerns raised by Dame Margaret
Bazley last year following the Independent Review of Russell McVeagh.

While the Law Society is not the employer at law firms and other businesses where law
is practised, the wellbeing of the whole profession is our key priority and major area of
focus. It may interest you to know our survey results found that over two-thirds (68%) of
lawyers said they worked extended hours. It also found that on average 90% of partners
and 87% of directors agreed with the statement 'I work under unrealistic time
pressures.' This was well above the overall response that 44% agreed with the
statement. Other groups where the response was higher than average included:
barristers sole (85%), lawyers in sole practice (55%), Māori lawyers (52%), Chinese
lawyers (50%), lawyers in practice for 3-5 years (49%) and lawyers aged 40-49 (48%).
In contrast it found that only 33% of lawyers who had been in practice for a year felt
under time pressure.

The Law Society has some complaints related to long hours and overtime which are
under investigation. Confidentiality prohibits us from going into specifics, however we
are providing support to the affected people. The complaints we received are being
considered by our independent Lawyers Standards Committees. If they believe the
employers responsible for hiring and supervising these lawyers have breached their
obligations as an employer, the Committees could consider making disciplinary findings
against the lawyers and even consider publication of the outcome.