NZAL (New Zealand Asian Leaders) Lawyers was successfully launched in Auckland on 10 June. The launch was well-attended, with over 125 members of the profession and distinguished guests, including the current President of the NZLS who launched NZAL Lawyers, Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand and Judge Patel who spoke at the Symposium, the past President of the New Zealand Law Society Kathryn Beck, and Raymond Huo MP, Chair of the Justice Select Committee of Parliament. The President of the Pacific Lawyers Association, representatives of Te Hunga Rōia Māori o Aotearoa (the Māori Law Society), and the President of the Auckland Law Students Association Lina Kim were also in attendance.
Law Society President, Tiana Epati officially launched NZAL Lawyers at the Auckland event. The attendees heard from her about the importance of collegiality and looking after one another in the legal profession.
His Honour Judge Sanjay Patel, who spoke after Tiana gave his thoughts on how Asian lawyers could succeed within the judiciary. Judge Patel said that he hoped his appointment to the bench could be an inspiration to other lawyers, saying “If I can do it, so can you.”
Arthur Loo, who is a co-founder and partner at Loo & Koo Solicitors, shared insights on how Asian lawyers could succeed in legal practice. He spoke about the value of diverse experiences in legal practice, noting that when he commenced legal practice he was already experienced at dealing with people from all works of life, a skill he had gained from working at his parents’ fruit shop as a teenager.
Former Ombudsman and Special Counsel at Chen Palmer, Leo Donnelly, who spoke on how Asian lawyers can succeed in the state sector, emphasised the importance of having confidence in your own capabilities,. He said that cultural background should never be a reason to lack confidence in yourself.
Leo was followed by Stella Chan, co-founder and partner at Forest Harrison Lawyers, who spoke about the issues and challenges faced by lawyers engaged by Asian clients.
The event ended with a speech from Former Governor-General, Ombudsman and District Court Judge Rt Hon Sir Anand Satyanand, via video link. Sir Anand spoke of his enthusiastic support for NZAL Lawyers. He said that having support is vital, peers are crucial, and echoed Arthur Loo’s comments that success in the law depends upon building and maintaining your reputation.