18 Sep 2018

Media barred from Women in Law Auckland conference

6:58 am on 18 September 2018

Journalists have been banned from a conference where the heads of the country's top law firms are set to discuss sexual harassment in the profession.

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file photo Photo: 123rf

More than 140 lawyers are expected to attend today's Women in Law Summit in Auckland and, until last night, media had been allowed to attend.

The event organisers said the last minute decision was made because delegates and speakers were worried about what journalists would report.

The in-house magazine NZ Lawyer is now the only media outlet allowed to cover the summit

The heads of the firms will be talking about what's being done to prevent sexual harassment, how leaders in law are making their firms more inclusive of women, and what the future holds for women working for New Zealand's biggest firms.

Chair of Simpson Grierson Anne Callinan, who is speaking on the panel, said she is not sure why media have been banned.

The media have helped the #MeToo movement, Ms Canninan said.

"I think that is the benefit of the Me Too movement and of people speaking up about issues in our industry and indeed, there will be other industries that are affected too, and until you start having open discussions about the issues and start getting some good conversations going, it's hard to change things. So I think it's been a real healthy thing," she said.

The summit follows a turbulent year for the law industry - in May, a Law Society survey found that nearly a third of of female lawyers in New Zealand have been sexually harassed in a workplace environment.

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