Lawyers scramble for plum job

Independent lawyer Jenny Vickers promises action, presence and progress if she succeeds in her latest bid for presidency of the Auckland district law society.

Ms Vickers, who has previously been highly critical of the undemocratic structure of the New Zealand Law Society (NZLS) and has urged the Auckland body (ADLSi) to "play nicely" with its Wellington-based parent, missed out in a three-way challenge last year.

Postal voting closes on December 11, giving four presidential candidates a chance to lobby during next Thursday evening's ADLSi rooftop Christmas party at Chancery Chambers.

Incumbent Frank Godinet, who went in on an Auckland-independence banner last year after a protracted stoush to ward off NZLS control of Auckland's commercial assets, wants another go.

Other challengers for the $120,000 a year post are vice-president Nola Dangen and provincial property lawyer David Roughan.

Ms Vickers says she remains of the view that an independent ADLSi has a valid role on behalf of the entire profession, as an unfettered independent voice, "but this needs to be a loud voice not a wimper".

"A year ago the (ADLSi) Council approved a strategy with a bold vision but the whole year has been wasted arranging the deck chairs. There is much that can be done to play nicely with NZLS, which is to the benefit of all across the country," Ms Vickers says.

Auckland lawyers earlier voted overwhelmingly to reject an amalgamation plan which would have given the NZLS control over more than $14 million of assets and extensive member services.

After an often bitter debate, a plan for amalgamation was roundly dumped by those of the 3500 membership who voted to retain Auckland autonomy.

At the time a number of Auckland lawyers believed amalgamation with the Wellington-based and asset-thin NZLS would rob them of ownership of their multi-storey headquarters and revenue from extensive member services.

Auckland presidency can lead to higher roles within the NZLS and a judge-ship.


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