Community and diversity
Empowerment, Diversity, and Inclusion
Kia toitū te tangata – We care for our people, clients, and communities.
Community investment programme
Our Community Investment Programme (CIP) supports grassroots and community organisations in Aotearoa New Zealand so we can make a greater impact and help to shape our country’s future.
We believe in using our collective skills, time and resources to make a positive impact for our people, our clients, our communities and our planet. This belief is at the very heart of our CIP.
We are dedicated to building long-term partnerships with organisations that are committed to supporting youth, education and improving the quality of life of people through a combination of pro bono, community programmes, volunteer support and sponsorship.
Some examples are:
- Every year our firm provides free legal services to a wide variety of organisations. Some of these are very significant and long-standing relationships, including our relationship with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and the SPCA.
- Over the past decade, we have supported the Mothers Project, an initiative started by Partner Stacey Shortall. The project aims to maintain connections between incarcerated mothers and their children. Many of our lawyers volunteer and meet with mothers each month and provide follow-up assistance as needed.
- For more than six years, a group of MinterEllisonRuddWatts volunteers have committed time each week to attend low decile schools in Auckland and Wellington to support the learning experience of the primary school students.
We also encourage every member of staff to take a day each year to volunteer to an organisation needing assistance.
Empowerment, diversity, and inclusion
Our firm's culture is built on waka eke noa (respecting individuality and working as one). Empowerment, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) is at the centre of this value and our EDI committee of elected partners and staff focus on diversity in all its forms (e.g. age, background, gender, ethnicity, and sexual orientation) to enhance our unique and inclusive culture.
We have taken deliberate steps to drive sustainable change within our firm and the broader legal industry, focusing on the following key areas of EDI – each with its own programmes to drive awareness and inclusion capability across the firm.
A founding partner of the Global Women’s Champions for Change initiative, we support diversity in the workplace and lead the way with 34% of our partners and 69% of our senior lawyers identifying as female. We are also one of 15 New Zealand workplaces to sign the NZ Law Society (NZLS) Gender Equality Charter.
We are committed to leading from the front, taking action, measuring and reporting on our progress. We support the NZLS’ Gender Equitable Engagement and Instruction Policy, which assists with women’s career progression through the fair allocation of work and lead roles on major matters. We offer coaching support to our female lawyers seeking advancement and promotion, through our performance review process and through our annual MentorME programme. We also regularly host sessions with successful women on their career paths, to motivate women within our firm to achieve their vision of success.
It’s important to us that everyone of our staff feel the belong and are empowered to bring their whole self to work.
We are working toward achieving Rainbow Tick accreditation, to further demonstrate our commitment to a LGBTTQIA+ inclusive culture and systems. We are establishing a Pride Network and support Pride Celebrations such as Pink Shirt Day, Wear it Purple Day and Pride Month. We offer all our staff LGBTTQIA+ Inclusion in the Workplace training – more than 25% of our staff attended a workshop in 2021.
We aim for even greater diversity and inclusion throughout our firm by 2025, including a 40:40:20 (women: men: any gender) gender balance.
We pride ourselves on providing a safe workplace free from discrimination, harassment, and bullying, all of which are supported by policies. Our ‘Walking the Talk’ Policy expresses how we should behave, to speak up against any conduct that doesn’t fit with our values, and to provide avenues of support to our staff.
Our staff come from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences and bring with them a unique mix of skills and expertise. As such, we foster a culture that embraces individual differences and actively support cultural celebrations such as Māori language week, Diwali and Lunar New Year and Te Reo language classes are offered to all staff.
Additionally, we support TupuToa, an organisation that seeks to grow Māori and Pacific leaders, by offering students fully paid internships and employment opportunities during their tertiary studies. Our firm’s leaders also participate in TupuToa’s Cultural Intelligence training.
We are proud to be involved in some great initiatives that encourage and support diversity including:
- Tupu Toa scholarship programme
- Mentoring programme – Kelston Girls’ College
- Internal learning and development activities such as unconscious bias, and targeted cultural training; and
- Major Partner of Global Women
Our commitment to advance diversity and inclusion also been recognised by:
- Asia Women in Business Law Awards – Best New Zealand Firm for Women in Business Law
- Australasia Women in Business Law Awards – Best Mentoring Programme Diversity Works NZ – Highly Commended in the Empowerment category
- New Zealand Law Awards – Community Service Law Firm of the Year