On 14 February 2018, Newsroom broke a story regarding sexual assault

at one of New Zealand's premier law firms.


Following that story, there was an outpouring of junior lawyers

sharing their experiences of sexual harassment and exploitation at work. 

A year later, with no sign of any meaningful change in the profession

in response to the issues that surfaced,

ALWU was formed.

Read on to find out more about:

Our aims

What we do for members

Membership structure

Our aims

ALWU is here to represent workers at legal workplaces in Aotearoa.


We aim to:

  • promote inclusivity, kindness and a sense of pride in the legal profession;

  • provide a cohesive public voice for legal workers;

  • stop the unfair treatment of junior lawyers;

  • promote safe and healthy workplaces for legal workers in New Zealand; and

  • advocate for margnialised groups of legal workers, including junior lawyers, women, people in the LGBTQI+ community, tangata whenua, people of colour, and disabled people.

In order to  achieve those goals, ALWU will:

  • advocate for fair treatment and accountability in the profession;

  • collect and publish data to promote transparency about pay and working conditions in legal workplaces;

  • conduct campaigns to reduce the power imbalance and pay gap between employers and workers; and

  • connect legal workers with qualified support, advocacy and representation on workplace issues.


What we do for members


In addition to advocating for the collective interests of its members generally through the media and with relevant organisations, ALWU also helps members at the individual level. 

We have a dedicated advocacy team, plus a panel of experienced employment lawyers who can represent ALWU members on a pro bono basis.  They can provide members with a wide range of support, including:

  • providing information and answering questions about members' employment;

  • advising members on employment issues they're facing;

  • acting as a support person and attending meetings with members and their employers;

  • attending and offering support at mediation; and

  • if necessary, representing members at the Employment Relations Authority or the Employment Court.

This year, ALWU also intends to begin collective bargaining for its members.


Membership structure


ALWU has three types of membership:

  1. Ordinary membership

  2. Student membership

  3. Associate membership

Ordinary membership is open to anybody employed in a legal workplace who supports the purposes of ALWU. ALWU intends to represent the collective interests of people employed as a lawyer in any organisation, in a policy or advocacy role that interfaces with the law, or in a support role for lawyers or other legal workers.

Student membership is open to anybody aged 16 years or older who either:

  • is engaged in at least their second year of; or

  • has completed within the previous two years

full time study in a nationally-accredited education institution or programme where the person has an interest 

Associate membership is open to anybody not otherwise entitled to membership.


Membership costs $50 per year if you earn $50,001 or more.
Membership is free for students and if you earn $50,000 or less.


ALWU services, including advocacy services, are only available to paying members and student members.

How to pay

You can now pay your $50 membership fee for 2022 via bank transfer to:

Aotearoa Legal Workers' Union


Please provide your full name as a reference. 

Payment covers your membership for the 2022 calendar year.


We are also more than happy to accommodate payment plans, please get in touch to arrange this.

"I'm incredibly heartened by the great work ALWU is taking on, and the energy and vision of its members.  Positive culture change doesn't just happen by accident.  It takes effort and work and positive support networks.  I totally support this kaupapa."

Zoë Prebble  Lecturer, Te Herenga Waka | Victoria University of Wellington