Looking for advice re: Legal jobs In New Zealand

Hello -

I am a U.S./New Zealand dual citizen looking to move myself and my family [spouse and two kids] to New Zealand.  I live in the US State of Arizona, where I've worked as an Attorney for almost 20 years.  I'm looking to take the NZ Law & Practice Exam this coming July.  Can anyone provide me with advice regarding obtaining a legal position in New Zealand?  I'm especially interested in working for government....


Chris Ackerley
Lakeside, Arizona, USA

Hi Chris, welcome on Expat-blog! :)

I hope other members will be able to advice you.

I wish you good luck

hi Chris,

i know that unemployment office help new zealander to find job in government department. one of my friend got a position in immigration office. u may contact them to get some advice. or u can write to citizens advice bureau.

Hi Katrina Ma -

Thanks for the information about the unemployment office.  Cam you tell me what city the office is located in, and the exact name of the office?  Thanks.

I am ashamed to admit I do not know where Mauritius is, other than it is in Africa.  What city do you live in?  What type of work do you do?  Your profile says that your husband is French.  What type of work does he do?  Do you have children?

I live in a very small town in Arizona called Lakeside.  Although the deserts of Arizona are very warm, especially in the Summer, the elevation in the area where I live is 7,200 feet [around 2,300 meters] above sea level.  We get a lot of snow in the winter.  The average temperature in Summer is around 25 degrees [centigrade].  In winter, the daytime temperature ranges from -5 to +10 degrees.

Arizona has two large cities.  Phoenix is an raw, ugly, hot place where 4 million people live.  Tucson, which has a population of around 1 million, is a much older, more cultural place.   

Arizona shares a border with the Mexican State of Sonora.  Mexico is a very beautiful Country, but very poor and lately, somewhat dangerous due to drug trafficking.  The Sea of Cortez, which divides the Mexican State of Sonora from the State of Baja California, is as close to paradise as any place I have ever been.

Have you or your husband visited the United States?  If you ever think of visiting the US, please feel free to ask me any question you wish about my Country.


Arizona Chris
Lakeside, Arizona, USA

Hi Chris

Sorry I cannot offer advice about obtaining a legal position here.  But I would have to say please do not pin your hopes on obtaining much needed information from the citizens advice bureau.  I do not mean to diss Katrina's advice in any way, but in my dealings with them here, and from a professional perspective, they are often unable to help as they are usually managed by retired volunteers focusing on local knowledge. 

But you could always try the Seek Website for information about employment opportunities.  Or log on to the NZ government website for a list of career opportunities.

ps Mauritius is an island nation, famous for being the only known place inhabited by the now extinct dodo.

I hope you enjoy your move here.

Hi there Chris,
for the NZLPE, I just wanted to ask if you had already been through the NZ Council for Legal Education to have your qualifications and professional experience assessed? This is the first step, but you may have already done that since you mention the NZLPE. That is the stage I am at, although I came straight back to NZ having done an English law degree and not qualifying or practicing before coming back. Your case would be different as you have experience which may make you exempt from certain parts of the Exams. My experience of the exams is that they have been a real pain in the @£* and remain my last hurdle before qualifying here. I think it just depends on how you are able to go about the exams: coming from your professional background I'm guessing it should not be a problem. I think treating the exam prep as a full time job is probably the best if you are planning to take many in one sitting. I took the first two of six in one sitting and even that didn't work out. That said I was preparing from home whilst being a stay home mother of two so...yeah.

As far as positions: search sites such as , www.jobs.govt.nz (all Government jobs are listed there, both local and central govt and district councils etc, www.trademe.co.nz jobs section, and www.Seek.co.nz  ... well thats a good start anyway. Some recruitment firms such as Hays.co.nz may also be useful to look at, as well as the Consulting firms such as PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Ernst&Young and KPMG if that is of any interest to you. They have braches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to choose from. You might also like to look directly to the various websites of the different government departments, for example www.ird.govt.nz (Inland Revenue (Tax) dept, where I worked for a while and I considered to be a great employer), just do a search for the different departments, I'm not sure which area of govt you are interested in. I would also say that sending your details out to some of the major firms around the country such as Chapman Tripp, Duncan Cotteril, Simpson Grierson etc (search on this site which you may already be familiar with: http://www.chambersandpartners.com/Global/Search/Location/158 )

As far as which part of NZ you hope to move to, have you any preferences, or are you still at the early stage of considering any part? I am in Christchurch, which is absolutely a great place for family living, although it can seem small and conservative and somewhat lacking in social life (depending on what social life you'd like) in comparison to other cities. I have not lived elsewhere in NZ so can not comment on Auckland or Wellington for example, but I can say that job wise there would be more opportunity in those cities than in Chch just because of the population (around 400k in Chch compared to roughly 1.3million in Auck, and government seat in Wellington.)

I have always been fascinated by the idea of Arizona, and desert cities in general, for some crazy reason, and definitely it is on my 'to visit' wish list. I hope to do a US trip in the next few years with my partner.

I hope this long-winded reply is of some use to you. Don't hesitate if you have any other questions I may be able to help with! :)

Hi Chris and other members,

I am an attorney in Atlanta and am now practicing exclusively as a mediator/ arbitrator of employment related claims. My husband and I want to move to NZ but are not dual citizens. I am trying to determine what types of positions I might be able to find in NZ. My husband is a commercial litigation attorney, but only one of us needs to find a job in order to put the move into action.

Any ideas/ advice from anyone?


I am frm India.I am stdying in NZ.I wish to move USA.I need ur legal advice ArizonaChris


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