I often get asked ‘How do I qualify as a Solicitor in New Zealand?” so thought I would put a short intro together to cover the basics. All NZ companies will want you to pass the NZ bar as quickly as possible upon arrival so you can work independently.
If you are an overseas practitioner (i.e. a person who is admitted as a barrister, solicitor, advocate or attorney of on overseas court) or an overseas graduate (a person holding an LLB or equivalent law qualification, but who is not admitted to practise as a barrister, solicitor, advocate or attorney of a superior court), and you are seeking admission to the High Court of New Zealand you will have to apply to the New Zealand Council of Legal Education (NZCLE) for assessment of your overseas qualification. Basically, this will verify that your qualification and work experience is adequate to sit the New Zealand Law and Practice (NZLP) exam.
You will need to pay $1886.00 up front + fee’s to the high court of $220 and the process takes approximately 16 weeks.
You will then need to sit the NZLP exam for the subject areas you will be practicing in. These are held twice a year (lasting approximately 90 mins per subject) and as NZ Law differs from Common Law it would be extremely rare that someone would be exempt from sitting the exam if they haven’t studied Law in NZ. Following successful completion of the NZLP you will need to go through the NZ Law Society to attain a Certificate of Character.
Finally, you can then attend a group admission hearing at the High Court of NZ and once admitted you can apply to the law society for a practising certificate.
The upshot is, the information you need to provide and the process you need to follow is pretty transparent.
If you want to get started before you get to NZ you can order NZLP exam materials online by visiting www.lawsociety.org.nz
You can also find more detailed information in this official brochure – Admission_Brochure