Legal industry rife with sexual misconduct, says former lawyer

Long Lunch 02/03/2018

Former lawyer Olivia Wensley says an alpha male culture in the New Zealand legal industry has led to female lawyers being treated as little more than "pieces of meat" in some firms. 

"Sexual harassment is the norm. And everyone in our profession knows it," she wrote in an essay on LinkedIn.

Ms Wensley joins Trudi Nelson on The Long Lunch to share her perspective on the legal industry. 

“The industry is dominated by alpha males,” she told RadioLIVE.

The former lawyer eventually gave up her career after growing tired of years of sexual innuendos and inappropriate behaviour by male colleagues.

Olivia Wensley calls out alpha male culture in law.

She expressed disappointed with the inactivity of the Law Society in doing anything about the toxic culture that is prevalent in some legal firms.

Ms Wensley is calling for a major shakeup to the way the legal profession responds to sexual harassment.

She says offenders are propped up by colleagues who enable their predatory behaviour, and victims feel powerless and afraid to speak out.

“I wouldn’t put myself out there and take this position if I wasn’t seriously concerned,” she said.

Her plea for action comes after allegations were recently made against Russell McVeagh staff for having sex with university students on a boardroom table at a post-seminar gathering. 

Listen to the full interview with Olivia Wensley above. 

Afternoon Talk with Trudi Nelson in for Wendyl Nissen, 12pm - 3pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.