For Rose Alchin, agility is one important thing the legal profession needs today as it deals with unprecedented problems. The employment law specialist has helmed family-operated, Hamilton-based employment law chambers Rose Alchin & Associates for over two decades, and the issues borne of the COVID-19 pandemic have been keeping this barrister on her toes.
Alchin, who was among the early enrolees in Waikato University then-new law school, has learned to move with the ups and downs of the legal profession, letting go of the fear of technological change over the past year. With new ways of working defining the profession, she “would be very surprised” if the industry reverts to what it was before.
In this interview, Alchin talks vaccine mandates, looking out for small-to-medium business lacking in-house support and looking ahead to “more prosperous times.”
Here is a short snippet of the interview –
What made you choose a career in law, and what’s your favourite part of the job?
Waikato University first opened its law school when I had just finished my first degree. I had always wanted to be a lawyer, so I decided to enrol seeing as I could now pursue legal studies in Hamilton.
My favourite part of the job is when you can take away the stress and worry from someone who has come to you with a big problem that they don’t know how to deal with.
What is the most memorable case you’ve taken on/been involved in?
I had a case involving a redundancy for a client that was on parental leave. The case ended up going right through to the Court of Appeal and then back to Employment Court before finally being resolved in my client’s favour.
What is going on at the firm? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?
We have recently moved to new premises and expanded the firm. The initiative to reach out to our local small-to-medium businesses which from time to time need assistance with employment issues but don’t have their own in-house support is very exciting.
What should the profession and law firms focus more on?
The experience of COVID-19 lockdowns has shown how the profession can continue to provide expert and timely legal advice despite not being in an office situation or generally being able to see clients face-to-face. The focus going forward in my view needs to include being flexible and agile in the provision of legal advice and service and the ability to respond quickly to issues as they arise.
What are you looking forward to the most in the coming year?
Like all New Zealanders, I am probably looking forward to a bit more freedom to move around the country and hopefully further afield. Professionally, of course we are all looking forward to hopefully more prosperous times. That of course will come on the back of the economic position remaining stable within New Zealand and hopefully the business community remaining buoyant. This is obviously good for both employers and employees.