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Students demand end to Russell McVeagh’s govt contracts

Article – RNZ

Hundreds of university students, lawyers and academics have marched through Wellington, asking for under-fire law firm Russell McVeagh to be suspended from all government contracts.Hundreds of university students, lawyers and academics have marched through Wellington, asking for under-fire law firm Russell McVeagh to be suspended from all government contracts.

Academics and lawyers joined hundreds of students at the protest in Wellington Photo: RNZ / Katie Scotcher

Russell McVeagh is in the spotlight over serious sexual misconduct complaints levelled at two senior lawyers at its Wellington office two years ago, and separate revelations of alcohol-fuelled sex in a boardroom.

The firm has asked Dame Margaret Bazley to head an extrernal review of the allegations, and the firm’s response.

Protesters, clad in black, marched from Victoria University law school along Lambton Quay.

The rally’s organisers want the firm barred from any further public work until the external review is completed, and for all law firms to adopt a zero tolerance approach to sexual assualt and harassment.

Victoria University vice chancellor Grant Guilford and city councillor Fleur Fitzsimons were among those to address the crowd.

Earlier today, a group promoting diversity in boardrooms, Women on Boards, cancelled Russell McVeagh’s sponsorship of the group’s prize-giving.

The Law Society has formed a working group to improve reporting of sexual harassment in the legal profession.

Justice Minister Andrew Little has said he would consider a ministerial inquiry if the society’s work to fix sexual harassment and misconduct in the profession was not up to scratch.

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