Shan is Simpson Grierson’s dedicated pro bono partner, a role that was created at the start of 2020. Shan came to this role from having been a partner in our employment law practice and a specialist in privacy and human rights law.

Shan leads and helps us implement our firm-wide commitment to pro bono legal work and investing our legal skills back into Aotearoa New Zealand. Shan assists in triaging the requests that come in, supervising our staff and where needed using her own legal expertise to provide practical, hands-on legal support.

Simpson Grierson recognises that accessing legal advice can be difficult for disadvantaged and low-income individuals and charities within our communities. Our pro bono practice is about providing legal assistance for these community members, working with and through the non-profit organisations that support them.

Shan is focused on developing our pro bono practice, expanding its scope and ensuring our pro bono efforts deliver great outcomes for the community. She leads and encourages our legal staff to find opportunities to give back as part of their professional experience.

Prior to taking up this role, Shan was a partner in our employment law team, clocking up 28 years of experience advising many leading businesses and public sector organisations. She also worked extensively with the education sector advising Principals, school boards and ISNZ.

Shan considers her experiences as an employment and education lawyer were instrumental in her decision to move into the role of pro bono partner, as those areas of law immersed her in people based issues and the need to find workable solutions.

Outside of her legal roles, Shan has maintained a wide involvement in the community. She sat on the Board of both a primary school (Te Matauranga School) for a number of years and currently Chairs the Board of Governors of a secondary school (King’s College). Through-out her legal career Shan has also taken up other opportunities to contribute into the community, from being a Committee Member for the Auckland Women Lawyers Association as a junior solicitor, to sitting on the Board of the Auckland YWCA for several years.

The NZ Rainbow Excellence Awards 2022

Executive Leadership Award

NZ Lawyer 2022

Changemaker - Most Influential Lawyers

Work Highlights

Led Simpson Grierson’s offer of pro bono legal representation for transgender clients who wished to make an application to the Family Court for a declaration as to their permanent sex and to change their birth certificate. Was then part of delivering submissions in the Parliamentary Select Committee hearings that changed this area of law, to create a fairer more accessible legal process for changing a birth certificate.

Provides employment law advice to a number of charities on an ongoing basis – Refugees as Survivors NZ, The Period Place, Melanoma NZ, The Hearing House, TupuToa, Jade Speaks Up Trust, Variety – the Children’s Charity, Monte Cecilia Housing Trust and more.

Supported and represented 14 women, many of whom were immigrants, to speak up in an investigation Deloitte was leading into an employer with issues of migrant exploitation, bullying and harassment.

Represented The Hearing House when they raised legal issues with the NZ Police’s (once) blanket approach to refuse a cochlear implant user the ability to apply for a career as a Police Officer.

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