People, and problems – or more specifically, helping the former solve the latter – is what drew Ashley-Jayne (AJ) Lodge to law. The employment law specialist has recently joined Anderson Lloyd’s Christchurch office as a partner, and tells Metropol how she navigates the complexities of the field.
Employment law is the intersection of the legal rules of a workplace, and the people who work there.
Which can make for some multifaceted problems. Luckily, AJ thrives on diving into these issues to find solutions.
“I have always been fascinated by people – what motivates us, human behaviour, how we interact with others, and psychology,” she says. “I’ve also always loved solving problems, and being an employment lawyer gives me the opportunity to work with both, helping businesses through challenging situations by being able to take an objective view and find a solution that works within the legal framework.”
When it comes to solving these problems, AJ takes a people centred and innovative approach.
“I aim to offer innovative, tailored working solutions to my clients that best suit the organisation’s requirements. A strict legalistic approach doesn’t work in employment law, and often doesn’t get the result you want, because it is all about people. Different personalities, motivations, and emotions do not sit nicely within a black and white set of legal rules.
“I do the best job when I understand the culture, structure, and feel of an organisation, so I can best support clients through difficult and often complex workplace issues.”
Becoming the youngest female partner at a mid-sized law firm at just 30, AJ is highly regarded in her field and says she was drawn to Anderson Lloyd for its stellar reputation and “ambition to have a supportive, inclusive and high-performing culture.”
“I felt the firm’s values align with my own, particularly the focus on creating a sustainable, agile, and lean and connected workplace. I was excited about the firm’s commitment to continue to innovate in these areas.
“Anderson Lloyd aims to represent the communities in which we operate. We have one of the highest percentages of female equity partners of any New Zealand law firm, and have clear and measurable diversity objectives from graduate recruitment to board representation.”
She is also not afraid to speak out about issues within the legal industry.
“Despite there being more women than men in the legal profession as a whole, there is still an imbalance in the top jobs. The #MeToo movement kick started cultural change, but there is still work to be done. There continues to be a need for diversity of thought and experience around partnership and board tables.”
As well as her law qualification, AJ also has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology, moonlights as a group fitness instructor at Les Mills and has a young family.