ILANZ, In-House Lawyers Association of New Zealand


Committee Member Spotlight - Sophie Meares

Committee Member Spotlight - Sophie Meares

By Website Administrator , Brianna Smith, Member Services Coordinator| March 6, 2023 at 9:44 AM

Interview with ILANZ Committee Member, Sophie Meares


How did you come to work in-house, and what is your current role?

After 6 years in private practice in litigation and insurance, I wanted to try an in-house role. I was worried that my skills wouldn’t translate to in-house. All the in-house roles 

I saw coming up were contract/commercial/property roles. A role came up at the New Zealand Nurses Organisation specialising in professional indemnity and medico-legal law, which worked well with my background. After this first in-house role, my eyes were opened to the breadth of expertise and specialities required for in-house roles. I moved to my current role – Senior Legal Counsel at the Christchurch City Council – I like to think I’m a civic-minded person, and the idea of being able to make a difference in the city that I love so much was very appealing.

What inspired you to run for an ILANZ committee position?

After two amazing in-house positions, I am an in-house convert, and I’m looking forward to helping ILANZ to “Connect, Support and Lead” the in-house community. I am also a climate activist and this year I hope to implement some climate training initiatives for our in-house professionals. Any members who have ideas/suggestions for ways to embed climate action in our employers’ strategy should get in touch with me!


What do you hope to achieve as a ILANZ Committee member in the year ahead?

I want to help to make our upcoming conference a success (27-28 July in Tauranga – put it in your dairies! Registrations open late March), and implement climate initiatives.


What has been a career highlight so far?

Helping implement climate mitigation and adaptation initiatives at the Council.


As a new in-house lawyer, what would you say to others thinking about joining a committee?

Get stuck in! Any Committee or cooperation opportunity will improve your connections and knowledge, which will in turn improve the quality of your advice.


Quick fire questions:

If you weren’t a lawyer, what would you be? A full-time climate activist!

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Christchurch! Seriously! I love my city, and I love working for the Council that is helping to make our city a bustling, resilient and net-zero city of the future.

Top 4 activities / hobbies to do outside of work:

  • Board games (If you’re looking for a recommendation, try Pandemic. A little on the nose with our recent global troubles – but a great game nonetheless!)
  • Sewing (Make Do and Mend!)
  • Climate activism
  • and DIY.