Community support

Bell Gully supports a wide range of not-for-profit entities by contributing our time, expertise and financial support to organisations that work for the good of our local communities.

  • Community support
  • Pro Bono

​​​​​​Our people are the foundation for our continuing success. We encourage and value diversity - seeking out and fostering talent regardless of age, culture, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, political views or physical ability.​

To empower all our people to reach their full potential we embrace diversity and, in line with our values, we strive to build an inclusive, productive culture that respects and appreciates the individual and promotes the value they bring to the team.

Bell Gully is committed to providing an environment free from discrimination and this commitment is formalised in our policies, and more importantly, in how we work together. With merit as the basis for recruitment, development and promotion in the firm, we provide ongoing education and awareness-raising programmes for our people to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to realise their full potential.

Our programme is overseen by a Diversity and Inclusion Committee, with governance by our Board.    

To help us achieve our diversity and inclusion objectives, we have joined a number of organisations to share our journey. We are active members of Diversity Works NZ and a supporting partner of Global Women NZ. We are committed to achieving diverse and inclusive leadership and have pledged our support to Global Women’s “Champions for Change” initiative, launched in November 2015.  

Our Women at Bell Gully programme actively promotes the development, success, and retention of women at all levels of the firm. This commitment to empowering women was recognised at the 2015 Euromoney Asia Women in Business Law Awards winning the Best Gender Diversity Initiative by a National Firm category, which was open to law firms throughout the region. This gender diversity initiative included defined targets for female participation at partner, board and senior management level.

Our LGBT network provides social and professional connections for LGBT staff and partners.​ In 2016 Bell Gully was proudly awarded the Rainbow Tick after demonstrating its strong commitment to ensuring inclusion and support of the LGBT community.

Bell Gully was named a winner at the 2019 NZ UN Women's Empowerment Principles White Camellia Awards. The firm received an award in recognition of our work to promote education, training and professional development opportunities for women. The awards celebrate organisations that are taking positive steps to ensure our New Zealand workplaces are fair, equal and offer the opportunity to succeed. Bell Gully also received White Camellia awards in 2014 and 2015.​

The firm won a silver award at the 2015 YWCA Equal Pay Awards ​which acknowledges best practice among business leaders actively addressing equal pay within their organisations.​

We believe that inclusion encompasses social responsibility and our community work reflects the varied interests and backgrounds of our people. We are committed to supporting diversity and inclusion within law, with our on-going mentoring programme to students of the InZone Education Foundation.

Bell Gully are proud to have been certified with the Rainbow Tick and are signatories of the New Zealand Law Society’s Gender Equality Charter​.

Read more about our community work.​​


Pro Bono​

Bell Gully is a strong community supporter - sharing time, skills and financial support for the benefit of those in need. One way we do this is through our pro bono programme.

Over many years we have made major pro bono contributions to a wide range of individuals and organisations. In 2009, we formalised our pro bono programme, which is overseen by a committee of six partners and two senior associates. Our objective in formalising the programme was to lead by example, and to encourage other firms to make comparable contributions.

Since then, we have won three awards recognising the impact of our pro bono commitment:

  • 2015 Recognised with a White Camellia Award for Community Leadership and Engagement - promoting equality through community initiatives and advocacy,

  • 2012 Corporate Citizen Firm of the Year, awarded at the ALB Australasian Law Awards in Sydney, and

  • 2010 The Community Service in Law Award, awarded at the New Zealand Law Awards.

As part of our programme, we have established specific criteria to ensure our pro bono work reaches those who need it most, with our focus on enhancing access to justice for those who can't afford to pay for it, and promoting the public interest. Our policy provides structure and processes around how we source, manage and promote pro bono work.

Our pro bono work falls into three categories:

  • Free, for clients who would otherwise be denied access to justice because they have no means to pay for it.

  • Free or heavily discounted, for non-government and charitable organisations with funding and other support from third parties.

  • Free or heavily discounted for limited art, culture, heritage, sports and recreation groups who merit pro bono support.

If you are seeking pro bono assistance for a matter that meets these criteria, please email our pro bono programme manager Rachel Gowing to make an application.

Our pro bono programme in action

We're nurturing long-term relationships, confident in the knowledge that when we do pro bono work, it's going to very deserving recipients. A selection of our pro bono clients are referred to below.

Community law centres

We have built close relationships with the Auckland Community Law Centre, the Waitematā Community Law Centre and Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley (the CLCs). The CLCs provide essential services to those in the community without the means to pay for legal advice, assisting with a wide range of issues. As a substantial component of our pro bono programme, we:

  • provide secondee lawyers to each of the Auckland-based CLCs for one day each week,

  • provide secondee lawyers to the Wellington CLC on a regular basis,

  • partner senior Bell Gully lawyers as mentors with Auckland centre lawyers,

  • invite employees to participate in our in-house training sessions and to take advantage of legal research skills training,

  • offer to take referrals of matters that fall outside the expertise or capacity of the CLCs, and

  • have built websites for each of the Wellington and the Waitematā centres.

In addition to this, we have logged nearly 750 pro bono hours assisting all 26 of New Zealand's community law centres on two major matters:

  • negotiations with the Legal Services Agency, securing on-going funding for community law centres nationwide, and

  • facilitating the establishment of a new national body – Community Law Centres of​ Aotearoa Incorporated.

We support charitable organisations working in the health sector, including Breast Cancer Foundation New Zealand, Arthritis NZ, NZ Aids Foundation and Leukaemia and Blood Cancer New Zealand.

Local and global aid organisations
We recently celebrated 125 years of Bell Gully's support of the Salvation Army. Among others, we also support LIFT International and Tear Fund with pro bono legal advice.

We assist various charitable organisations with a focus on youth support and development. These include KidsCan, Make A Wish Foundation and Plunket.

Local community
In addition to our relationships with the CLCs referred to above, we also support local community-focused charitable organisations, including Habitat for Humanity and Shine.

We also advise charitable organisations with a cultural focus, including Asia New Zealand Foundation and InZone Education Foundation.