Stacey Shortall—New York litigator turns champion for vulnerable communities

“If at times you can’t do it for yourself, think about those you can help and do it for them,” says Stacey Shortall, reflecting on her life of helping others through her legal work.

Hailing from a farming family in the mighty Manawatu, Stacey Shortall is an accomplished lawyer who makes a positive impact everywhere she goes.

A Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington Faculty of Law alumna, Stacey graduated with degrees in law and commerce.

After obtaining an LLM from the University of Alberta, Stacey cut her teeth working at the New York firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, a firm that encouraged pro bono and community work. It was here that Stacey found her footing in the community law field. Using her established influence in New York, Stacey worked with women who were in, or came from, vulnerable backgrounds, be they refugees, women in prison, or domestic violence survivors.

In this podcast Stacey discusses the influence lawyers can have on change and the importance of pro bono and community work to our vulnerable communities.

“Lawyers, for good or for bad, are very influential…. Lawyers often end up in a range of different roles and can be perceived as people who speak on issues or write on issues, because our craft harnesses those skills and develops them. So, lawyers can become influential far beyond their professional lives.”

Stacey is now back in Aotearoa as an established partner at MinterEllisonRuddWatts. She has played a huge role in establishing access to justice facilities for our country’s most vulnerable groups, through her charitable trust Who Did You Help Today?, which develops projects designed to create social change. She also runs the site Our Words Matter, an online ideas-sharing forum focused on issues that affect Aotearoa New Zealand.

Stacey speaks to Professor of Law, Yvette Tinsley, as part of our distinguished alumni podcast series.