Welcome to Amicae Curiae, a blog for ‘Girlfriends of the Court’. The blog was intended to discuss the role of women in the law, in legal education, as students, as academics, and within the legal profession, and we also discuss other issues. There are many posts on a variety of topics relating to legal life throughout this blog, but here is a quick guide to our most popular ones. Read on… Read the rest of this entry »
Nearly twenty years ago, the Australian Law Reform Commission, in its report “Equality before the Law: Women’s Equality (ALRC Report 69 Part 2)” examined the place of Women in the Legal Profession, and said
Women make up 50% of law school graduates, and 25% of the legal profession as a whole. However, women leave the profession at a much higher rate than men, and they are clustered in the lower ranks of the profession. [footnotes omitted]
Fast forward two decades and the VEOHRC has released its latest report into research on women in the law, entitled Changing the rules: The experiences of female lawyers in Victoria. This report focused on discrimination, sexual harassment and the accommodation of parental and carer responsibilities. Read the rest of this entry »
When the southern hemisphere winter sets in and the days are short and bleak, its time to start planning to get out of the doldrums and into a conference. But how do you get a paper accepted by the convenors? And what if you are an inexperienced public speaker?
Flora Poste Writes has a very useful summary of tips and advice for those preparing to present or attend at a conference, and similarly the Thesis Whisperer has shared her slides on Academic Conferences: A beginners’ guide. Over at Hook & Eye Amiee Morrison (digiwonk) has a terrific post that reminds us that Conference Papers are like Movie Trailers. Her key points ~ “Hit the highlights, Show the chase scene, Simplify the plot”. That’s good advice! [read on...]
Have you ever wanted a quick and dirty guide to the main principles underlying the methods and motives for correct use of footnotes and citations in Australian law?
Legal citation has been referred to as a ‘peculiar human custom’.1 It allows a writer to refer to legal and non-legal authorities clearly and consistently, so as to support the arguments made, as well as to enable a reader locate the references. The purpose of providing references is to acknowledge sources of your writing, and demonstrate the breadth and depth of your research. We set out for you here* the shortest possible instructions on Australian legal footnotes style. Read the rest of this entry »
There has been a burgeoning of law schools in Australia in the last 15 years, matching a rise in demand for law degrees. Yet there has been little exploration of the expectations and aspirations of young students commencing a law degree in Australia. By contrast, a number of studies on features of professional life for practising lawyers are emerging. In particular, recent studies have shown high levels of stress, anxiety and depression among practising lawyers. In addition, there is evidence of high levels of attrition of women from private legal practice in the first few years following admission and a significant under-representation of women in the senior levels of the profession. [read on] Read the rest of this entry »
Was it funny because cupcakes are so nausiatingly trendy? Or because it invokes the image of sneaky spies baking girly pies? It has been widely reported that MI6 substituted a bomb recipe with a cupcake recipe, see Lowering the Bar here, or others here, and here.
And some funny responses from twitter:
Click below for more on this story…
The law is serious business. Mostly. But when a kind soul (known to me only as @ReplevinforaCow) pointed me to the case below, I had a chuckle, and I thought you should chuckle with me:
The entire unabridged report of Denny v Radar Industries 1970 per J.H. GILLIS, Judge:
The appellant has attempted to distinguish the factual situation in this case from that in Renfroe v Higgins (citation omitted). He didn’t. We couldn’t. Affirmed. Costs to appellee.
Have you found a shorter, blunter judgment? If you are a journal nerd (like me) you may enjoy the World’s Greatest Law Review Article found here. Or the World’s Shortest Law Review Article here [shortest_law_review]. Keep reading by clicking the little red button below…
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I attended the signing of the Victorian Bar Roll for my brother last week, and the Chair of the Bar Council Mark Moshinsky SC made some interesting points in his speech;
The first woman to sign the Victorian Bar Roll was the late Joan Rosanove QC. She signed as number 207 on the 10th of September 1923. Of the 47 Readers signing the Roll this evening, just under half are women – 21 of the 47. They will join the 425 women on the practising list, bringing the total to 446 – a little under a quarter of the total practising list of 1,849.
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Continued, click below Read the rest of this entry »
A career in the law: be prepared…
The NSW Young Lawyers have just released a great booklet on how to ‘Survive and Thrive in your First Year of Law’ (the pdf is available from their site click here). It is full of honest advice about starting life as a law student, and then as an early career lawyer. Have a look back at our post on Depression and the Dark Side of the Law.
Amicae Curiae has asked some of our ‘girlfriends of the courts’ on their top tips* for starting out in a law career, and here are the best ones (read on):
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Back in the olden days (er, the early 1990′s) a group of women barristers approached the Victorian Bar Council about forming a Women Barristers Association. Some of our learned friends were enthusiastic about the idea, but others grumbled about ‘those feminists’ and wondered aloud whether there should thus also be a Men Barristers Association. The retort echoed through Owen Dixon Chambers “there already is a male barristers association, it is called the Bar!”
In today’s paper are two reports about people trying to do things differently at the Bar, both involving barristers’ clerks “Trailblazer Norman O’Bryan meets resistance“ and “Outsider finds Bar a closed shop for clerks”
So is the Bar an Old Boys Club?
The GFC and the pay gap: We just read author Anne Summers’ June 2010 speech to Our Community (many thanks to Leanne O’Donnell for forwarding it). In it Anne discusses the GFC, or Gender Fairness Crisis;
There is a million dollar penalty to being a woman. Recent research shows that if current earning patterns continue, the average 25-year-old male starting work today would earn $2.4 million over the next 40 years while the average 25 year old female would earn $1.5 million. Over a lifetime of working, a woman will earn almost one million dollars less than a man. How fair is that? Read the rest of this entry »
The team at Survive Law have helpfully collated those dates, click here.
Some of the positions are with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (May 2011), the Australian Customs and Border Protection Service (21 April 2011), the Australian Government Solicitor (15 April 2011) and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (17 April 2011).
But there are many more federal departments (aside from the Commonwealth small arms factory) that are looking for law graduates, and April is hunting season!
I couldn’t help noticing the piece in the Hun yesterday about women with children feeling stigmatised when they went back to work after having kids, and others feeling stigmatised if they stayed home, and didn’t go back to work!
Almost 60 per cent of working mums were made to feel they weren’t taking parenting seriously enough, the survey, conducted on http://www.careforkids.com.au, reported.
Stay-at-home mums did not fare much better – 40 per cent experienced negativity about their decision not to work.
continued> Read the rest of this entry »
The federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner, and adviser on women’s issues to the Australian Chief of the Defence Force, Elizabeth Broderick wrote a piece in the SMH/Age today about the profound culture of disrespect for women and ‘gender imbalance’ within some workplaces, specifically here she was discussing the Armed Forces.
Research has found workplaces and communities that are heavily male conform to masculine norms that are emphasised to varying degrees.
Men should always ”be a winner”. Men should be ”tough” both physically and emotionally. Men should never be seen to be in any way feminine or acknowledge their ”feminine side”. They should be ”a man’s man” – one of the boys.
She focuses on the industries that are remote and ‘tough’ environments, but we wonder whether at the top end of town whether attitudes are much better.
Until (Defence) recognise that strong effective leadership has both a male and a female face, the desired change will be difficult to achieve.
For the whole piece click here.
For those who missed it, a legal education reality check.
So You Want To Go To Law School
A short background on David Kazzie, the video maker is at The Careerist’s site.
And another installment is now out:
Do you find this disheartening, amusing, representative of your experience? Leave us your comment.
Yale professors Judith Resnik and Dennis Curtis have written a book titled ‘Representing Justice’ on the changing face of justice; images of Madame Justice are shown here, and the review in the Guardian is here. We have always wondered why if Justice is a woman, how is it that so few women practicing in law can find the right ‘balance’ (That’s what the scales are for right?). What do you think?
My friend Fiona (@Soshoemi) has just posted her thoughts on whether ‘You can really have it all‘. She says
When I went through law school more than 50% of students were female. Twenty years on, I am one of the few still in practice. And with the difficulty of achieving work/life balance in the Law it is hardly a surprise.
Her conclusion; sometimes a Killer Python in the office is needed.
Victorian Women Lawyers and Victorian Women Barristers invite all female second-final year Law students to participate in the 2011 Law Student Mentoring Program.
Now in its fourth year, the Program has developed into a celebrated vehicle for encouraging the next generation of female lawyers to gain valuable insights into the legal profession. This year, registration will occur online via the website: www.vwl.asn.au with registration open until 8 April. The invitation is here: 2011 Female Law Student Mentoring Program Info Flyer
The Australian Feminist Law Journal publishes critical, postmodern and feminist writing on practices of legality and justice, broadly conceived.
The Alternative Law Journal is an Australian, refereed law journal focusing on
• social justice, human rights and law reform
• critique of the legal system
• developments in alternative legal practice
• community legal education
Law in Contex is a peer-reviewed socio-legal journal, that examines key legal questions in the context of broader issues on topics such as:
- rights protection
- dispute resolution
- competition policy and law
- people with disabilities
- the judiciary
From Supergirl to Invisible Woman: The divide between student perception and professional reality in corporate legal practice by Melissa Castan and Jeannie Paterson in the Alternative Law Journal 2010
Young women are prominent and successful at Australian law schools, yet women remain under-represented in the senior echelons of the legal profession. In this article the authors examine factors affecting the attrition of young women lawyers from corporate legal practice, and make suggestions regarding the responsibilities of law firms and law schools to address this issue… (Long version here).