I was sorting through a box of materials the other day when I came across a picture of the solicitor Sue MacGregor in polka dot tights. Many of you will recall that in 1993, Justice Smithers castigated Ms MacGregor for coming to court in polka-dot stockings and a suit with a skirt that finished above the knee. For a feisty response, see Magistrate Jennifer Coate’s protest. [Read on] Read the rest of this entry »
When I last wrote about time management and having too much to do, Rebecca kindly suggested setting a writing target to be completed each day. Humph I thought how simple and obvious. And it has worked a treat (thanks Rebecca). Not only does the target give an immediate focus to the day but when the target is completed the day is free to ado all those other things that need to be done. What I have also noticed is the distraction of email.
Read on. Read the rest of this entry »
Last week’s Higher Education Supplement in the Australian reported that women are doing better than men in completing higher education qualifications (39.1 attainment rate among women; 25.8% for men) see here. But beware of statistics:
Trevor Gale, education policy and social justice chair at Deakin, said more detailed data was needed. “We need to ask: which boys?” he said.”I suspect the data would show it is boys from low socioeconomic status backgrounds and regional areas who are lagging behind.”
Professor Gale said gender shouldn’t be addressed in isolation from issues such as wealth and location. He said students in elite private boys schools were very likely to go to university.
In its annual survey of women partners, the Australian reports that one third of new partners are women here. The numbers of women making partnership are steadily on the rise. The Australian also reports that ‘family proves no obstacle to career’, with firms increasingly accommodating the needs of lawyers with young families without requiring them to sacrifice their career aspirations. Great news it seems.
Compare the insightful opinion piece by Roy Williams here, which questions the compatibility of the values of the modern legal workplace with the aspirations of many young lawyers.
In blunt terms: an Australian commercial law firm is no longer, for most lawyers, an enjoyable place to work
He concludes with 4 propositions, the final one is that rather than a ‘maternity wall’ women use their ‘common sense’ to bail out via a ‘maternity escape-hatch’.
Do you agree?
I have to admit to missing the TV show The Good Wife. If you haven’t seen it, the show stars Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick who assumes full responsibility for the financial well being of her family after her husband’s sex and political corruption scandal lands him in jail by entering a large law firm and restarting her original career as a defense attorney.
In many ways it is a ridiculous show but… I love the fact its about law and also has some older women characters struggling with life as well as legal issues.
Am I the only fan out there?
A recent article in the Australian (here) noted that there are fewer law students taking jobs in firms and more law students taking jobs in industry and commerce. The article is titled ‘Fewer graduates choosing practice …’.
Is this trend really a matter of choice or a case of taking what is available? Certainly, the article refers to AAR development director Jane Lewis who noted that
‘Growth in law firm jobs had not kept pace with the sharp increase in graduate numbers … so it made sense that a greater proportion of law graduates were being employed in the corporate sector.’
Continue reading below: Read the rest of this entry »
Congratulations to Justice Susan Kiefel on being named a Companion of the Order of Australia in the recent Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
However, as a number of commentators have noted, women account for only 34% of the Queen’s Birthday awards, and most of them are at the lower levels. This trend is subject to Eva Cox’s usual insightful analysis at Crikey here:
Is it that women do not deserve at least the same levels of recognition as men for the contributions we make, or is it that what we do is still undervalued by us and others?
So she wonders whether the awards reflect the general under valuation of women’s work. I am sure we can all only smile knowingly at Eva’s prediction that women may ‘do most of the grunt work in nominations’. She also wonders if ‘Maybe more men have female assistants that can help put the documentation together….’
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I have had a busy week. Too many deadlines coming all at once. Being deadline adverse, the very existence of deadlines almost paralyses my thoughts.
I suspect something like this the constant dilemma of the modern lawyer. Too much to do and too little time. As some sort of solution, there are lots of interesting time management blogs.
Useful on how to use lists is:
I also like the idea of a ‘not to do’ list:
But what I also really want is a basic and practical to do list on how to do it. Just simple strategies would do, like emails. Should I answer them first, before doing any thing else; or should they wait a while until I get done that task I really need to do (writing)? What about those big monotonous tasks – a little each day or knock them off so as to clear the way for more interesting endeavours. …
Last year marked the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Entries have recently closed for the University of Alabama Law School, where Harper Lee studied law, and the American Bar Association Journal for the Harper Lee prize for legal fiction.
Clearly, the entries are unlikely to match the original. Indeed, many works of fiction about lawyers are often highly compelling airport fodder. Nonetheless, it will be interesting to see what comes out of the competition. Many lawyers I know yearn to write or indeed do write in their “spare” time. I also wonder how many lawyers would rank To Kill a Mocking Bird as one of their formative reading experiences.
What are your favorite or formative legal fictions (of the literary kind)?
LATE BREAKING NEWS: a signed 1st edition of To Kill A Mockingbird sold last week for $25,000 (LA Times, click here). Some people really love that book!
Think of any of the women lawyers on the many American courtroom TV shows, from Ally McBeal to The Good Wife, and a common feature is what they wear. Neat little suits and great shoes are a staple. When I was working as a lawyer I too briefly aspired to that look. It was pretty unsuccessful. Those cute little suits didn’t make it easy to manage files, court books and discovery boxes and I wore my heels out running up and down Queen Street to get to court. But it turns out even ‘the suit’ as imagined by legal drama can be controversial. You can see the furor in the US from a few years ago at:
Thank goodness there is also a blog dedicated to fashion for corporate women: http://corporette.com/ .
We know there are quite a few Shoe/Law and Fashion/Law blogs that our readers enjoy, please leave your favorite links for us to share below:
On 5 April 2011 the Law Report (ABC Radio National) had very honest and frank discussion about alienation and depression among lawyers. http://www.abc.net.au/rn/lawreport/stories/2011/3181665.htm.
The recent study by Tani Massimiliano and Prue Vines law students also showed troubling tendencies towards depression in law students. http://www.austlii.edu.au/au/journals/UNSWLRS/2009/51.html
Follow @amicae1 Continued… Read the rest of this entry »
I have been talking to a friend about the ‘incremental disadvantage’ faced by under-represented groups in legal practice. Lots of little lost opportunities eventually add up to a big disadvantage. Interesting in this light is a study by Nancy Leong and Jennifer Mullins which finds that fewer female than male students publish case notes in US law Journals. It might not seem like an issue but scholarly publications are relevant to later employment and promotion opportunities. The authors also include some practical suggestions for addressing this issue.
See Leong, Nancy and Mullins, Jennifer, An Empirical Examination of Gender and Student Note Publication 1999-2009 (March 8, 2011). Available at SSRN:
A related link is this one from Freakenomics: “Why Don’t Female Economists Blog?” Matthew Kahn explores the disparity. http://t.co/9F2UMY9
Is the same true for Female Lawyers/Academics? What do you think?
Last year Victorian women lawyers released another installment in their series of practical reports on flexible work practices, “Do you Manage”. This report looks at support for flexible work practices by partners and managers. Click here.
Considerable focus on this issue is warranted given the somewhat sobering assessment of such practices in the study by Margaret Thornton and Joanne Bagust, reported in ‘The Gender Trap: Flexible Work in Corporate Legal Practice.” Osgoode Hall Law Journal, Vol. 45, No. 4, pp. 773-811, 2007; ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 08-15.
The concern is that flexible work practices should be a real career pathway not a dead end.