"Girlfriends of the Court"

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S|M| i |L|E-ing

In blogs, higher education, law students, legal education, Social Media on July 20, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Why not start a new blog you say?

S|M| i |L|E Social Media in Legal Education is a new collaborative project by Australian legal academics. The project aims to promote and support the integration of social media into legal education, starting as a resource and repository for the ongoing explorations of academic collaborators, Kate Galloway, Kristoffer Greaves, Melissa de Zwart and Melissa Castan; others will be involved too.  It aims to be a useful resource for academics, ECRs and HDR students, law students, and legal practitioners. Please take a look at the libraries there.

Legal education, digital, social media,

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It’s more than the vibe; blogging the Constitution

In blogs, legal education, Public Law, Social Media, twitter, women on September 27, 2013 at 9:23 pm
Constitution, blog, public law

“in summing up, it’s the constitution, it’s Mabo, it’s justice, it’s law,
it’s the vibe and no, that’s it, it’s the vibe…. I rest my case.” **

 

I’ve been procrastiblogging by compiling a list of the best Australian constitutional law blogs, for both the legal academic and the student/scholar. There are now a number of high quality academic blogs that offer case or issues analysis sometimes within days (or hours) of a major constitutional decision being handed down. Whilst many students are understandably wary of using blogs for research assignments and study, I am confident of the authoritative and scholarly nature of these ones. Read on… Read the rest of this entry »

If it please the court:

In Balance, Education, Time management, women on March 9, 2013 at 9:31 pm
What's new doll? *

What’s new doll? *

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 »

After 20 years, do the numbers stack up?

In Advocacy, Barristers, Career, Education, Hegemony, maternity, Solicitors, women on December 5, 2012 at 1:26 pm
What do we have to do to make a difference? *

What do we have to do to make a difference? *

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 »

Opportunity knocks more than once

In Balance, higher education, legal education, women on June 21, 2012 at 5:04 pm

Ana felt it was time to stretch her academic wings

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…]

Read the rest of this entry »

Blawg Review #320 – A Call to Arms

In Advocacy, amusement, blogs, Diversity, women on May 7, 2012 at 2:01 pm

The Maid of Orleans and Women In Law: An Allegory

On this day in 1429 Jeanne D’Arc pulled an arrow from her own shoulder and returned, wounded, to lead the final charge thus ending the Siege of Orléans. Who was this heroic and infamous woman, and what is she doing in BlawgReview #320?  

If ever there was a symbol of leadership and sacrifice in the name of duty, it is the story of Joan of Arc. Living in an era during which women had no place at all in public life, she led French resistance and died doing so, having been tried and convicted of ‘insubordination and heterodoxy’ on 30 May, 1431. Read on… Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Australian Law Blogs

In Advocacy, amusement, blogs, Community, legal education, Procrastination on April 28, 2012 at 10:59 am
Law, blogs, blawgs, Australian law

Updating the Blog

Law blogs (blawgs?) are increasingly popular as a way for lawyers, law students and legal academics to communicate to new audiences, create communities of shared interests, and generally vent about the peculiarities of  the law. They are also one of the few ways people can access and exchange legal information and analysis for free (although there is a cost to the blogger, there is little cost to the bloggee). I recently had to hunt down a variety of  blogs for an article I was writing,  and I realised its hard to locate an up to date list of ‘Oz Blawgs’. Here is a list of the ones I found so far. It complements my list of Australian Legal tweeters here and Legal Info here. Read on Read the rest of this entry »

Australian Legal Footnotes: a quick and dirty guide

In Journals, law students, legal education, Procrastination on March 22, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Don't fall into plagiarism.

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 »

Early Optimism: A study of 1st year law students’ expectations.

In law students, legal education, women on February 6, 2012 at 9:01 pm

"I seek not to know the answers, but to understand the questions."

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 »

30 sites in 30 slides (or why you should love your librarian)

In higher education, legal education, Procrastination, Social Media on November 27, 2011 at 8:28 pm
Social Media, law, research

Things have changed in your law library

We are all busy, and sometimes its hard to catch up with what is new and useful.  But some things are really worth taking a few minutes to check out. We asked Kay Tucker, the wonderful law librarian at the Monash Law Library, if we could post a link to her terrific presentation, “30 sites in 30 minutes”. Read on… Read the rest of this entry »

Tweet and Meet

In amusement, Meeting, mentoring, Procrastination, twitter on November 4, 2011 at 9:29 am
#melblawdrinks

Getaway from it all *

Whether it’s with a dirty martini, fruity mai-tai or a perfect manhattan, there is nothing like meeting colleagues for a soothing libation and convivial company.

We hear many dire reports of the sad, the mad and the bad aspects of legal study and practice, but its worth remembering one of the best parts of working in the law is the fabulous people you meet. In Sydney a group formed under the twitter tag #lawandmoredrinks. In London #TweetingLegals have been meeting regularly. But why has it taken so long for other Australian law types to coagulate over cocktails? Read On…

Read the rest of this entry »

Australian Legal Info on Twitter

In Community, community legal centres, legal rights, Procrastination, twitter, women on August 24, 2011 at 8:11 am

Your legal rights

Now continuing the quest to provide links for people looking to connect and communicate via twitter, here is the list of #auslaw community legal centres,  legal advocacy, legal info and academic law centres that use twitter. I have included not-for-profits and some providers of legal information, but have not included commercial law firms, politicians, university news accounts or nontweeting accounts (sorry @austlii). A list of personal accounts of Australian twegals are listed here.  A link to Australian government accounts is at the end. The short bios are those provided by the tweeters themselves. Read on… Read the rest of this entry »

64 (and more) Australian legal tweeters

In blogs, law, law students, legal education, Procrastination, twitter on August 14, 2011 at 9:30 pm

Staying connected

I have been on the lookout for a list of people using twitter to share news and views on Australian law (or in twitter terms #auslaw), mainly for the benefit of law (and legal studies) students who ask me for recommendations. You can follow people’s own curated ‘twitter lists’ that collate tweeters on different topics, but you need to know who to start following in order to make best use of lists. And perhaps this list may prompt some of our non-tweeting colleagues to start up the habit.

So below is my attempt at (an incomplete) listing those twegals who like to tweet (the little bios are the tweeters’ own). I would welcome any other suggestions, and if I have left you off inadvertently, or you don’t want to be here, please let me know.
Read the rest of this entry »

Whatever you do, don’t mention cupcakes!

In amusement, Procrastination, women on June 5, 2011 at 5:11 pm

TSA now scanning for cupcakes?

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…

Read the rest of this entry »

Law is funny, innit?

In Journals, Procrastination, women on May 27, 2011 at 6:13 pm


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…

Like what you see? You can subscribe to this blog by scrolling to the bottom of the page, or

Read the rest of this entry »

Is there a Ladies Lounge at the Bar?

In Advocacy, Barristers, Judiciary, women on May 24, 2011 at 3:37 pm

"I can never see why it is not considered the hallmark of success to have a brain like a woman!"

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 »

3 Top Tips from ‘Girlfriends of the Courts’

In Balance, Career, Employment, higher education, law students, women on May 11, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Should I have asked about the dress code in the interview?

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):

ps like what you see? You can subscribe to this blog by scrolling to the bottom of the page, or

Read the rest of this entry »

Calling all academic bloggers!

In blogs, higher education, non law, Social Media, women on May 10, 2011 at 7:45 am

This morning’s Age has two pieces on academics and blogging; one starts out as a story of a scuffle between Monash and Melbourne Universities over the ‘Melbourne Model’ (Click here) but ends up discussing Edublog, a proprietary blog platform (Click here). The other piece is a nifty list of ‘academic bloggers’ on a variety of topics (Click here), including one I like, Dr Samantha Thomas’ Discourse (Click here).

The Age inexplicably overlooked Amicae Curiae, and the Castan Centre’s Human Rights Blog (Click here).

Like what you see? You can subscribe to this blog by scrolling to the bottom of the page, or

Read the rest of this entry »

Is the Bar an Old Boys Club?

In Barristers, Career, women on April 29, 2011 at 3:25 pm

"When I grow up I'm going to be a barrister, like Daddy"

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?

Mind the Gap!

In Advocacy, Career, women on April 10, 2011 at 5:34 pm

"Maybe today is the day I get equal pay!"

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 »

Warning: women at work (in government!)

In Career, Employment, Opportunities, Solicitors on April 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm


Many women graduating from law studies look for non-commercial careers, particularly in government. But many do not realise that applications for positions in government must go in on certain dates.

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!

Damned if you do, Damned if you dont, Damn you.

In Balance, non law, Parenting, women on April 7, 2011 at 8:27 pm


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 »

Women in Uniform: Gendered Workplaces

In Career, non law, women on April 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm

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.

So you want to go law school? (Reality Check)

In Education, law students, legal education on April 5, 2011 at 6:52 am

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.

Seeing is Believing

In law, Social Media, women on April 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm
Amicae Curiae

Amicae Curiae

More to Chew on via twitter

In Balance, Social Media, twitter, women on April 3, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Eva Cox is reviving WETTANK, women’s equity think tank, to put equitable social policy on political agendas, and she needs policy wonks, ideas. Contact her at Eva.CoxATuts.edu.au

Female Judges From Around the Globe Convene in D.C. To discuss Womens’ Rights http://t.co/AbtTnwI

Startling! The @FeministLawPrfs posted this: Word Clouds: Gender & the Vocabulary of Ads for Toys. tinyurl.com/4v8lru3 (reminds Amicae to use Wordle more often too).

Justice Mary Gaudron was a whistleblower: – new info on Senator Heffernan’s false charges against Justice Kirby (via SMH).

Via @lawyerist: An Alternative Career Doesn’t Mean You Can’t Call Yourself A Lawyer http://t.co/c401CS9

there’s more…on procrastination, Royal Weddings, and Parents…

Read the rest of this entry »

Something to chew on: Stories & Links from Twitter.

In Career, Education, Social Media on March 31, 2011 at 7:05 pm

Some interesting stories and links we found on Twitter:

Via @VaultLaw: Does your personality mesh with being a lawyer? http://t.co/I8A2jAL

Women outnumber men on every social media network: Johanna Blakley – The Age http://t.co/hYJYt39

Via @NCWIT: Women Entrepreneur Role Models: Who Would You Name? http://t.co/VU9F5Zp (and Law Role Models?).

Via @feministing: Not Oprah’s Book Club: The Flipside of Feminism: “To the modern woman, work is the meat of her life” http://t.co/VOq3I7H

Via @GdnLaw: After the latest round of white, male appointments, Erika Rackley calls for a more diverse UK supreme court http://t.co/yLgVAiT

Via @ChasLicc No, women are not leaving male-dominated industries simply to have babies http://bit.ly/dUj6Lz

Finally, we are building a list of Australian law women on Twitter. So far the list is here. Any more suggestions? Please include yourself. Reply to us below, or @amicae1 on twitter.

If Justice is a woman, how come there are so few in legal practice?

In Judiciary, law, Photography, women on March 27, 2011 at 11:56 pm

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?

Work, Snakes and Shoes

In Balance, law, Solicitors on March 27, 2011 at 11:30 pm

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.

Hearsay: Events

In Career, Employment, Opportunities, Public Lecture, Social Media, women on March 25, 2011 at 10:35 pm

Life as a Government Lawyer: A conversation with Vanessa Twigg

Join the Victorian Women Lawyers for a straightforward conversation on an issue that is far from simple and straightforward: pay and progression challenges faced by women lawyers in government,Wednesday 6 April 2011 1pm-2pm. Click here

‘Will the Revolution be Tweeted? The Role of Social Media in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights’ –  Lunchtime Seminar on Tuesday 5 April 2011, at 472 Bourke Street Melbourne.

Presented by the Human Rights Law  Centre and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law:

Speakers (more)
Read the rest of this entry »

Law Student’s Mentoring Scheme~Open!

In Barristers, Internships, Judiciary, law students, Opportunities, Solicitors, women on March 25, 2011 at 2:40 pm

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

Don’t Miss These:

In Advocacy, Career, law, Meeting, Opportunities, Public Lecture, Social Media, women on March 23, 2011 at 8:23 pm

Life as a Government Lawyer: A conversation with Vanessa Twigg

Join the Victorian Women Lawyers for a straightforward conversation on an issue that is far from simple and straightforward: pay and progression challenges faced by women lawyers in government,Wednesday 6 April 2011 1pm-2pm. Click here

‘Will the Revolution be Tweeted? The Role of Social Media in Promoting and Protecting Human Rights’ – Seminar on 5 April 2011

The Human Rights Law Resource Centre and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law  present
Professor Sarah Joseph, Director, Castan Centre for Human Rights Law
Simon Sheikh, National Director, GetUp!
Jonathan Green, Editor, The Drum, ABC
Alex Pagliaro, Refugee Campaign Coordinator, Amnesty International Australia

Date: 12.30pm – 2.00pm on Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Read the rest of this entry »

Journals We Like

In Education, higher education, law, law students, legal education, women on March 23, 2011 at 6:44 pm

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
  • anti-terrorism
  • patents
  • dispute resolution
  • competition policy and law
  • gender
  • race
  • people with disabilities
  • refugees
  • citizenship
  • the judiciary
  • jurisprudence.

The plight of Law’s Supergirl

In Barristers, Career, Education, higher education, Judiciary, law, law students, legal education, Solicitors, women on March 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm

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).

 

Hello world!

In Barristers, Career, law, law students, legal education, women on March 23, 2011 at 6:05 am

Welcome to Amicae Curiae, A blog discussing the role of women in the law, in legal education, as students as academics, and within the legal profession. What does Amicae Curiae mean? Literally it means girl friends of the courts. For more on what and Amicus Curae is read this.

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