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Archive for the ‘Solicitors’ Category

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 »

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In the Legal Profession, the Gender Card comes up Trumps

In Diversity, Judiciary, Solicitors, women on October 24, 2012 at 8:11 am

The gender card, so we’re told, has been played by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard.  In the context of contemporary debate about sexism in public life, I’ve had a few interesting conversations lately about issues concerning women.  These conversations have been with educated men with whom I usually enjoy excellent interaction.  I have to say though that their thoughts about sexism and women in the context of the discussions we have had, did surprise me.  Mostly, it seems to me that not just in the public sphere but also more broadly, so many men (and some women) can’t (or won’t) see the issues as so many women experience them.

I have asked myself whether, perhaps, I misunderstand my own experiences.  That the current public debate about sexism has it seems captured the imagination of so many women indicates that I am not alone.  In addition, there is a lot of evidence, including scholarly study, that would back me up.  Why is it then, that the way that women experience sexism is not acknowledged?

Read the rest of this entry »

Women partners: the glass half full or half empty

In Barristers, Career, maternity, Solicitors, women on July 8, 2011 at 11:33 am

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.

But …

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?

The Very Good Wife

In amusement, Balance, Parenting, Solicitors, TV, women on July 7, 2011 at 3:27 pm
The Good Wife courtesy of CBS.com

The Good Wife photo courtesy CBS.com

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?

Law: the New Arts?

In Barristers, Career, law students, legal education, Solicitors, women on July 7, 2011 at 3:14 pm

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 »

Please be upstanding up for the Ladies

In Advocacy, Awards, Barristers, Community, mentoring, Solicitors, women on July 6, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Gold, gold, gold!

Lest it not be a “winter of discontent” perhaps we should put on our thinking caps, sharpen our pencils and nominate some worthy women to the next round of law and community awards? Many women would never dream of asking someone to nominate them, or even nominate themselves, so don’t wait to be asked! Here is a round up of some Awards, why don’t you grab a friend, colleague or your mentor and submit a nomination?

As the Advancing Women guide says

If you know a woman who’s doing work that you admire, put her forward for an award. Australia will thank you.

A list of some awards follows below:

Read the rest of this entry »

City law aint no picnic.

In Barristers, Career, Solicitors, women on June 10, 2011 at 8:31 am

Can you spot the bitches at the law firm picnic?

Emma McDonald wrote in The Age how life in the Law Firms is still ‘no picnic’ for women here. Work in a law firm is no picnic for anyone, but Amicae Curiae tends to agrees with Ms McDonald’s view. For our take on the issue, see our article on ‘Supergirl’s Plight’ at the page here.  The Australian reports here that women are about to dominate the legal profession, at least numerically. The author, Ainslie Van Onselen notes

…while [the] growth rates aren’t bad, having a small percentage of women at the top of a profession they are coming to dominate is surely evidence of continuing gender problems in the law.

It must be addressed with flexible work arrangements and a shift in cultural and professional attitudes.

…The glass ceiling is cracking, but it is a long way from being shattered completely.

What do you think of work in a commercial law firm? For women does it make a difference being in a big city firm, a boutique operation or a suburban or country practice? We would love to have your comment on The Age or Australian pieces, or our article.

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

Law Week, so many events, so little time!

In Barristers, Judiciary, law, law students, Public Lecture, Solicitors, women on May 12, 2011 at 8:39 am

We're all going to Law Week!

If you are down by law, in-law, outlaw, legally blond, legal tender, below the bar, above the law or presumed innocent, you may be interested in some of the events coming up in Law Week (16-22 May) the official site is here.

All jurisdictions have law tours, open courts, seminars and a mix of serious and fun events, and most have a PILCH/Pro Bono Walk for Justice on the 16th May (see your local Public Interest Law Clearing House for details)

Survive Law blog has kindly set out their national round up for you (click here).

You can select your forum conveniens by clicking the link below.

Like what you see? You can subscribe to this blog by scrolling to the bottom of the page, or follow us on twitter @amicae1.

Read the rest of this entry »

From the Wire Service

In Balance, Employment, Social Media, Solicitors, twitter, women on April 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Some highlights (or lowlights?) from Twitter last week:

Results of new study show the (US) legal profession is falling short in efforts to increase diversity http://t.co/FJz4sDd Via @LegalTube.

In the UK “City firms are unwilling…to allow women to stay at work & progress…once they start a family” http://t.co/zC41c8I via @Legal_Week

And in Australia The New Lawyer reported: 60 hour working weeks the norm for most lawyers. http://t.co/h9rqRBY via @neil_watt

While @LexMonitor passed this on: Women Lawyers Have (up to 20%) Lower Billing Rates than Men; why? http://t.co/teSaiF2 from @LarryBodine 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!

The dark side: depression in the study and practice of law

In Balance, Barristers, law students, Solicitors on April 5, 2011 at 9:51 am

This timed billing sheet is really getting me down.

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   Continued… Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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

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).

 

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