First-ever Women in Law Forum launches
Lawyers Weekly and principal partner LEAP are thrilled to present the Women in Law Forum for the first time, to be held on 24 November 2022.
The inaugural Women in Law Forum has been launched to initiate conversations about the barriers impeding female legal professionals from realising their potential, and solutions to break through the glass ceiling and achieve equality.
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The event will bring male and female professionals together at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne on 24 November to discuss how everyone in the legal profession can be afforded equal opportunities.
This forum is essential for career-focused lawyers, in-house counsel, thought leaders, and those who have established their own firms, as the profession strives to promote positive change for women in society and the industry.
Through a keynote address by Media Diversity Australia chief executive Mariam Veiszadeh and panel discussions by esteemed members of the industry, legal professionals will be armed with strategies from women who have faced workplace inequality and dismantled outdated structures from within to advance in their careers and facilitate career progression for other women.
Leaders in justice, inequality, and human rights will reflect on the evolution of women’s rights over the last 12 months, where abortion rights and other legal protections have been under attack.
As instances of gender-based violence and attacks on sexual and reproductive rights increase, a panel of speakers will unpack how Australian leaders can promote gender equality through laws and policies and how the legal profession could contribute to securing a safe, equal future for women.
In addition, in a landmark year where the first Indigenous Supreme Court judge was appointed, speakers at the forum will also delve into the unique experiences, mindset, and practices of Indigenous women in the law.
They will share how they practice “rebellious lawyering” through storytelling and activism, discuss why being impartial and apolitical is an outdated approach, and outline how others could redefine the nation and break the shackles of its colonial past.
Dismantling the “boys’ club” culture is also on the agenda, as a panel of speakers describe how they are breaking through barriers and bias and outline how law firms could proactively empower women.
They will explore how firms could break down structural barriers by reviewing their policies across job allocations, pay scales, billable hours, and professional ideology.
Alongside this, the forum will deep dive into how the legal profession could smash the double-glazed glass ceiling by addressing unconscious institutional bias and its implications for women and minority groups.
Attendees will walk away with insights on the legal team’s role in advocating for sustainable diversity and inclusive hiring policies that could level the playing field for minority groups, the danger of segmenting groups to promote diversity and programs that could mitigate exclusionary behaviours, and strategies to avoid affinity bias and hire a “culture add” rather than a “culture fit”.
They will also hear from renowned mentors and coaches who have excelled in their journeys from law to the boardroom. Speakers will provide tips on how to achieve their goals and secure a seat at the table to effect positive change.
The forum will also focus on lifting the visibility of women in legal tech so they can influence the creation of the tech tools of tomorrow, and how women could achieve lateral involvement in this area to bolster existing practice areas.
The forum will conclude with a robust discussion on how organisations could implement progressive leave policies to mitigate the “motherhood penalty”, reduce the gender pay gap and the stigma around parental leave for parents and carers, and how firms could assist employees on the cusp of promotions maintain their momentum while planning for parental leave.
Lawyers Weekly has curated speakers with experience in different areas of the law, including litigation, dispute resolution, legal technology, surrogacy, Indigenous affairs, gender equality, and mental health and wellbeing in the legal profession.
Alexandra Kelly, acting CEO at LEAP Legal Software APAC, commented that the forum presents an “unparalleled” opportunity for the legal profession to learn about its progress and the challenges it faces as it strives to achieve gender equality in law.
“As a female leader in a field where women-leaders remain rare, it’s incredibly important for us at LEAP to support the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Forum,” Ms Kelly said.
“Equally important is celebrating the women who are championing equality in our profession, often by reinventing how law is done, how law firms are run, and what it means to be a lawyer delivering excellent client service.
“My hope is that we can all leave the forum armed with the knowledge to become agents of change, reinvigorated and ready to challenge the often-unconscious biases and systemic barriers to achieving gender equity in the law.”
Lawyers Weekly editor Jerome Doraisamy also commented on the forum, stating that the brand is thrilled to be launching this timely and important event.
“As all legal professionals know, progress is happening but there remains much work to be done in overcoming structural and environmental barriers and disparity,” he said.
“Lawyers Weekly is keen to continue playing its part in overcoming those longstanding issues, and we look forward to such work.”
The Women in Law Forum will take place on 24 November 2022 at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne.