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For women and men alike, embrace of flexibility in law is a win

The theme of this year’s International Women’s Day was “embracing equity”. For all legal workplaces, ploughing ahead with flexible arrangements for employees may be a sure-fire way to not only create but also maintain equitable workplaces.

user iconLawyers Weekly 09 March 2023 Big Law
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COVID-19 flipped the tables on workplace paradigms of all kinds, muses LEAP Legal Software director of client engagement Brooke Limmer (pictured).

“Flexibility has long been a request of women and men; from parents who want to play an active role in raising their children, or for women experiencing the unpredictable hormonal changes brought on by menopause,” she reflected, in conversation with Lawyers Weekly.

“We certainly saw this at LEAP. Our legal practice productivity solution enables law firms to work remotely — from home, in transit, while at court, a client’s office, or their own office. The significant uptick in LEAP usage through COVID reflected a seismic shift in workplace dynamics brought on by the pandemic, a shift in the state of play around workplace flexibility.”


As reported by Lawyers Weekly, the majority of Australia’s small law firms are working from home most of the time.

“Lawyers should be free to work wherever they are most effective,” Ms Limmer proclaimed.

“More often than not, prevailing societal expectations mean women lawyers require flexibility more than their male counterparts, and LEAP is proud to be part of the workplace revolution.”

The pandemic accelerated this trend towards flexibility, Ms Limmer pointed out.

“I don’t think there’s any question of going back to pre-COVID ways of working, and for women and men, this is a win,” she said.

Reflecting on the trends that will help businesses both achieve and embrace equity, Donna Broadley — the chief executive of LEAP, InfinityLaw and SoftDocs — said that as the CEO of a leadership team in which nine out of our 10 executives are women, she is “proud to lead an organisation which has well and truly smashed the glass ceiling”.

“For us, embracing equity is critical because we serve the legal profession — a profession which has only recently seen women comprise a 53 per cent majority of its solicitors. As the legal profession embraces equity, so do we, through the productivity solutions we deliver and our culture,” she said.

“That’s why we’re proud to continue to be a diversity partner of Lawyers Weekly, sponsoring the Women in Law Forum and supporting So They Can.”

LEAP executive director of human resources Lorenz Braysh supported this, saying that the provider is “thrilled to see diversity throughout our teams, not only of gender but also of culture and neurodiversity”.

“We’re embracing equity at LEAP not only because it’s the right thing to do — but because it’s what has seen us succeed for over 30 years,” she submitted.

LEAP director of sales Selma Raso added: “We’re proud to deliver technology [that] empowers women to thrive at every stage of their career, which may include starting their own firm.”

“We’ve seen this firsthand throughout the years, as LEAP sparks our entrepreneurial women lawyers to leave traditional firm structures which may not serve them, and claim their own space, in their own firms.” 

Looking ahead, Ms Limmer said, the future global economic situation is unpredictable.

“Cost of living is at record highs, as war rages and new wars loom. Historically, such major upheavals often catalyse revolution as lean times force change. Through COVID, women overwhelmingly drove the uptake of technology like LEAP,” she detailed.

“Of the 512 start-up law firms that LEAP assisted, 302 of these were headed by women. What was long demanded, like the flexibility to work from home and around familial commitments, became normalised.”

“The GFC, our last major recession, drove a massive uptake of revolutionary tech — start-ups like AirBnB, Square, and WhatsApp were all founded during this period. Recessions present a natural period of culling as we cast off inefficient ways of working and rapidly embrace the new.”

This means, she said, that women lawyers who have effectively embraced technology are uniquely placed to thrive through turbulent economic times “because they are already working smarter, better, and faster than lawyers and firms who have failed to adapt their systems and processes”.