Lawyers on Demand has recently held its In House Women of Influence Lunch in Sydney, providing a forum for “women in senior in-house positions to come together, share ideas and discuss solutions to the challenges of working in today’s legal landscape.”
The event, now in its fourth year, recognises “a desire for more collaboration and interaction amongst women in senior in-house legal positions,” according to Anita Thompson, Lawyers on Demand’s head of marketing and communications.
Held at Woolloomooloo’s Ovolo, the Sydney event brought together a number of in-house women to network, share stories with like-minded people, and be inspired by Helen McCabe, the former editor-in-chief of The Australian Women's Weekly and founder of female-focused Future Women.
Over lunch, Ms McCabe talked candidly about her experiences as a female journalist in a male-dominated industry and her perspective of the gender diversity in society and within Australian politics to bring a different perspective to female in-house professionals who Ms Thompson said “are sometimes reluctant to take time out away from our busy work schedule to attend events such as these.”
“However, the benefits are enormous from both a professional and general ‘life’ point of view,” she noted.
“Community within the in-house industry is essential,” Ms Thompson emphasised.
“Unlike working in law firms, in-house lawyers often work in small teams or even as sole counsel.”
“As such, it is often difficult for them to find the time and appropriate forum in which to interact with their peers, to share experiences and challenges they may be facing,” she reflected.
Lawyers on Demand has recognised this as a “pressing issue”, and Ms Thompson said that is why the organisations spends “a great deal of time trying to create a variety of forums for both our lawyers and clients in which to build a sense of community.”
“We knew there was a need for a program such as this, but the positive response and success has even surprised us,” she explained.
For Lawyers on Demand, the goal was “to create a ‘community’ of like-minded women which meant ensuring that the conversations and dialogue which start at our lunches continue beyond them,” Ms Thompson said.
“It is not only extremely important for female in-house lawyers to have events like this, but it is important they feel like they can take the time to attend them,” she said.