Top 10: What’s new in the legal profession for new lawyers?

Top 10: What’s new in the legal profession for new lawyers?

15 November 2021 By Naomi Neilson

What’s happening in the legal profession that new and young lawyers should be aware of? Protégé has you covered with this fortnightly wrap up of all the latest updates across the law, including legislation controversies and upcoming awards.

1: Meet the law student finalists for the 2021 Women in Law Awards

Let’s kick things off with one of the most important news updates: our Women in Law Awards is right around the corner! This year, we have 10 fantastic young women in law nominated in the category of law student of the year. In this feature, we profile the finalists and ask what it means to them to be recognised at this year’s event.

2: Legal bodies, QCs oppose new Victorian pandemic bill

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One of the biggest updates across the profession this fortnight has been a fight to stop the Victorian Parliament from passing legislation that would grant Premier Dan Andrews with the power to declare public health orders during pandemics. Sixty Queen’s counsel are opposing this move, as is the Victorian Bar and Law Society.

3: ‘Cultural change cannot continue at glacial pace’: Female CEOs increase but hit new low in chair numbers

Now, although there has been a reduction in the number of firms promoting only men to senior leadership positions, the profession’s still not close to achieving equality. In new data from the Women Lawyers Association NSW, the number of women in chair positions has hit a new low point. In even more shocking news, the firms that do have a female chair often have no other female members on the board.

4: Commonwealth extends trauma for victims of Dyson Heydon

Speaking of a terribly poor culture, one of the women sexually harassed by former High Court justice Dyson Heydon has spoken publicly about the Morrison government’s repeated delays to achieve a settlement. This has exacerbated her post-traumatic stress disorder from the harassment and increased her anxiety.

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5: Christian Porter resumes defamation pursuits over Twitter posts

Christian Porter is back at it again with legal action, this time targeting a child sexual abuse survivor, advocate and professor over comments she made about a picture of him. Not only has he again threatened legal action over defamation allegations; this time, his lawyer sent three notices in the one email on behalf of the former attorney-general, fellow politician Andrew Laming, and journalist Peter van Onselen.

6: SA Attorney-General faces inquiry for conflict of interest claims

From one Attorney-General to another, the South Australian counterpart, Vickie Chapman, was before an inquiry where she faced accusations of a conflict of interest in her decision to refuse a port development on Kangaroo Island where she owns property. This inquiry, Ms Chapman said, is the result of the opposing government’s attempts to attack and discredit her prior to the upcoming state election.

7: Reforms, funding front of mind for SA legal profession ahead of election

Speaking of, the South Australian Law Society has made a number of key asks that include legislative changes and increased funding. It also took aim at the current government’s “unprecedented use” of state powers during the global pandemic and its tendency to rush reforms through without the appropriate public scrutiny.

8: Gadens gives all lawyers 15% salary increase

In exciting news, national firm Gadens has become the latest firm to offer its practitioners a pay rise of 15 per cent. All other staff employed at the firm are set to increase anywhere between 5 and 15 per cent. The news follows fellow BigLaw firm Gilbert + Tobin giving staff a pay rise of 10 per cent.

9: High Court dismisses appeal in ‘largest women’s health class action’

The High Court of Australia has preserved the judgment of the Federal Court, which two years ago ruled in favour of thousands of women whose “lives were destroyed” by faulty pelvic mesh implants. The class action was dubbed the “largest women’s health class action in Australia’s history” that was a win for many brave women.

10: Man falsely accused of abducting Cleo Smith considers legal action

A Western Australian man wrongfully identified as being Cleo Smith’s abductor by the Seven Network said he is considering defamation after spending the last week inundated with death threats online and abuse when he leaves his house.

Top 10: What’s new in the legal profession for new lawyers?
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