find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Gay lawyers' access to promotion scrutinised

Gay lawyers' access to promotion scrutinised

THE first major study into how being gay affects a lawyer's potential for career advancement is due to be released tomorrow.

THE first major study into how being gay affects a lawyer’s potential for career advancement is due to be released tomorrow. 

The UK Law Society is working with gay rights group Stonewall and the InterLaw Diversity Forum to identify the obstacles faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual lawyers.

As the UK investigates how sexuality interacts with career advancement, almost no research has been done on the issue by the legal profession and its representative bodies in Australia.

The Law Council of Australia has done research into gender and how it affects access to court appearances and barristers being briefed by law firms, but nothing has yet been done on sexuality.

Likewise, The Law Institute of Victoria told The New Lawyer it’s not an issue that has been raised within its ranks. 

Edward Andrew, managing director of legal recruiter EA International, says it’s a non-issue for law firms in Australia. “If we said to our clients ‘this candidate is gay’, they would say ‘so what?’. It doesn’t feature as a function of their recruitment policy or their internal policies for promotion,” he said.

“We don’t see that there is any real discrepancy between sexual orientation and ability to succeed in the firm,” Andrew said. 

Former High Court judge Michael Kirby decided to go public over his homosexuality 10 years ago. The judge outed himself in Who’s Who in 1999 by naming Mr Johan van Vloten, a newsagent, his long-term partner. 

The outspoken judge used a eulogy at lawyer John Marsden’s funeral to slam the “anti-lavender brigade” in the media, and has criticised the Howard Government’s laws that define marriage as specifically between a man and a woman. 

The UK survey will be based on 35 questions with a view to improving law firm recruitment and retention and proving information for individual solicitors on how sexuality interacts with career advancement.  

Clifford Chance tax partner Stephen Shea, told UK magazine The Lawyer that any limitations lesbian and gay lawyers experience in their careers do not come solely from ineffective policies, but from gay and lesbian lawyers as well. 

“One of the main problems is very often gay individuals who hold themselves back as a result of attitudes implanted by society,” Shea said. 

InterLaw founder and Simmons & Simmons partner Daniel Winterfeldt said the profession as a whole needs to take responsibility for changing attitudes to allow gay, lesbian and bisexual lawyers feel they have the same opportunities as their heterosexual counterparts, The Lawyer reports. 

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Gay lawyers' access to promotion scrutinised
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Oct 19 2017
‘Ego status’ compelled ex-lawyer to defraud $2.97m, court told
Debarred lawyer John Gordon Bradfield told an NSW District Court that he was driven by “ego status...
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legislation,
Oct 19 2017
ALA welcomes ‘tough’ Qld manslaughter laws
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legisl...
Legal podcasts, tune in, microphone
Oct 19 2017
Legal podcasts you have to tune in to right now
The rise of the internet has hailed in a new dawn for storytelling. Here’s our top pick of podcast...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...