A new policy statement released by the peak body representing Australian lawyers aims to highlight a commitment by Australian lawyers to address Indigenous disadvantage in the practice of law.
The Law Council of Australia policy statement outlines a plan to encourage Aboriginal Australians to study and practice law.
Launching the policy statement in Darwin today, Law Council president Glenn Ferguson said this meant working with Indigenous associations, Australian law schools, law practices and the state and territory law societies and bar associations to develop pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people into legal practice.
“This is the first policy statement of its kind for the entire legal profession. It recognises that all Australian lawyers can play a part in addressing Indigenous disadvantage,” Ferguson said.
The policy statement was developed by the Law Council’s Indigenous Legal Issues Committee, which consulted publicly with more than 60 Indigenous and non-Indigenous stakeholders.
“The Law Council already does a great deal to support and encourage Indigenous law students, through initiatives such as the John Koowarta Reconciliation Law Scholarship,” Ferguson said.
He also said many law firms in Australia already invested in significant programs to encourage and assist Indigenous law students into practice.
While there are several developing law graduate assistance programs in each jurisdiction conducted by the law societies and bar associations – more needs to be done.
“It is my hope that with concerted effort and partnership, the legal profession and Indigenous bodies can dramatically increase the number of practising Indigenous lawyers toward equal representation within a generation,” he said.
The policy statement is available here: http://www.lawcouncil.asn.au/shadomx/apps/fms/fmsdownload.cfm?file_uuid=CEEFFABC-1E4F-17FA-D20E-BC93BC526613&siteName=lca