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
Slaters’ secret to a female majority

Slaters’ secret to a female majority

The head of HR at Slater & Gordon said the firm grew the number of women in partner-equivalent positions to more than 50 per cent by changing the way it measures performance.

Taking the focus away from hours worked to objectives achieved has accelerated the firm’s diversity strategy, according to Catherine Harris (pictured), the general manager of HR at Slaters.

Harris told delegates at the Retaining and Advancing Women in Professional Services conference in Sydney last Friday (31 January) that more than half (55%) of Slaters’ Australian executive directors are female. The firm also boasts an overall majority of female lawyers, which has surpassed 60 per cent.

These figures are a credit to the firm’s new performance-based approach to recognition and reward, claimed Harris, which has helped to curb female attrition and boost the number of women in leadership roles.

“We’re interested in people’s performance and achieving their objectives, but the hours they work to do that aren’t our primary focus,” she said.

“A concern that we constantly got, particularly when women were taking a sideways step for a number of years due to family commitments or pursuing study, was they wanted to be measured on more than just financial results; they want to be measured on how they behave, how they develop other people.”

This approach is also responsible for the high take-up of flexible work practices at Slaters, with around 40 per cent of the firm’s workforce working flexibly, including a growing number of men, Harris continued.

 

Board values

Slaters’ success in the area of diversity has been driven by the firm’s board, Harris told delegates; specifically former chair and non-executive member Anna Booth, who left the firm in 2012 when she was appointed deputy president of Fair Work Australia.

“[The board] is so passionate … they are very, very interested in how we do in the diversity space,” she added.

The Board is now focused on “spreading the same ethos” to the firm’s UK offices. Slaters made a series of UK acquisitions over the past few years, including Pannone Solicitors, Taylor Vinters, Goodmans, Fentons, Russell Jones & Walker and Claims Direct.

Other prominent legal figures that spoke at the conference include K&L Gates partner Alice DeBoos and Baker & McKenzie partner Bryony Binns. Emma Hlubucek, senior policy lawyer at the Law Council of Australia, also delivered a presentation that unveiled the key findings of the LCA National Attrition and Reengagement Study, which is due to be released in March.

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

Slaters’ secret to a female majority
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
microphone
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
protest
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Blocked
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
APPOINTMENTS
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'...
opinion
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...
Help
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 & ...