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Hunt & Hunt breaks new ground with female leaders

Hunt & Hunt breaks new ground with female leaders

LAW FIRM Hunt & Hunt last week announced the appointment of Maureen Peatman as its new chairman. Peatman will take the helm of the firm at the beginning of next month, when she will replace…

LAW FIRM Hunt & Hunt last week announced the appointment of Maureen Peatman as its new chairman. Peatman will take the helm of the firm at the beginning of next month, when she will replace Nigel Watson.

Peatman is one of the firm’s most senior practitioners, leading the environmental law team and practising in the NSW Land and Environment Court for over 20 years, as well as in related matters in the Supreme Court. She has also authored a number of publications about the law of the environment.

Her appointment as chairman places Hunt & Hunt in the notable position of being the only law firm in Australia that has both a female chairman and a female CEO, a position held by Barbara Crook since early 2005, said the firm. Peatman, however, did not see any significance in this: “I didn’t see it as a first. I don’t see [Crook] or myself as female in any particular way, I just see us as being the best for the job.”

Peatman also did not see why her position should be titled ‘Chairperson’. “I don’t see ‘chairman’ as gender specific; I see it as the name of a role,” she said. “It’s simply a communication tool. I don’t have to be a ‘chairlady’.”

Peatman said her new job would take a lot of work but that it would not be an autocratic role. “With the team pulling together, the work will disappear. I don’t see a major change in my life.”

“I see it as a privilege to lead the vibrant and progressive partnership of Hunt & Hunt into the future.”

In 2004, the Law Council of Australia appointed Peatman as Chairman of its Australian Environment and Planning Law Group. In 2005, the Australian Property Industry presented her with an award for outstanding service to that association.

See Women in Law this week on page 22.

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