find the latest legal job
Corporate/Commercial Lawyers (2-5 years PAE)
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Specialist commercial law firm · Long-term career progression
View details
Graduate Lawyer / Up to 1.5 yr PAE Lawyer
Category: Personal Injury Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Mentoring Opportunity in Regional QLD · Personal Injury Law
View details
Corporate and Commercial Partner
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: Adelaide SA 5000
· Full time · Join a leading Adelaide commercial law firm
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Sydney NSW
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
In-house Legal Counsel & Commercial Lawyers
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· Providing lawyers with flexibility and control over when they work, how they work and who they work for.
View details
Not a charity case

Not a charity case

A senior large-law partner who is a finalist in the Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards has said good diversity policies make business sense.

Virginia Briggs (pictured top) is one of six finalists in the Female Partner of the Year Award, proudly supported by Michael Page Legal.

Virginia, who leads Minter Ellison’s Sydney real estate group and NSW government practice, told Lawyers Weekly that if law firms are in the business of making money, it is imperative they seek to retain female talent.

“The thing that we really need to focus on is that this is not a charity issue for organisations, it is a bottom line issue,” she said. “We need to educate organisations, whether they be law firms or big property companies, that if they manage the promotion and retention of their women properly, they will simply make more money and have a much more diverse and innovative organisation.”

Virginia is one 14 members of the Minters Partnership Board and was involved in the search that saw Tony Harrington appointed as Minters’ new chief executive starting in July this year.

Virginia also acts as a mentor inside and outside the firm, combining her role at Minters with her position as the chair of the Women in Property and Diversity Committee of the Property Council of Australia.

“The great thing about being a mentor is that all the skills, enthusiasm and confidence is in there within the mentee,” she said. “What you need to do is to encourage them to blossom and to come out.”


Not just in it for themselves

Like Virginia, a characteristic shared by all six finalists in the Female Partner of the Year Award is a desire to help others.

Karen Payne is the second partner from Minters vying for this Award. Karen is the head of the national firm’s Direct Tax group and the founder of Minters’ Women in Tax initiative. Karen’s colleague, senior associate Vasuki Sivaloganathan, said Karen’s pro bono work and championing of female initiatives make her a worthy recipient of this Award. “As a young mother of two children aged four and 18 months, Karen has been unrelenting in her support of ensuring that I succeed both personally and professionally,” said Vasuki.

Karen was also a finalist in the Partner of the Year Award at August’s Lawyers Weekly Law Awards.

Jackie O’Brien is a well-known figure at Lawyers Weekly awards ceremonies, having won the Partner of the Year Award at the Lawyers Weekly Law Awards this year. In addition to running a successful IP practice, Jackie is the chair of NRF’s Corporate Social Responsibility Committee, the national pro bono partner, and a member of the firm’s National Diversity Committee and Graduate Recruitment Committee. “Jackie is a role model within our firm whom people admire,” said NRF Australia managing partner Wayne Spanner. “I am personally grateful to her for playing a significant role in positively shaping our workplace culture.”

Alice DeBoos (pictured left) has achieved a lot in a short space of time. She was promoted to partner at the age of 32 when at HWL Ebsworth. Since joining K&L Gates in 2010, she has risen through the ranks to be named as the head of the firm’s domestic workplace relations and safety practice and, last year, was named as one of 27 global practice leaders. Alice is one of only three females to hold such a position at the global firm which has over 2000 lawyers. “I see her as one of the long-term future leaders of the firm and know other partners and staff share the same opinion,” said K&L Gates partner Gerard Phillips.

Rani John is one of 24 female partners at Gilbert + Tobin, and the firm’s first partner from an Asian background. She combines acting for high-profile clients, such as Malaysia Airlines, the Coles Group and Nine Network Australia, with being one of two “People Leaders” for G+T’s competition and regulatory practice. “I consider myself deeply privileged to have Rani as a colleague and a partner,” said senior G+T partner Gina Cass-Gottlieb, who received the Legal Mentor Award at last year’s Women in Law Awards. “She gives me support in many ways, professionally and personally.”

Rounding out this impressive half-dozen is Annette Hughes. Annette is a senior partner with Corrs Chambers Westgarth. She holds a number of senior positions at Corrs, including being a member of the firm’s Executive Leadership Team, the assistant partner in charge of the Melbourne Office, chair of the firm’s Diversity Council, and the client relationship partner for BP.

“She is a champion for positive change, for teamwork and for the constant improvement of our firm and workplace,” said Corrs CEO John Denton.

The Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards will be held at Melbourne’s Langham Hotel on Friday 17 October.

You can purchase tickets here.

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

Not a charity case
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Jackie Rhodes
Dec 12 2017
Report sheds light on LGBTQI inclusion in law firms
A recent report has revealed the varying perceptions on LGBTQI diversity and inclusion in the Austra...
Women in business
Dec 12 2017
Annabel Crabb headlines Women in Business Forum
Political journalist Annabel Crabb has appeared at the Coleman Greig Lawyers Women in Business Forum...
Dec 11 2017
Warm welcome for new district court judges
Three practitioners who were appointed as district court judges in WA have been congratulated by ...
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 & ...