find the latest legal job
Corporate Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Highly-respected, innovative and entrepreneurial Not-for-Profit · Competency based Board
View details
Chief Counsel and Company Secretary
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: Newcastle, Maitland & Hunter NSW
· Dynamic, high growth organisation · ASX listed market leader
View details
In-house Projects Lawyer | Renewables / Solar | 2-5 Years PQE
Category: Generalists - In House | Location: All Australia
· Help design the future · NASDAQ Listed
View details
Insurance Lawyer (3-5 PAE)
Category: Insurance and Superannuation Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Dynamic organisation ·
View details
Legal Counsel
Category: Corporate and Commercial Law | Location: North Sydney NSW 2060
· 18 month fixed term contract · 3-5 years PQE with TMT exposure
View details
Men praised at women’s awards

Men praised at women’s awards

Male champions of gender equality and the law’s female pioneers were targets of praise at this year’s Women in Law Awards.

Around 150 people gathered at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne on Friday night (17 October) for the third annual Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards.

Guests included senior judges, silks, law firm partners and some of the profession’s brightest up-and-comers.

Dozens of men also attended to support female colleagues, including the head of Baker & McKenzie in Australia, Chris Freeland, and Mike Ferraro, the global head of the corporate group at Herbert Smith Freehills.

The strong male turnout prompted the evening’s MC, Kate Ashmor, who is also the immediate past president of Australian Women Lawyers, to request a round of applause for “the blokes”.

Later in the evening, Norton Rose Fulbright partner Sally Macindoe also commended the men in attendance as she accepted the Legal Mentor Award, proudly sponsored by e.law.

“It is fantastic to see growing support and participation in these awards by the guys,” said Macindoe.

“We are not going to make a difference in this profession … if we don’t all do it together.”

Macindoe was the winner in the only category open to both men and women. She narrowly beat Herbert Smith Freehills partner John Angus, the Awards’ first male finalist, whose submission featured several examples of how he has helped women at his firm move into senior positions.

A celebration of women (and men)

The evening’s keynote address was given by Fiona McLeod SC (pictured right), vice president of the Australian Bar Association and an executive member of the Law Council of Australia.

McLeod paid tribute to the women, and men like Angus, who dedicate time to supporting others.

“[To those] who have given up sleep before they have given up on supporting others … each of you is nominated because someone saw in you something we all admire – a spark that encouraged, a fire in the belly, a determination to press on when it got uncomfortable because you knew it was the right thing to do,” she said.

She also recognised female leaders, including Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, and called for a greater number of women in leadership positions: “not one-off’s, but large numbers”.

“We need to see women lawyers, doing it full time and part time, leading teams and court cases, on the bench and at the head of courts, to make a new normal.

“Not just super women but normal women, juggling and coping, alongside men who are juggling and coping.”

McLeod relayed her own experience of juggling high-profile cases and raising a family, including an attempt to bake gingerbread cookies for her daughter the same night she had to prepare for a special leave application before the High Court.

The experience reminded her that many female lawyers are determined to be successful at work and at home, “but it just gets so exhausting having to do it all the time, and for 18 years apiece”.

It also highlighted that the crucial “prove yourself” years for female lawyers intersect with prime child-bearing years.

McColl.jpgLegal pioneers

McLeod was acknowledged as a passionate advocate for gender equality by the evening’s Lasting Legacy Award winner, Justice Ruth McColl AO (pictured left with MC Kate Ashmor and Lawyers Weekly deputy editor Leanne Mezrani).

McColl accepted the prestigious award on behalf of all female advocates, including early pioneers Ada Evans, the first woman legal practitioner in NSW; Justice Roma Mitchell, the first female appointed to a Supreme Court; Elizabeth Evatt, the first Chief Judge of the Family Court of Australia, and Mary Gaudron, the first female Justice of the High Court.

“These are the great women in whose paths we walk, fortunate that they’ve worn a track that we can follow, but conscious too of the necessity to remain ever vigilant until the time comes … when we can share the freedom our male colleagues enjoy of being able to pursue our legal careers knowing that our gender is irrelevant to our success,” said McColl.

The Lasting Legacy Award was the evening’s only uncontested award.

The winners in the eight competitive categories were:

The Female Partner of the Year Award, proudly sponsored by Michael Page Legal

Annette Hughes from Corrs Chambers Westgarth

The Future Star Award, proudly sponsored by Leo Cussen Centre for Law

Stefanie Faubel from Clayton Utz

The In-House Award, proudly sponsored by JLegal

Mirina Muir from OTOC Australia

The Junior Counsel Award, proudly sponsored by Sheahan Lock Partners

Sharon Burchell from Ninian Stephen Chambers

The Law Firm Diversity Award, proudly sponsored by Taylor Root

Maurice Blackburn

The Law Student Award

Deborah White from National Australia Bank

The Legal Mentor Award, proudly sponsored by e.law

Sally Macindoe from Norton Rose Fulbright

The Pro Bono Award

Heidi Nash-Smith from Wotton + Kearney

See Lawyers Weekly online over the next two weeks for profiles of all this year’s award winners.

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

Men praised at women’s awards
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
LCA president Fiona McLeod SC
Aug 17 2017
Where social fault lines meet the justice gap in Aus
After just returning from a tour of the Northern Territory, LCA president Fiona McLeod SC speaks wit...
Marriage equality flag
Aug 17 2017
ALHR backs High Court challenge to marriage equality postal vote
Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) has voiced its support for a constitutional challenge to ...
Give advice
Aug 17 2017
A-G issues advice on judiciary’s public presence
Commonwealth Attorney-General George Brandis QC has offered his advice on the public presence of jud...
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 & ...