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
NSW Bar Association president steps down

NSW Bar Association president steps down


Jane Needham SC has said she will not seek re-election as president of the NSW Bar Association.

The elections, to be held on 5 November, will mark the end of Ms Needham’s 18 months in the role.

Her announcement follows a period of significant unrest at the Bar, which has seen heated emails fly back and forth between council factions in an effort to pull votes.

Debates over the title of Queen’s Counsel and equitable briefing have been publicly aired through a series of widely circulated emails.

"I'm trying hard not to be distracted by it and so, as I can see, are the majority of councillors and barristers," Ms Needham told The Sydney Morning Herald.

Ms Needham said her time in the top job had been an “extremely stressful” but "incredibly valuable and constructive" experience.  

She said among the Bar Association’s achievements were the best practice guidelines for chambers and a draft equitable briefing policy, which was put forward at a national roundtable on Monday.  

However, the Bar Association leadership has been criticised for expressing political views, most notably in an email circulated in September by crown prosecutor Margaret Cunneen SC.

Ms Needham said critics were mistaken about which views were expressed by the NSW Bar Association.

Ms Cunneen has joined forces with former Commonwealth Solicitor-General David Bennett QC and Jeffrey Phillips SC to run for election.

Last week the email row continued between silks over various Bar activities, including the knitting club and the commissioning of childcare centres.

Hugh Marshall SC sent an email to Bar members questioning the benefits of these activities.

This prompted a brusque response from Michelle Painter SC, the chair and foundation member of the knitting group.

"Why did you choose that collegiate activity?" Ms Painter asked. “Do you also sneer at the chess club? The annual tennis, golf and sailing tournaments? The Bar cricket team?"

Ms Needham agreed, saying “it was interesting that the two things that were picked out in that email were two things that might be thought to interest women rather than men".

"There is no criticism, for example, of the Bar having a soccer team,” she said.

"I've received many emails from people who use the childcare places and it is enabling people to get back to work and it is one of the things I am proudest of.”

Ms Needham said her family, including her twin sons and her daughter, were delighted by the change.  

"The joy on my boys' faces when I told them that I would be able to read Harry Potter to them in the very near future was just worth it," she said.

Like this story? Subscribe to our free newsletter and receive Lawyers Weekly every day straight to your inbox!

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

NSW Bar Association president steps down
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Scales of Justice
Oct 19 2017
‘Ego status’ compelled ex-lawyer to defraud $2.97m, court told
Debarred lawyer John Gordon Bradfield told an NSW District Court that he was driven by “ego status...
Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA), Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legislation,
Oct 19 2017
ALA welcomes ‘tough’ Qld manslaughter laws
The Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) has welcomed Queensland’s new industrial manslaughter legisl...
Legal podcasts, tune in, microphone
Oct 19 2017
Legal podcasts you have to tune in to right now
The rise of the internet has hailed in a new dawn for storytelling. Here’s our top pick of podcast...
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 & ...