HOLDING REDLICH recently celebrated the achievements of some of its male staff, many of whom test the boundaries of extraordinary endurance every day. Meet the firm’s working fathers.
The unusual gathering took place at the Court House Hotel in North Melbourne at lunchtime on 18 July. The dads of Holding Redlich, actual and potential, met over lunch to discuss …well, being a dad.
The lunch was part of a series of initiatives by the firm to support professional staff in balancing their work with family responsibilities.
Partner Charles Power is an industrial relations specialist, previously acting as an associate to a Senior Deputy President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission, and a former senior adviser to a federal government minister. More impressive still, he is the father of four young boys. Power and another partner at the firm, Andrea Tsalamandris, came up with the idea of the lunch, following the lead of their female counterparts.
“The firm has held similar lunches for female professional staff to discuss work and family issues. At the suggestion of my colleague Andrea, I thought I’d ask the blokes whether they were interested in doing something similar.”
To get the conversation going, Power invited Justice Chris Maxwell, president of the Court of Appeal, to share his experiences as a senior legal practitioner and father of three. Acknowledging that he was speaking to the “hard men of Holding Redlich” he spoke about the importance of a father demonstrating an active interest in things that their children were doing in their lives. “They value this, even if they don’t often show it,” His Honour said.
Discussion then led to ways that a legal professional can maintain satisfactory relationships with family and household members while meeting the demands of private practice.
“This wasn’t a boy/girl thing,” said William Khong, senior associate and father of 10-month-old and 4-year-old children. “The issues men face in this profession are the same as those faced by our female colleagues — although obviously they have a whole lot more challenges. It’s just that sometimes the blokes aren’t very good at recognising that work and family can be tough for them too. Hopefully these lunches will go part of the way to addressing that.”
Another lunch is planned for later this year, along with similar events in the firm’s Sydney and Brisbane offices.