BAD THINGS supposedly happen in threes, but Louise Castle would be right now hoping the adage also applies to life’s positives.
The Allens Arthur Robinson trade practices partner is in line to become the third female lawyer to be named Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year.
By virtue of winning the NSW division last week, Castle will line up with seven interstate finalists for the national Private and Corporate Sector Award. As Lawyers Weekly went to press, no other lawyers had reached the final stage. It appears, therefore, that hopes of a legal threepeat — Elizabeth Broderick and Louise Herron have won previously — rest with Castle.
Initially nominated by an anonymous admirer, Castle is determined to ensure she has no regrets when the winner is announced on 25 October.
“It would be a great privilege to speak to and inspire other women. As women who have achieved it is our responsibility to encourage others to persist and reach their potential,” she said.
With the big day only three weeks away, Castle has already sounded Broderick out for some advice on what it takes to impress the national panel of judges.
“It’s such a wonderful opportunity to be an ambassador for women. You don’t want to look back a year later and think you didn’t make the most of it,” Broderick, a partner a Blake Dawson Waldron, said.
As a result of winning in 2001, Broderick embarked on more than 60 presentations the following year and agreed that such profile was good for the cause of fellow women in the law.
Now on the NSW judging panel, Broderick believed the national judges would be looking for a person who best fit the ambassador’s role.
When asked how she would approach being quizzed by national judges, Castle said she would “simply be myself”.
“Working in a historically adversarial setting [the law], I’ve tried to meet objectives by meeting people in the middle,” said Castle, who admitted to finding the self-promotional demands included in the submission process difficult to begin with. “A lot of professional environments are dominated by men, but women have to have the courage to realise they don’t have to behave in the same way as men do. They can achieve by doing it their own way.”
The part-time partner and mother of three certainly has done that, using her own brand of negotiations to play a pivotal role in the ACCC’s approval of the recent Foxtel/Optus content-sharing deal.
Castle is also one of four female partners steering the implementation of [email protected], a new initiative designed to formalise pathways and objectives for the firm’s female solicitors to achieve partnership.