A graduation ceremony was held at Sparke Helmore's Sydney office last night (27 September) for students involved in the Lucy Mentoring program.
The program, first launched in 2004, is a collaboration between seven universities and the NSW Office for Women's Policy. It is open to law students as well as students from business-related faculties who spend at least 35 hours with mentors between April and September.
The mentors are often senior people from some of Australia's largest companies, including Westpac, Deloitte, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and UBS.
Law firms including Sparke Helmore, Colman Greig Lawyers and Slater & Gordon are also involved.
"Most of the contact between the mentors and students goes well beyond the 35-hour mark," said Sarah Fletcher, a career services manager, employer relations, with the University of Sydney. "Many of these relationships develop beyond the program."
Around 230 students from the University of Sydney have graduated from the program since its inception in 2004.
The program was the brainchild of the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, and was championed by the ex-minister for women in New South Wales, Sandra Nori.
"This program has such a positive impact on lawyers like me who are involved as mentors," said Judy Thomas, a special counsel at Sparke Helmore. "It is very personally rewarding and has also helped me to become a better manager and helped me manage my team internally."
Thomas is one of 18 mentors involved in the program from the Sparke Helmore.