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
Real Estate & Projects Lawyer (6+ years PAE)
Category: Property Law | Location: Sydney CBD, Inner West & Eastern Suburbs Sydney NSW
· Top tier firm with offices nationally · High profile clients
View details
Silk Painter counsels that more women are needed at the Bar

Silk Painter counsels that more women are needed at the Bar

The silk selection process in NSW is “gruelling” but “appropriate”, according to one of this year’s successful candidates for senior counsel.

Michelle Painter (pictured), a barrister at 6th and 7th Floor St James Hall Chambers, told Lawyers Weekly she was “very happy, and full of trepidation, and relieved all at the same time” when she heard she had been appointed silk.

Seven out of this year’s 24 silk appointments in NSW were female; a drop from last year when 12 out of 26 new silk appointees were women – the largest number of female barristers ever appointed as senior counsel on a single occasion.

However, the percentage of women making silk is still low, and Painter, who has been at the Bar since 1998, having previously worked in both private practice and the government sector, said she thinks the only way to tackle the low percentage of women making it to the top echelons of the Bar is to look at why such a low number of women are joining the Bar in the first place.

“I think the real assault on the numbers has to happen at the intake at first-year barrister level; and I think until women are coming to the Bar in much greater numbers than the 25 to 30 per cent that it stands at nowadays ... there will continue to be a disparity of male barristers.

“At senior level, seven to 10 years and up, there are about 80 to 85 per cent male barristers to 15 per cent women ... until we have more women coming in as barristers we’re not going to have more women barristers at the more senior levels, and achieving the ultimate promotion to senior counsel at the other end of their careers.”

The Women Lawyers Association of NSW (WLANSW) did, however, welcome the fact that for the second year running more than a quarter of silk appointees were women.

“WLANSW is delighted by the announcement of seven new women senior counsel and congratulates the NSW Bar Association on continuing to recognise the excellence of women barristers,” WLANSW president Margaret Holz said.

Painter, whose primary areas of practice are commercial law, equity and trade practices and competition law, said she expects her practice to go through a period of transition following her appointment as silk.

“I hope I do more work such as appellate work, which has not been a significant part of my practice to date,” she said.

“I think it will take some time before the changes [having been appointed silk] are really observable ... certainly I think I won’t be doing some of the smaller matters that I did a little bit of as a senior junior, but most of my practice was relatively well developed in the last few years in any event.”

This year’s full list of 24 silk appointees in NSW, in order of their length of service at the Bar, are:

Raoul David Wilson

Ian Roy Coleman

Nicholas Andrew Nicholls

Terence Michael Lynch

Eugene Guy Romaniuk

Julia Ann Baly

Mark Jeffrey Steele

Ian James Hemmings

Peter Ralph Cummings

Sally Christina Dowling

Michelle Alisa Clare Painter

Marcus Robert Pesman

Matthew Saxon White

Jeremy Richard Clarke

Helen McLeod Wilson

Thomas Gregory Howard

Anthony Stephen McGrath

Penelope Margot Wass

Nicholas Joseph Beaumont

Garry Kenneth James Rich

Michael Shaun Henry

Rasshelle Leah Seiden

Margaret Nita Allars

James Oleg Hmelnitsky

 

 

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

Silk Painter counsels that more women are needed at the Bar
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Aug 21 2017
Is your firm on the right track for gig economy gains?
Promoted by Crowd & Co. The way we do business, where we work, how we engage with workers, ev...
Scales of Justice, Victorian County Court, retiring judges
Aug 21 2017
Replacements named for retired Vic judges
Two new judicial officers have been appointed in the Victorian County Court, following the retire...
Applauds
Aug 21 2017
LCA applauds proposed Modern Slavery Act
The Law Council of Australia has welcomed new recommendations for the development of a Modern Slaver...
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 & ...