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
Vic takes leap to help women clear Bar hurdles

Vic takes leap to help women clear Bar hurdles

The Victorian Bar has launched a program that aims to triple the percentage of female silks in the state.

The Victorian Bar has launched a program that aims to triple the percentage of female silks in the state.

The Bar launched the Quantum Leap program, which aims to increase the number of women throughout all levels of the Bar, last night (12 November).

“Strong economic and moral arguments underpin the case for equality, and the Bar will be stronger for it,” said Fiona McLeod SC (pictured), the chair of the Victorian Bar Council.

The Quantum Leap program has set specific gender targets. Namely, it seeks to bring the number of female silks in Victoria from nine per cent to 30 percent over the next 10 years. In the same time period it is also seeking to lift the number of female barristers in their first two years at the Bar from the current level of 44 per cent to 50 per cent.

“Despite the promise of improvement, progress towards gender equality has been extremely slow and the numbers of women at a senior level at the Bar remain low,” added McLeod.

Yesterday (12 November), the Victorian Legal Services Board and the state’s Legal Services Commissioner also released its 2013 Annual Report.

For the last completed financial year ending 30 June 2013,  the report found that men significantly outnumber women at the Victorian Bar.

1456 men practise as barristers in the state compared to just 515 women.

Last year, three of Victoria’s 15 silk appointments were women.

Conscious and unconscious actions
The Quantum Leap program includes a seven-point plan of targeted actions to reach its gender targets.

This includes a ‘Silks Undertaking’ whereby senior counsel will publicly pledge a personal commitment to equality, including the recommendation of at least one new woman for a research task or junior brief annually.

The program also seeks to incorporate initiatives already being undertaken by large private practice firms, such as unconscious bias training, into Bar Council induction and the Silk Development program.

In a passionate address at last month’s Lawyers Weekly Women in Law Awards, McLeod directly addressed the bias in the profession that is adversely affecting women at the Bar.

“What is the unconscious bias that is having us choose men as naturally fitted to the better brief, the promotion, the hot file with the hot client that will take them somewhere,” said McLeod, who asked the question of “when we come to this bullshit argument about merit, what does it mean?

“What it means is that you have had the hot brief, the hot file and the hot client over and over, so it is inevitable that you will be given the promotion.

“So when you in this room make your decision about who to put forward for the brief, for the file, for the opportunity day by day, think about that unconscious bias.”

Improved mentoring for women and a reengagement roundtable have also been included as part of the seven-point plan.

The Bar has also committed itself to annually collate statistics around the percentage of women at the Bar and comparative gross earnings by seniority and areas of practice.

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

Vic takes leap to help women clear Bar hurdles
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 20 2017
Podcast: One of law’s most infamous alumni – in conversation with Julian Morrow
In this episode of The Lawyers Weekly Show, Melissa Coade is joined by The Chaser’s Julian Morrow....
Oct 20 2017
High Court overturns ‘excessive’ anti-protest legislation
Bob Brown’s recent victory in the High Court over the Tasmanian government was a win for fundament...
Oct 20 2017
Changes to Australian citizenship laws blocked
Attempts to beef up the requirements to obtain Australian citizenship were thwarted this week, after...
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 & ...