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
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
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 & ...