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
SA addresses bar gender imbalance

SA addresses bar gender imbalance


The South Australian courts have gained approval for a program aimed at boosting the number of female barristers.

Last week the state's Equal Opportunity Tribunal ruled that the Step Up to the Bar program could proceed.The new program is an annual full-time opportunity open to experienced female lawyers to work closely with the Supreme Court judiciary on complex cases.

Under the Equal Opportunity Act 1984, organisations must seek an exemption before advertising a position exclusively to women.

The hope is the program will raise the proportion of female barristers in South Australia. More than half South Australia's lawyers are women, but women represent only 24 per cent of barristers and 20.5 of silks.

“For several decades an equal number of women and men have graduated from our law schools,” said the Chief Justice of South Australia, Chris Kourakis (pictured).

“We can no longer assume proportionate representation will balance out over time. We need to take a focused approach to boosting the number of women candidates for appointment to higher positions.”

SA Bar Association president Andrew Harris QC said the program will provide another pathway for women who are interested in a career at the bar to gain experience. 

“The SA Bar Association is conscious of the fact that women at the bar face difficulties in maintaining continuity of professional relationships (with solicitors and silks) if they interrupt their careers to raise a family.

“This is an important initiative, because it is a recognition that something needs to be done to address the structural imbalance created for women by discontinuity of careers.”

While most SA silks are committed to including females as juniors in litigation to address structural disadvantages, it is often difficult for women at the junior bar to secure briefs in complex commercial litigation, Mr Harris said.

Gaining exposure to complex cases through the Step Up to the Bar program will build this experience, he said.

“Although the [women in this program] would not be involved in a complex matter for one of the parties, they will have the exposure to such cases by being in court with the judge who is hearing them. 

“This builds experience by observation and will, I imagine, be supplemented by the special mentoring.”

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

SA addresses bar gender imbalance
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Oct 23 2017
How to fail well
The legal profession is due for an attitude adjustment when it comes to perceived failures, accordin...
Oct 23 2017
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
Oct 23 2017
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
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 & ...