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Australian Women Lawyers held it's National Conference on 28 August 2020, via webinar. The free conference, themed 2020 Visision - In Focus, featured prominent women in the law including Nyadol Nyuon, Kate Jenkins, Pauline Wright and the Honourable Diana Bryant. Speakers addressed a range of issues including: intersectional law reform women in the criminal justice system careers - seizing the opportunities now available; and sexual harassment law reform The conference, which sold out its 1,000 available tickets, was a huge success, and receieved considerable coverage including: Lawyers Weekly's article on Noor Blumer's account of sexual harassment Lawyers Weekly's article on the impact of climate change and social issues on female lawyers Lawyers Weekly's article on the justice system's biases of female offenders the Sydney Morning Herald's article on our sexual harassment panel Thank you to all that attended, and we look forward to returning to in person events soon!...

AWL has made a submission to the Attorney General's department advocating against the following proposed Bills: Religious Discrimination Bill 2019 Religious Discrimination (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2019 Human Rights Legislation Amendment (Freedom of Religious) Bill 2019 AWL is particularly concerned that the draft Bill, if enacted, would compromise: access to healthcare for women, on the basis that medical practitioners, nurse practitioners and pharmacists may refuse to treat women on the basis of the women's religious beliefs. This is particularly so in respect of women’s health needs in relation to contraception, abortion, and fertility services such as assisted reproductive treatment, and even more so for women in remote and regional communities who are already disadvantaged by virtue of the limited range of services they can access; and access to family violence support (including financial support and advice) on the basis of a woman’s relationship status, marital status, sexual orientation, gender expression, or parenthood experience. All women – and indeed, all people – should be able to access these services regardless of their sexuality, sexual history, marital status, religiosity or lack thereof, and AWL strongly recommends that the Government only provide grants to those organisations that disavow discrimination on religious grounds in the provision of services. You can read a full copy of AWL's submission here....

Australian Women Lawyers' Treasurer, Astrid Haban-Beer, has been recognised as one of 40 most influential Asian-Australians in the inaugural Asian Australian Leadership Summit's "40 Under 40: Most Influential Asian-Australian Awards”, which recognises the achievements of young Asian-Australian leaders in their fields. "Astrid Haban-Beer has a broad practice incorporating commercial law, public and government law, and criminal law matters. Astrid has always sought to promote human rights through practical advocacy. She has appeared in many significant matters as a barrister including representing the State of Victoria in the Child Abuse Royal Commission as junior counsel and appearing in criminal jury trials both as a prosecutor and as defense counsel. Astrid has appeared as counsel in trials covering a diverse range of criminal matters covering complex historical sexual assaults involving children, drug importation and trafficking offences, customs, tobacco and firearms matters, as well as terrorism, public interest immunity and national security matters. Astrid is privileged to appear for parties in challenging matters involving mental impairment and disability law. Astrid has a commitment to pro bono practice, including representing clients in consumer law and criminal matters, and also sat on the board of the St Kilda Legal Service for several years until 2018. Further and importantly, Astrid has a special interest in criminal matters in The Philippines, including in cases where Australians have been detained. Astrid has been constant advocate for the progress of women in the legal profession, particularly culturally and linguistically diverse women. Astrid has occupied many board and committee roles striving for gender equality and diversity in the profession over the past decade. Notably, Astrid was Convenor of the Victorian Women Lawyers Association in 2010-2011 and is the current Treasurer of Australian Women Lawyers. Astrid is also the Vice-Chair of the Victorian Bar's Equality and Diversity Committee." https://asialinkbusiness.com.au/news-media/congratulations-to-the-40-under-40-most-influential-asian-australians...

Australian Women Lawyers vice president Leah Marrone recently spoke to Lawyers Weekly about gender quotas and targets. Ms Marrone said “equity is not inevitable and measures are needed to ensure it is reached.” She added more research will lend to the scale of these issues and the strategies used to address them. “We must be intersectional in our approach to creating change and ensure alongside gender equality, we work to ensure our profession reflects the broad diversity of our population,” Ms Marrone said. “We need to listen to their voices and follow their lead.” Ms Marrone added the Law Council of Australia has been on the front foot with plans like the “Equitable Briefing Policy”, “but this is just one piece of the puzzle”. “We need to question our assumptions of what a lawyer looks like, how we work, what is measured, what is valued and how we can truly assess merit,” she said.   You can read a whole copy of the article here: https://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/biglaw/26876-should-law-firms-implement-gender-quotas-and-targets-2...

Lawyers Weekly have today published an article profiling the AWL's views on the recent Equitable Briefing Policy report. 'Despite commitments to equitable briefing and more briefs reportedly going to women, the value of briefs offered to women has fallen, contributing to the legal profession’s “already dismal gender pay gap”, argues Australian Women Lawyers. The Equitable Briefing Policy Annual Report, released last week by the Law Council of Australia, revealed that female barristers still lag behind their male colleagues in the receipt and value of briefs. The findings from what is the second year of such reporting were that of the 23,170 briefs reported, female barristers received only 5,739 (25 per cent) of said briefs. More troublingly, women received $85,285,520 in fees reported by briefing entities, or 17 per cent, compared to men who received 83 per cent.' You can read a complete copy of the article HERE....

AWL issued a media release on 14 October 2019 concerning the latest report on the Equitable Briefing Policy. You can find a copy of the media release HERE. 'AWL applauds the organisations and individuals who have formally endorsed or adopted the Equitable Briefing Policy since its launch in 2016 and encourages the myriad other organisations and briefing entities throughout Australia to join them. It is a great sign that in the second year of reporting the interim target of 30% junior briefs to female junior barristers was met – change is possible. It is extremely disappointing however that despite a commitment to equitable briefing and an increase in the number of reported briefs going to women, the value of briefs going to women barristers has fallen as a proportion of the total indicating an increase in the profession’s already dismal gender pay gap. AWL would like to see adopters of the Equitable Briefing Policy also commit to closing this pay gap by providing briefs of equal value to women Barristers.'...

Support for both men and women wanting to have a family while working at the Bar has greatly improved over the years, according to Justice Ruth McColl of the NSW Court of Appeal. Referred to in an article by Lara Bullock which appeared in Lawyers Weekly on 14 January 2016, Her Honour went on to say that while having children while pursuing a career at the Bar used to be difficult, she believes the Bar is now much more supportive of families. To read the full article, copy this address into your browser: http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/wig-chamber/news/17801-remarkable-transformation-in-family-support-at-the-bar-judge-mccoll,utm_source=lawyersweekly&utm_campaign=lawyersweekly_Bulletin14_01_2016&utm_medium=email...

The Women Lawyers Association of NSW (WLANSW) has launched a Wollongong branch. The new ‘Wollongong Chapter’ was formed “to better engage and support women lawyers outside of CBD areas”, according to WLANSW president Lee-May Saw. The branch was created on 15 October last year through the formation of a local subcommittee. Lawyers Weekly reported on the formation of the Chapter in an article by Felicity Nelson published on 15 January 2016, ahead of a launch Cocktail Event hosted by the University of Wollongong and held in Wollongong on 28 May 2016. To read the full article, copy this address into your browser: http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/news/17816-wlansw-expands-into-regional-areas,utm_source=lawyersweekly&utm_campaign=lawyersweekly_Bulletin15_01_2016&utm_medium=email...

This article by Felicity Nelson was published in Lawyers Weekly on 23 March 2016. Ms Nelson reports that after 10 years of sharing front-facing legal roles, senior legal counsel Deanna Chan and Ana Simurina are challenging perceptions by working full-time jobs as a team. Ms Chan and Ms Simurina originally teamed up to share a transactional role as in-house lawyers at Stockland. A decade on, they are still working together as senior legal counsel at Mirvac, working three days a week each with a one-day crossover. To read the full article, paste this address into your browser: http://www.lawyersweekly.com.au/news/18190-job-share-partners-smash-flexibility-ceiling?utm_source=lawyersweekly&utm_campaign=lawyersweekly_Bulletin23_03_2016&utm_medium=email...