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View the latest news from Australian Women Lawyers.

Job share partners smash flexibility ceiling

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.

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Two years of female judiciary appointments celebrated

According to this article by Lara Bullock which appeared in Lawyers Weekly on 22 March 2016, in mid March 2016 the Women Lawyers Association of NSW held an event to acknowledge the 14 female judicial appointments in the Federal and NSW Courts over the last two years. The Women Lawyers Association of NSW biennial Celebrating Women in the Judiciary event was held with a keynote speech delivered by the Honourable Justice Margaret Beazley AO.

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Male lawyers push to make flexibility a reality

This article by Lara Bullock appeared in Lawyers Weekly on 21 March 2016. According to it, an online documentary series starring five executives, including a Corrs Chambers Westgarth partner and a Telstra in-house counsel, has followed their journey to putting flexible work into practice for male professionals. The Equilibrium Man Challenge has been a year-long project following the lives of five senior professionals who have defied ongoing workplace norms that remain hostile to men working flexible hours.

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Legal profession nearing equal gender split

This article by Lara Bullock appeared in Lawyers Weekly on 15 March 2016. It refers to work being done by the Queensland Law Society (QLS) and Bar Association. Ms Bullock notes in her article that while the percentage of women in the legal industry is nearing the 50 per cent mark, "more can be done" to ensure women make it to the higher ranks of the profession. The QLS is cautiously optimistic about achieving gender equity in the legal profession, the QLS deputy president, Christine Smyth, has said. “Women now make up 47.9 per cent of our full members, which is an increase of 0.7 per cent from 2014-15. Early career lawyers are surging ahead, with 61 per cent of those with five years or less post-admission experience being women,” Ms Smyth said.

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Changing the question

This article by Lara Bullock which appeared in Lawyers Weekly on 22 February 2016 suggests that if the legal industry wants to achieve true diversity, it must stop asking questions that assume gender roles.

Diversity continues to be a hot-button issue in the legal profession – even as female lawyers dominate the lower ranks of firms, they remain under-represented at partner level and at the bar. As the profession becomes more aware of the importance of a diverse workforce, what needs to change to achieve greater inclusivity?

Lawyers Weekly and DLA Piper teamed up with some high-profile members of the profession to look deeply into diversity issues, including parental leave, business pressures and extending diversity beyond gender.

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