Legal bodies set new equitable briefing policy

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Some of the nation's largest legal bodies have met in Sydney to decide on a new policy to promote gender equality at the bar.

According to The Australian, more than 70 people from some of Australia's largest legal representative bodies met in Sydney to set a new national equitable briefing policy. The policy will urge corporate clients to sign up for new targets for briefing female barristers.

“One of the things that’s very exciting for me about this new proposal is that we will take it ­directly to corporate counsel and CEOs and seek their assistance in putting it into practice,” Australian Bar Association president Fiona McLeod said.

McLeod told The Australian that the current national equitable briefing policy, in place for more than 10 years, had not changed the behaviour of private firms as much as originally hoped.

“The new policy will include targets in terms of the number of briefs that go to women and I hope the value of briefs that go to women, so that women not only have a further opportunity to ­appear in court but they also have assistance addressing the current inequity in fees paid to women barristers,” McLeod said.
  • Louise Steer on 3/11/2015 9:59:29 AM

    Too late for me, as I left the Bar after a 10 year career because of the recession we had to have. But great news for women barristers now practising. Way overdue! Male professionals feel more comfortable dealing with other men, and the Bar is an extension of their private school behaviour. But if we don't have a diverse legal profession, where everyone is valued for what they bring to the profession, we will all be replaced by robots. Deservedly.

  • Wayne on 30/10/2015 10:21:20 AM

    More than a decade ago when I worked in house for a government department in NSW I sent a briefing note to the Director of the Legal Group and the Manager of Litigation suggesting that three women be added to our panel of barristers. I quoted in support of this suggestion a statement by the then attorney-general that more female barristers should be briefed. Both the Director and the litigation manager came back with: "We are not bound by the Attorney's statement," and refused to take any action. None of the three female barristers nominated were ever briefed. Did I mention that both the Director and the Litigation Manager were women? It is not always men who are the problem.

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