Morning Briefing: Law firms need ‘direct action’ to get more women into the profession

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Law firms need ‘direct action’ to get more women into the profession
Direct action is needed if Australian law firms are to increase the level of representation of women in their partnerships and at senior levels, according to Clayton Utz chief executive partner Rob Cutler. Cutler says the profession needs to work together to reduce the rate of female attrition from the law: “While we have a number of initiatives in place to support our women in achieving personal and professional success however, we recognise that direct action is needed to effect real change at the partnership level.”

The lawyers of the future
With the models of law firms and in-house teams changing, one of the newer entrants to the profession has published a three-step guide to the ‘modern associate’. Lawyers on Demand says that the traditional story of an associate putting in hard work and commitment with the aim to become a partner is fading; instead modern legal work demands flexibility and an entrepreneurial nature. The firm has been working with Canadian consultant Jordan Furlong who says that associates should figure out their area of expertise, develop a reputation and network and create a unique offer that traditional law firms in your market are not able or willing to do.
New Zealand barrister suspended over ‘sloppy’ work
The New Zealand Lawyers and Conveyancers Disciplinary Tribunal has suspended Auckland barrister John Alan van der Zanden from legal practice for a period of three months. The tribunal upheld a charge brought by the New Zealand Law Society of negligence or incompetence which was of such a degree as to bring his profession into disrepute. Although the tribunal found that it was not done knowingly, van der Zanden had misled the Court of Appeal in two affidavits he swore which incorrectly stated that the Crown accepted home detention as the sentence in a District Court sentencing. The tribunal found the first affidavit he prepared was “sloppy” and that he should have been aware of the rigour required for preparation of evidence supporting an appeal for a person in custody, and when alleging prosecutorial misconduct. In respect of the second affidavit, the tribunal found the manner in which it was prepared was utterly reckless. Van der Zanden was ordered to take advice in relation to the management of his practice and to undergo practical training and education as directed by the Law Society.

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