Weekend Wrap: Firm tackles hiring bias

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Making legal news this week, a new initiative helps firm tackles hiring bias; a disgraced criminal lawyer has been charged with new drug offences and a new survey has revealed major public support for legal aid.

Hall & Wilcox is tackling hiring bias with a new initiative run by the Victorian government.

“We are still finalising the details of the pilot however we will be implementing a process to remove a range of key identifying details from candidate applications such as name and address with a view to tackling unconscious bias in recruitment,” partner Anastasia Coutsouvelis said.

Research by ANU, which showed that equal candidates from culturally diverse backgrounds, often had to submit many more applications before getting an interview.

Disgraced lawyer Briana Ioannides has been charged with new drug offences when police raided an apartment she was in, rented by a friend.  She was granted bail, her lawyer telling the magistrate she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.  She is due to appear in court at the end of June.

A new survey has found that 81% of Australians believe that legal aid should be available to those who can’t afford a lawyer.  Currently, only 8% of people qualify for legal aid under the current means test, introduced as a result of funding cuts.

“Unfortunately, legal aid funding is so scarce that even if you’re living below the poverty line, you’re unlikely to qualify. People are being forced to represent themselves in court and its destroying lives.”

The Law Council is calling for a cash injection to the tune of $350m to end what they say is a major crisis.