Maddocks, Dentons among 2023 Employers of Choice for Gender Equality

Both firms have championed initiatives like improved parental leave policies

Maddocks, Dentons among 2023 Employers of Choice for Gender Equality

Maddocks and Dentons were among the organisations named by WGEA as this year’s Employers of Choice for Gender Equality.

This is nearly the 20th straight year Maddocks has received the accolade, having first been recognised in 2004. Meanwhile, it is Dentons’ third gold-standard citation.

“Like most organisations, Maddocks’ approach to gender equity started with a compliance focus. Diversity and inclusion now is a key driver of our business, informing our staff attraction and retention strategies”, said partner Alicia Albury, who also serves as executive sponsor of diversity and inclusion.

Most Read

“Inclusion is something that we focus on and prioritise every day. We want to give our people a workplace where they can thrive as individuals, as this makes us collectively stronger”, added Doug Stipanicev, Dentons’ Australia chair and Australasia region CEO.

Among the initiatives championed by both firms has been improved parental leave policies. Maddocks explained that in 2022, the firm bolstered the paid leave and flexibility aspects of its parental leave policy. Those who are going through fertility treatment are also entitled to extra leaves, as are those in the process of adopting or fostering children.

In addition, the firm said it has “moved to pay superannuation on the unpaid component of parental leave up to 52 weeks”. Maddocks also implemented new targets for more men availing of parental leaves and of flexible work arrangements.

Meanwhile, Dentons implemented a family leave policy in place of its old parental leave policy.

“This inclusive policy drops talk of gendered terms or traditional parenting roles (with key language around kinship groups particularly useful for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and those who are of diverse sexuality and gender)”, Stipanicev explained. “The policy now provides equal access to 20 weeks of paid leave for any direct carer of a new child”.

Creating opportunities for female lawyers

Maddocks has also evolved in terms of gender equality initiatives. This year, the firm relabelled the Maddocks Women committee to the Maddocks Gender Equality Network, opening the group to members of all genders.

The committee was initially launched in the 90s as a networking group focused on sharing professional and business development opportunities to women, but the committee has expanded its goals to supporting “gender equality and the advancement of all people in the firm who identify as women”.

Maddocks also debuted its inaugural gender affirmation policy; moreover, the board reset its gender equality targets to 40/40/20 by 2025. 

“Participating in the WGEA employer of choice citation process has helped us to improve workplace inclusion for women, year on year, a commitment which is shared across the partnership”, Albury said.

Meanwhile, Dentons’ efforts over the past few years have seen the percentage of female partners in the firm increase from 12% to 34% over 2018-2022.

“Over the past year we have also reduced our gender pay gap from 13.8% to 7.9%, which is one of the best in the legal industry”, Stipanicev said.

Maddocks CEO David Newman explained that the WGEA’s program and guidelines “have been our benchmarks that we have consistently used over the last two decades to ensure we are making the right decisions to continue to support and advance the careers of women and all of our staff who identify as women”.

“The decisions we make and the initiatives we put in place affect how we work as a collective, with each other, and with our clients. They also extend into the legal sector and wider business community. We are eager to continue to drive progress”, he said.

The WGEA Employers of Choice for Gender Equality citation is granted to encourage and honour active commitments to gender equality across workplaces in Australia. Criteria considered by the federal government include leadership, L&D, gender remuneration gaps and flexible working.

Recent articles & video

US law school deans commit to training advocates for democracy

Afghanistan Independent Bar Association in Exile joins International Bar Association Council

UK study reveals challenges faced by bereaved families at inquests

HWL Ebsworth unveils board of partners

Seven ascend to Hall & Wilcox partnership in huge promotions round

W+K makes Asia debut with Singapore office

Most Read Articles

NSW justice system welcomes new judges

New chair takes the lead at Barry Nilsson

HWL Ebsworth partner makes the switch to McCullough Robertson

Ashurst boosts Perth office with strategic partner hires