Watershed moment for diversity in law

The Law Council of Australia has recommitted to diversity and equality and will be implementing further measures for firms to do the same.

The Law Council of Australia has recommitted to diversity and equality and will be implementing further measures for firms to do the same.

Constituent body leaders of the Law Council and firm leaders met last week to implement a diversity and equality charter, recommitting to diversity in the profession.  Following the announcement, the Law Council will be working to implement further measures such as training, knowledge sharing tools and protocols for law firms.

“The Law Council will act as an information hub so that individual law societies, bar associations and firms can adapt resources to their particular goals and needs,” said Fiona McLeod SC, treasurer of the Law Council and leader of last week’s workshop.

McLeod, who described the outcomes of the workshop as a watershed moment for the legal profession, said it was time for the Law Council to act on the deep-rooted issues.

“National leaders met to consider and respond to the findings of the Law Council National Attrition and Re-engagement Study concerning the reasons women leave the legal profession.  The day resulted in a Diversity and Equity Charter, a bold statement of our commitment to diversity and equality expressing a shared vision of inclusion and fairness,” she said.  “Diversity benefits us all, and the time to act on these long standing issues has well and truly arrived.”

Establishing a Charter, she said will help to enable women to remain in the workforce. 

“These measures and the sharing of information and resources are vitally important if we are going to address the reasons women leave the law,” said McLeod. 

McLeod said the workshop also developed other initiatives including the promotion of flexible working arrangements and assistance with harassment and bullying protocols.

Duncan McConnel, president of the Law Council, described the new charter as a significant step in the legal profession. 

“The Charter is based on the principles of justice, integrity, equality and the pursuit of excellence upon which the profession is founded,” he said.

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