Despite the obvious success of women in all sectors of legal practice there is wide recognition that barriers or impediments to the advancement of women in the profession continue to exist.
The number of women solicitors practising in NSW has grown by 452% since 1988, and women now make up 46% of the profession. However, despite this rapid equalisation in the male to female ratio, change has been slower to reach the ranks of partners and principals.
In late 2010, the Law Society Council decided that identifying those barriers should become the focus of the Law Society's major thought leadership initiative for 2011. This project was championed by the 2011 President, Stuart Westgarth.
The report and recommendations arising from this project were officially released at on Thursday 1 December 2011.
This project gained momentum due to statistics available on women in the legal profession since 1988.
Also available are key themes we explored as part of this project.
Other organisations are undertaking similar projects both in Australia and internationally. In particular, we would like to draw attention to the Equitable Briefing Policy prepared by The Law Council of Australia.