On 6 June 2018, WLA ACT, in conjunction with the ACT Bar Association, held its second annual Come to the Bar information evening.
The event gave attendees an opportunity to hear from current and former barristers and ask frank questions about the realities of life at the bar.
Attendees heard from Chief Justice Helen Murrell and Justice Loukas-Karlsson of the ACT Supreme Court, Ken Archer from the ACT Bar Association and barrister Seyi Onitiri, before a number of currently practising women barristers shared their experiences and took questions.
Chief Justice Murrell’s key piece of advice for anyone wanting to join the bar was not to wait until the time is right, as there is no right time! Chief Justice Murrell pointed out that there will always be obstacles irrespective of what stage of life you’re at, so you may as well take the leap now. Her Honour also stressed the importance of having confidence in yourself, and building good support networks (like the Women Lawyers Association!).
Justice Loukas-Karlsson shared her experiences of being a Legal Aid lawyer and how she realised she was ready to join the bar when she knew she could do a better job than the barrister she was briefing. On the issue of achieving work-life balance at the bar, Justice Loukas-Karlsson spoke on the importance of gender equality not only in the workplace, but also at home, particularly in the division of duties. In other words, your partner needs to be supportive.
Ken Archer, President of the ACT Bar Association, and barrister Seyi Onitiri, spoke on the practicalities of life at the bar – what it’s like to do the readers course, how much you can expect to earn as a barrister in the ACT, how to rent a room in chambers. As the dad of two young children, Seyi offered advice on managing work-life balance.
WLA ACT would like to thank barristers Katrina Musgrove, Beth Morrisroe, Kristy Katavic,
Juliet Behrens and Merrilyn Davis for sharing their experiences.
The event was sponsored by Key Chambers. WLA ACT would like to thank Prue Bindon for organising this event and Key Chambers for their generous sponsorship and use of their venue.