WLA ACT held its inaugural ‘Partner Forum’ at Clayton Utz on 11 August 2016. The aim of this event was to provide our members with an opportunity to network with women partners in Canberra, and to have informal discussions about their experiences and their ‘path to partnership’.
Research shows that there is a significant gender gap in the legal profession in the most senior levels. Women still form less than 25% of the partners despite a greater proportion of women now graduating with law degrees.
It was a common theme amongst the young lawyers at the event that they appreciated having women partners as role models within their firms and that having women in senior positions made a significant difference to their aspirations. It was particularly interesting to hear from our partners about their unique experiences, their insights into the challenges they faced, and how they achieve a work/life balance. Here are some of the ‘hints and tips’ from the partners:
(a) Be brave; don’t be afraid to take risks.
(b) Consider if the firm you are working for is the right fit for you. Partnership is a big commitment, and you want to make sure you are going into business with other like-minded people.
(c) Call out attitudes or behaviours that don’t sit right with your values.
(d) Invest in yourself.
(e) There is no one formula to becoming a partner. The partnership model will keep changing and the key is to learn to adapt to new circumstances. We would like to thank the following partners for their generosity:
Jennifer Wyborn - Clayton Utz
Melanie McKean - HWL Ebsworth
Simonetta Astolfi – Maddocks
Deborah Rolfe - Maliganis Edwards Johnson
Caroline Atkins - DLA Piper
Noor Blumer – Blumers Lawyers
Cristina Huesch - Alliance Family Law
Shelley Mulherin - McInnes Wilson
Annabel Griffin - King & Wood Mallesons
Julie Dobinson - Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson
Lois Clifford - Dobinson Davey Clifford Simpson
Debra Parker – Watts McCray
Louise Morris – Chamberlains
Alice McCormick – Minter Ellison
We would also like to extend a very special thank you to Clayton Utz who kindly sponsored this event (including providing a delicious lunch!).