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Dear Members and Friends,

Following our inspiring Launch Event on 16 February 2017 with Professor Gillian Triggs as guest speaker (click here to view the Photo Galleryclick here to view and listen to the video), we have some exciting events, speakers and programs coming up with our theme this year of ‘Tomorrow’s Leaders’. 

Our 2017 NSW Women Lawyers Achievement Awards are well underway, with only 5 Award Sponsorships still available, and bookings already received for the Gala Presentation Dinner, so we encourage you to book early as tickets are limited.

We are supporting the UN Women’s breakfast event this year on 9 March 2017 at the Sydney International Convention Centre with a WLANSW table. We hope to see you at this sold-out event! The International Women's Day 2017 theme is #BeBoldForChange to help forge a better working world - a more inclusive, gender equal world. Visit the website for events near you and further information.

WLANSW joins the Australian Women Lawyers Association in supporting innovative new Unconscious Bias CPD/CLE Training. The Symmetra online course  approved by the LCA has been specifically designed for the legal profession and covers topics such as the business case for fighting unconscious biases (including tips and tools to do so); intersectional diversity; and the Law Council’s Equitable Briefing policy.  

Lastly, we hope to see you at our next event in Sydney - being the ‘Rising Stars’ panel discussion featuring Marina Brizar, Renee Bianchi and Emile McPhee on 30 March 2017.  The 'Rising Stars' event is held in association with NSW Young Lawyers and is hosted by Mills Oakley in Sydney.  In addition, our Newcastle Chapter will be continuing its Leadership Lunch Series on 31 March 2017 with Professor Tania Sourdin presenting “Leadership in law in a time of change”.  Please see further details below and ensure you’re signed up to our enews and social media platforms for the latest updates and news. 

As always, our subcommittees would love to hear from you so please contact us to find out how to get involved with all the projects and events we have in store for 2017!

Kind regards

Holly Lam


Support the organisation that has supported women in law since 1952.

For further information on joining or to renew your membership please contact
our office or visit our website.

Click here for the Membership Form.

Half year rates now available!

Nominations close 31st May. Book your ticket or table to the Gala Presentation Dinner 11th August 2017 at Doltone House Hyde Park with guest speaker, The Hon Chief Justice Susan Kiefel AC.


Ann Kirby (nee Plotke) who passed away on 29th January arrived in Australia in 1939 after living in Germany, Yugoslavia and Hungary.  

Ann was a past president and life member of the Women’s Lawyers Association and the first woman to join the Council of the Law Society in 1970.

Despite speaking no English when she arrived in Australia Ann was accepted to an academically high school before attending Sydney University.

She joined and later became a partner of the law firm E.J. Kirby & Company and mentored many young solicitors from 1959 to 1997. She married the firm’s founder in 1998.

At the time when there was entrenched discrimination against women in the legal profession Ann and other senior female lawyers overcame these obstacles and blazed the trail for later generations of female lawyers. Current Law Society President Pauline Wright said “I am sure Ann would have been proud that the Law Society Council now more closely reflects the gender balance in the wide legal professional community with 13/9 split between female and male councillors.”
Media covers LCA bias training roll out
When a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald ran the banner National program to tackle 'boys' club' bias in legal profession (Sydney Morning Herald, 17 Feb 2017) many people took notice.  
Most people, including lawyers, view bias as something overt and obvious, with decidedly pejorative connotations. Lawyers especially pride themselves on being rational and dispassionate actors and tend to function on the premise that any individual bias they may have well be eliminated or suppressed. However, this is often not possible. 
“Bias in human cognition is far more complex and subtle than simply having some sort of direct interest in the outcome of a decision,” said Heather Price CEO of Symmetra, the consulting company endorsed by the Law Council of Australia as the exclusive provider of the unconscious bias training.  “Evolutionary development of the brain created a situation where most biases reside at an unconscious level.” 
Understanding that unconscious bias is pervasive and universal is fundamental for lawyers who are constantly making important appraisals of facts, tactical and strategic decisions for their clients - not to mention themselves and their practices. 
The ABC news ran the story titled Law Council of Australia tackles gender bias with new workshops (ABC News, 17 Feb 2017) but tackling unconscious bias is much more than a gender issue. “It‘s about diversity of thought and the definite improvements that can make to your practice.” said Heather Price, CEO of Symmetra, “Many studies have proven that counteracting unconscious bias improves decision making, innovation and even financial performance.” 

Read our latest blog posts …


Contract lawyers serve many purposes in the legal field, particularly in affording flexibility for a law firm that requires more lawyers in a particular field than they employ. Most often, contract lawyers are hired for a particular project or projects, after which the firm’s obligation to them ends. Though it would not be uncommon for  …READ FULL STORY

Panel discussion -Rising Stars!
5.30pm for 6-7.30pm Panel Discussion and Q&A, Thursday 30th March 2017
Mills Oakley Lawyers, Level 12 400 George Street, Sydney
Guest Speakers:
Marina Brizar, Head of Corporate, Playfair Visa & Migration Services;
Renée Bianchi, Barrister, 13 St James Hall Chambers;
Emile McPhee, Lawyer, McCullough Robertson Lawyers

Marina Briar, Renee Bianchi, Emile McPhee

The Women Lawyer’s Association of NSW in association with NSW Young Lawyers, invite you to join us to hear from this impressive and accomplished panel of lawyers as they share their experiences in the legal sector and the broader community, and how their contributions make a difference.

How do you get a start in the law? How do you progress your career in law? How do you wake up inspired? Come and hear how young lawyers who are recognised as rising stars have answers to these questions – and more.

WLANSW & YL Members $20pp Non-Members/Guests $35pp Special Offer for Law Students Members & Non-Members $10pp (incl. GST and refreshments). Please click here to download the flyer, and to register, or book online.

YL Members please note that if you are not also a WLANSW Member, you will need to use the registration form to book at the member rate.

MO Mills Oakley Lawyers

Newcastle Chapter Leadership Lunch Series - “Leadership in law in a time of change”
Guest Speaker: Professor Tania Sourdin LLB, BA, LLM, PhD
12.30pm Friday 31st March 2017

Cirque Café & Restaurant, 8 Bolton Street, Newcastle

Tania Sourdin is the Dean of Newcastle Law School and was previously the Director of the Australian Centre for Justice Innovation (ACJI) at Monash University in Melbourne in Australia.

Professor Sourdin has led national research projects and produced important recommendations for justice reform. In the past two decades, she has conducted qualitative and quantitative research projects into aspects of the justice system systems in 12 Courts and Tribunals and six external dispute resolution schemes.

Professor Sourdin is the author of books, articles and papers, and has published and presented widely on a range of topics including justice issues, complaints, vulnerable consumers, mediation, conflict resolution, artificial intelligence, technology and organisational change. She is a Visiting Professor at the University of Sydney and has worked as a senior Tribunal member and as a mediator for more than 25 years. She has trained Judges and others in dispute resolution, case management and ADR (in both Australia and overseas), has developed training programs for government and has also worked as a mediator in relation to a range of programs. Since 2014 she has also been the NBN industry Dispute Resolution Advisor.

FREE Event – Bookings essential to ensure adequate seating upstairs in the private dining room (attendees order & pay for their own lunch on arrival)

Cirque Café & Restaurant produce the best Modern Australian Cuisine in the Newcastle region. Fully licensed & BYO (wine only). Menu available on their Facebook page under ‘About Us’

Click here to download the flyer. Book online or email us with your RSVP


Share your skills and experiences with the next generation of Industry Professionals. The Faculty of Business and Law at the University of Newcastle is currently seeking expressions of interest from Industry Professionals working and residing in Port Macquarie, Greater Taree, Cessnock or Port Stephens regions to participate as a Mentor in the EMPOWER Mentoring Program.

EMPOWER connects female high school students and university students to industry professionals to inspire and inform young women about the study and career opportunities available in Business and Law. By combining Education and Mentoring, the innovative leadership program aims to empower (E + M = Power) the participants to make informed decisions regarding their work futures.

Interested? To express your interest in participating in EMPOWER, please complete the form available at
For more information please contact: Kirrily Anderson I T +61 2 4985 4534 I E
This program is supported by a grant from the Australian Department of Education and Training, under the Higher Education Participation and Partnerships Program

Great Leaders Are Made (GLAM) leadership development programs for women in 2017
Commencing on 15 March in Sydney and on 29 March in Canberra, and continuing in April and May 2017. The aim of this program is to empower participants by developing their leadership skills in preparation for more senior roles. The program is conducted over three months, meeting once a month for a full day. Key leadership skills including communicating with influence; resolving conflict; managing your career; networking; and creating effective, inspiring leaders, form the basis of our program."

On behalf of Avril Henry, this is a personal invitation to Women's Lawyers Association of NSW Inc. and its members, to attend one of our 2017 GLAM Programs. For members who register to pay by invoice and quote Women's Lawyers Association of NSW Inc. at the time they book for the program next to their surname, they will receive a 10% reduction on their first registration fee, representing a saving of $330.


For further information, contact us through our website at or call us on (02) 9818-1892.


3 February - 31 March 2017  
Sydney & Parramatta
The Best Speakers - The Best CPD Content - Anytime, Anywhere

WLANSW members and colleagues up to $100 off for full day conferences and $85 off for half day seminars BOOKING CODE: 173N WLN – use ‘WLN price’. Please click here for the brochure

Experience NIDA's world-renowned training, in an exclusive setting

We write to inform you that NSW Young Lawyers have partnered with the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA Corporate) to host an exclusive Masterclass Series for all lawyers and barristers to help improve their soft skills.

This series is a fantastic opportunity for legal practitioners to learn practical techniques to enhance their leadership style, present with confidence, and improve professional communication in a variety of contexts.

We are pleased to offer a 25% discount on NIDA Corporate’s regular rates for this series.

View the Masterclass Series and register here

Each interactive event is held at NIDA Theatres Playhouse in Kensington, and includes light refreshments.

If you have any questions, or require further information, please do not hesitate to contact the NSW Young Lawyers office via email or phone (02) 9926 0182.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Subsidised Access to Women’s Leadership Events Available

Women & Leadership Australia are currently offering 20 Women Lawyers' Association of New South Wales members the opportunity to attend the 2017 Australian Women’s Leadership Symposium for $400 off the standard rate.

The Symposium provides women a critically important platform to explore leadership, life and career development. They will take place in all capital cities across Australia later this year.

To take advantage of the discount:

  1. Simply go to
  2. Select which city you would like to attend
  3. Click ‘Tickets Available Here’
  4. Enter your First Name, Last Name and Email Address, then click ‘Next’
  5. Enter your Company, Title, Work Phone and type in ‘Women Lawyers' Association of New South Wales’ when answering the question ‘How did you find out about this event?’, then click ‘Next’
  6. Click ‘Finished Adding People’
  7. Enter Discount Code ASC2017 and click ‘Apply’ to get the $400 discount off the standard rate
  8. Complete your Payment Method, tick ‘I agree to the Terms and Conditions’, click ‘Finish’ and then your confirmation will be emailed to you.

Only twenty Symposium seats are available at this rate. For further information about the Symposiums, simply go to

W(h)ither Feminist Legal Theory? A Retrospective
Seminar presented by Susan B. Boyd
Date: 15 March 2017
Time: 12:30pm
Location: Building 67, Room 202 (Moot Court) University of Wollongong

This paper reviews shifts and trends in feminist legal theory since the 1980s and is based on a work in progress. By 1990, the field of feminist legal theory was well established but it also was undergoing numerous challenges. An appreciation of the complexity of women’s inequality and the intersecting nature of oppressions, along with the influence of poststructuralism, prompted the trend away from universalizing theories focused on gender and law or “the state”. Less publication space is now devoted to works exploring more abstract questions about feminist legal theory per se than was true in the 1980s and the 1990s, as grand theories about the sources of, and remedies for, women’s oppression were challenged, fragmented, and sometimes dismantled. That said, the insights of feminist legal theory continue to be relevant, even if less space is devoted to overarching questions such as the roots of inequality. Moreover, feminist legal thought often takes the form of praxis or “applied” theory because it uses theory to critically assess practical areas of activity or law reform. Even as feminists have subjected new fields of law to critical analysis, many topics of long standing interest to feminism continue to sustain interest. This retrospective offers examples from the author’s own work as well as the journal Social & Legal Studies and focuses on themes such as Strategic Engagement, Intersectionality, Women or Gender, and Choice and Constraint. Recent calls for a return to a focus on socialist or materialist feminism and the nature of the state are assessed.

Susan B. Boyd is Professor Emerita at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. She is also a Visiting Professorial Fellow with the Legal Intersections Research Centre at the University of Wollongong.

Do you know someone with children who has recently finalised (or is soon to finalise) their separation?

The Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS) is undertaking a new study into young people’s experiences of separation. AIFS would like to talk to young people aged 10-17 years and a parent about how young people’s needs are being met by family law system services. As a thank you for their participation, young people will be offered a $30 gift voucher and their parent a $20 gift voucher.

If you work with any families that might be interested in participating in this study, please direct them to the study website:

If you would like further information about the study, or would like to be sent some promotional material (poster / postcards), please contact the study team on 1800 720 142 or email

Preview screening of Roadshow Films’ MISS SLOANE

Dendy Newtown on 1 March @ 6.30pm
20 double passes available!

Starring Jessica Chastain, John Lithgow, Alison Pill and Jake Lacy, MISS SLOANE tells the thrilling story of Elizabeth Sloane (Jessica Chastain), the most sought-after and formidable lobbyist in Washington D.C. Known equally for her cunning track record of success, she has always done whatever is required to win. But when she takes on the most powerful opponent of her career, she finds that winning may come at too high a price. Releasing in cinemas across Australia on March 2nd

View the trailer:


Win an in-season double pass to JASPER JONES.

Email with the subject heading ‘Jasper’ Please Include your name and postal address. Only winners will be contacted.

Based on the best-selling novel, JASPER JONES is the story of Charlie Bucktin, a young bookish boy living in a small town. One night, local mixed-race outcast Jasper Jones appears at Charlie’s window and the pair embark on a journey to solve a mystery that will consume the entire community.

JASPER JONES has a fantastic Australian cast of Toni Collette, Hugo Weaving, Levi Miller, Angourie Rice, Aaron McGrath, Kevin Long, Dan Wyllie and Matt Nable. A Madman Entertainment film - releases March 2nd

View the trailer:

Please feel free to pass this email onto colleagues and ensure they are on our email list for future updates and invitations.
For more information contact us:

Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW Inc.
PO Box R1120 Royal Exchange NSW 1225
Ph: 0466 157 087

Copyright © 2017 Women Lawyers' Association of NSW, All rights reserved.

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