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Join Women Lawyers of Western Australia at our first ever Speed Introductions Event for an informative networking evening connecting private practice lawyers with female barristers.

The aim of this networking event is to raise the number of women barristers that are briefed to narrow the gender gap at the bar. One of Australia's most senior female barristers, Fiona McLeod, SC, said the bar was among the worst professions for unequal pay, due in part to the lack of opportunities for women to work on more expensive cases, despite their experience.

Ms McLeod said that the same pool of barristers may be being briefed out of "habit", while unconscious bias also played a role. WLWA wants to help promote the talent of women barristers in Perth by providing a platform for them to talk to private practice lawyers about their skills, experience, expertise and interests.

Members are ask to come prepared with your business card, elevator pitch and ready to make some great connections. 

Be a part of the cultural shift that encourages participants to seek out women barristers appropriate for the relevant matter.

The event will take place on Thursday 29 September 2016, 5.30pm to 7.30pm in the Foyer of old Supreme Court of Western Australia. 

The event is FREE for female barristers and private practice lawyers. Drinks and canapes will be served.

Register here Speed Introductions Event.

Please help us spread the word by sharing the flyer with your friends & colleagues.

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Drop everything for this exciting joint WLWA/UNDA seminar series in Fremantle on Saturday 8 October 2016 from 9am to 4:15pm. Opportunities abound to network at the event and afterwards.

With the national gender pay gap for the legal sector hoovering around the 30-35% mark and clients wanting even more value for money, WLWA wants you to join us and explore ways to more efficiently manage your practice and get ahead.

Open the flyer to see the full programme details, the registration form and more.

Register today by completing the registration form and emailing it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

WLWA is delighted to announce the Hon. Justice Lindy Jenkins will be the keynote speaker (Ethical dilemmas for women in the law).

We are also privileged to have Karen Farley SC, Theresa Farmer (Women Lawyer of the Year), Elizabeth Needham, Marie Stokes, Catriona Macleod, Kate McNally, Julianna Shearn, Maria Fifield, Charmaine Tsang, Charmaine Holyoak-Roberts joining us as panellists.

Meet leading Registrars from the superior courts who will share their tips with you - the Registrars of the Supreme Court (recently appointed Principal Registrar Larissa Strk), the District Court (Principal Registrar Shane Melville) and the Family Court of WA (Registrar Leonie Forrest).

With up to 5.5 CPD points on offer, register for these very reasonable prices:

WLWA member:    $270 All Day      $170 Morning Session     $140 Afternoon Session
Non-member:       $400 All Day      $250 Morning Session     $200 Afternoon Session

Morning & afternoon tea and drinks & nibbles at the end are included.

We encourage you to register by completing the registration form in the flyer and emailing it toThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

AWL Conference 2016

The Australian Women Lawyers National Conference (AWL 2016) is being hosted, for the first time, in Perth from 8-10 April 2016 at the Crown Perth complex. 

AWL 2016 brings together female practitioners, leaders and senior professionals from across the Australian legal sector to form new relationships, discuss ideas and learn from industry leaders. A signature event on the calendar of the Australian legal profession – the Conference will see managing partners, senior counsel, barristers, academics, in house counsel, public sector practitioners and female judicial officers in one place at one time.

The conference program includes a formal Welcome Reception at the Federal Court judges' balcony, overlooking the iconic Swan River and a premier Gala Dinner.

Some of the speakers include:

    • Jennifer Batrouney QC is the President of the Tax Bar Association
    • Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Minister for Women and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service
    • Professor Rosalind Croucher, President Australian Law Reform Commission
    • The Honourable Justice Antony Siopis, Federal Court of Australia
    • Caroline Kirton QC, Chair of the Law Council’s Equal Opportunity Committee
    • Leah Marrone, President, Women Lawyers’ Association of South Australia
    • The Hon. Justice Carmel McLure, President of the Court of Appeal of the Supreme Court of Western Australia
    • Fiona McLeod, Senior Counsel at the Victorian Bar
    • The Hon. Michael Mischin MLC, Attorney General; Minister for Commerce
    • Jane Needham SC, NSW Bar
    • Pia Turcinov, GAICD Innovation Strategist, Business Facilitator and Company Director
    • Elspeth Hensler, Barrister, Francis Burt Chambers and President Australian Women Lawyers

For further information on AWL 2016, including how to register (and claim up to 6 CPD points for the next CPD year), topics and list of speakers please log onto the conference website here




wlwa photograph

On 14 October 2015, Western Australian women lawyers answered Women Lawyers of Western Australia's call, coming together on the back steps of the Federal Court to recreate the 1999 Women in the Legal Profession Group Photograph.

It was a fantastic, and inspiring, event. WLWA invites you to order A3 sized copies of the final beautiful photograph here.

The photograph shown above is not the one on sale. The final photograph is a very professional shot with the women looking at the camera.

Photographs will be printed by Arts Edge, specialists in quality printing and framing, on A3 fine art centurion silk paper, specifically designed to ensure high quality colour and containing archival characteristics. 

In the week commencing 4 April 2016, ordered unframed photographs will be mailed in protective A3 Australia Post tubing to the person and address entered on the order form.

Should you wish to have your photograph professionally framed, you can take your photograph to Arts Edge, who will give you a 15% discount on framing.

Non-members price:   $55.00 per photograph

Members price:          $40.00 per photograph

To order more than one copy, use the Register a Group button.

Members must login to see, and order at, the special member price.

To become a WLWA member, or renew a lapsed membership, click here.

If you need help logging inhere, call Susan Diamond on 0417 098 902 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The 2015 Women in the Legal Profession Group Photograph, arranged by WLWA, was sponsored by

                                clydeandco                        The College of Law logo                      LSWA Logo

Invitation to Share Your Views about Complainants’ Evidence

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has commissioned a research project about the experience of relevant people in relation to mechanisms for complainants to give evidence in child and adult sexual abuse cases. 

This research aims to gain an understanding from professionals at various stages of the judicial process how the method adopted to give evidence affects the outcome of the trial and the experience of the complainant.

To participate, you need to be a legal practitioner with experience in child sexual abuse cases.  This experience needs to have been within the last five years.

To participate, please click on the link below and complete the brief online survey. Participation is anonymous and confidential, and takes about 20 minutes.





Over the last few days the Western Australian community has been rallying around to help all those affected by the South West fires.  

Legal Aid WA, in partnership with community legal centres in Bunbury and Peel, is coordinating free legal advice for people affected by the bushfires in the South West region.

Legal issues which may arise include insurance matters, property law, credit and debt, fencing, renting, family law and employment law.

If you would like to offer pro bono assistance in these and other areas, please email the following information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call Isabel Gonsalves on 9261 6243 or Justin Stevenson on 9261 6429:

  • your name
  • other contact person such as your secretary or office manager
  • telephone number(s)
  • firm name
  • area of practice/law in which you can provide assistance
  • any other comments such as your availability
  • Legal Aid WA will obtain initial client information and details about the issue, then match the person with a pro bono legal practitioner. Legal Aid WA will then contact a proposed practitioner before making the referral, to ensure availability, suitability and to enquire as to any potential conflicts of interest.

Practitioners who had earlier expressed a desire to provide assistance following the Esperance and Salmon Gums fires, will be contacted by Legal Aid WA to confirm whether they are still able to provide assistance to people in the South West.

For more information please visit the Legal Aid Website.

Thank you to all those that attended the Women Lawyers of Western Australia AGM last night at King Wood & Mallesons.

The AGM followed the very well attended CPD Networking 101 Seminar by Cathryn Urquhart. You can read more about Cathryn's networking tips here and view the powerpoint slides here.

CPD Networking seminar

Congratulations to the elected Executive comprising:

President: Anne Wood

Vice President: Wendy Gillan

Treasurer: Susan Diamond

Secretary: Elmi Carlean

Elected Committee Members:

Frieda Orr

Jessica Stokes

Nicola Ashford

Charmaine Holyoak - Roberts

Nikita Barsby

Cinzia Donald

For all others that were interested in joining the committee please note that a further six members can be voted in as co-opted members of the committee following the first WLWA planning meeting.

There are also opportunities to join one of the six working groups listed below. Joining a working group is a great way to become involved and meet members of the committee and improve your chances of being elected to the committee in the following year.

  1. Gender Bias Taskforce Implementation Committee
  2. Law Reform (Women's Rights) & Social Justice
  3. Communications & Newsletter
  4. Education & CPD
  5. Social & Networking
  6. Women in the Legal Profession

If you are interested in joining the committee as a co-opted member or volunteering for a working group please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For members that were unable to attend the AGM please see attached the AGM notice and Agenda which contained a proposal to change clause 3.3(a) of the Constitution.

By changing clause 3.3(a) to replace "women" with "people", it allows men who support the objectives of the Association to become members. The concept behind the change follows the movement of the community to accepting people in positions of power and leadership, which are mostly men, to advocate for gender equality. For example, the male champions of change and CEO's for gender equity. Such a change will allow supportive men to help advocate for gender equality and publicly show support for the objectives of the Association. There has been concern raised about the effect of such a change. In addressing this, it is important to note that Associate members DO NOT have voting rights. However, they can be co-opted to the committee. If Members are supportive of having men join the Association they may want to consider amending the clause further to include a limitation on the number of Associate members that may be co-opted, such as a maximum of 2. WLWA are still consulting about the effect of a change and placing some limitations on that change. The committee has resolved not to proceed with the proposal to change that clause at the AGM at this time and have referred it to be discussed at a later date.  

WLWA would also like to take this opportunity to thank the outgoing President Tina McAulay for all her hard work on the committee over the last six years. Her enthuisiasm and experience will be missed on the committee. You can read the President's Report here. You can also read the Treasurer's report here.

 Tina McAulay

Australian Women Lawyers (AWL) are holding their AGM at 10:30am on 31 October 2015 in Brisbane. Details are in the attached notice. You can vote by proxy. Please complete the attached proxy forms and email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by Wednesday. Our very own Elspeth Hensler, past WLWA President and current Vice President of AWL is running for President of AWL so get voting!

Finally thank you to all our members and friends for your support of WLWA over the past year. It has been a busy and productive year topped off with the fabulous women in the profession group photograph!  We hope to continue to deliver practical and fun membership benefits to you in 2016 and welcome any feedback or suggestions you have for CPD and social events. Please email all your ideas to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 




WLWA encourages members and friends to register for our next CPD Event "Networking 101". Presenter Cathryn Urquhart will focus on the "live networking experience such as client functions and industry seminars and give attendees great tips and positive ideas on creating a positive first impression and working on confidence.

Cathryn is an experienced lawyer and professional skills trainer who has worked in commercial firms and as an in-house lawyer so has seen both side of the BD experience.

The function will take place on Monday 26 October 2015 at King & Wood Mallesons, level 30 St georges Terrace. Cost is $45 (WLWA members) and $50 (non-members). Attendees will gain 1 CPD Point in Practice Management. Click here to see the event flyer and please circulate to your networks.

Register online

This session runs from 4.14pm to 5.15pm and the WLWA AGM is on immediately after at 5.30pm. You are encouraged to stay for the AGM and drinks that follow and practice your networking.

Register for the WLWA AGM here


Chief Justice

The West Australian published an article by Sonia Kohlbacher on Wednesday 23 September 2015 about the tragically low number of female appointments to the Judiciary in WA.

Chief Justice Martin said his court had the lowest percentage of women judges of any court at any level across Australia, and that the number of women among its judges was decreasing.

“We’re heading in the wrong direction,” he said.

Chief Justice Martin said of the 14 judges appointed to the court between 1995 and 2005, four were women, but only one woman was among the 18 judges appointed since 2005.

“Given that the number of women law graduates has ­increased, and that women have been in the profession longer and longer, you might have thought the trend would be heading in the other direction, but it’s not,” he said.

“In the ­Supreme Court of Western Australia we have 14 per cent of judges who are women. That is the lowest percentage of any court — supreme, district, magistrate, federal, family — in the country. Tragically, the Supreme Court of Western Australia is not matching the gender characteristics of either the profession or those engaged in dispute resolution.”

Chief Justice Martin said the same trend was “unfortunately” playing out in the District Court where in 2005, he said, 32 per cent of judges were women, compared with a current 25 per cent.

Kohlbacher reported that the Chief Justice based his remarks, made in an address to a legal dispute resolution conference in Perth last Friday, on the most recent figures from the Australasian ­Institute of Judicial Administration and his own research.

WA Attorney-General ­Michael Mischin said that since assuming the role in 2012 he had appointed four judges to the District Court, two of whom were women, and five judges to the Supreme Court, all of whom were men. He had also appointed three magistrates, including one woman.

Mr Mischin said judicial ­appointments were based on merit and should not be filled ­according to “non-professional con­siderations”, including gender or ethnicity.

Women Lawyers of Western Australia president Tina McAulay was also reported in the West Australian article and said the lack of women in senior positions demonstrated an inequality at the highest level of law. “The issue of the high rate of attrition of women in the legal profession and lack of promotion of women into senior positions in the law is not being adequately dealt with,” she said.

Ms McAuley said Mr Mischin’s response to concerns about the lack of women judges and flexible working conditions, which her group had recently raised with him, would remain confidential.

WA Law Society president Elizabeth Needham said unconscious bias towards women, and family commitments that prevented them networking or applying for roles that involved travel were among the reasons so few women were ­appointed to judiciary positions.

Click here to read the article online.

Worldbank9781464806773 pdf


WLWA encourages its members to read the recently released World Bank report, Women, business and the law 2016.

Download the report here.

This report measures legal and regulatory barriers to women’s entrepreneurship and employment in 173 economies. It provides quantitative measures of laws and regulations that affect women’s economic opportunities in seven areas: accessing institutions, using property, getting a job, providing incentives to work, going to court, building credit and protecting women from violence.

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