Women's Rights: Making sense of the law seminar 

Maintaining good mental health and wellbeing 

The legal profession can often be a stressful one. This only amplifies the need to promote good mental health through proper practices and procedures.

The Australian Financial Review recently noted the encouraging trend of law firms signing up to the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation's guidelines to tackle depression.

"The guidelines are just good business – it makes people more efficient and productive, there's greater innovation, your insurance premiums go down, there's less turnover of staff," said Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation co-founder Marie Jepson.

As part of Law Week 2015, on 13 May 2015, John Poulsen, Managing Partner of Squire Patton Boggs, presented a Mental Health and Wellbeing Seminar on his firm's implementation of the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation Best Practice Guidelines. Attendees heard about his approach to building and maintaining a sustainable, mentally healthy, resilient and successful legal practice. 

See following presentations from the seminar:

  • Powerpoint Slides - Feminine Protection: Restraining Orders and Immigration by Janette McCaho, Civil Law Division, Legal Aid;
  • Powerpoint slides- Employment Law Maternity Leave and Return to Work by Josephine Hart, Solicitor, Kott Gunning 
  • Seminar Presentation Paper -  Employment Law Maternity Leave and Return to Work by Josephine Hart, Solicitor, Kott Gunning

For more information see flyer.

Start Change in the Profession!

Women lawyers are generally concerned about the opportunities to advance in their careers. Recent studies in both WA and Australia-wide have shown that succeeding in the law is more difficult for women than men, and that women face unique challenges, leading to a high attrition rates and loss of talent and expertise from the profession.  These problems and the reasons behind them were highlighted recently in WLWA's Survey of the Legal Profession (discussed further on our Projects page) and the Law Council of Australia's National Report on Attrition and Re-engagement.

WLWA encourages women lawyers and the wider profession to start taking affirmative action to improve the experience of practicing law for women and overall diversity within the profession. Changes in this regard will not only benefit women, but the profession and community more broadly.

This page aims to provide you with some tools to support your career and kick-start critical change in the profession.  We welcome your input and identification of other helpful resources for inclusion on this page. Please Contact Us.


Flexibility Guide 

Flexibility Protocol Guide for Flexible Workplace Arrangements

With a view to producing successful flexible workplace arrangements, the Joint Law Society/Women Lawyers of WA Committee investigated current flexible workplace arrangements in law practices in Western Australia and practical problems associated with them. Guides and protocols available in other jurisdictions were also examined.

The Committee ascertained that Victorian Women Lawyers (VWL) had conducted research and published a report, "Do You Manage? A guide to managing lawyers with flexible workarrangements", which found that flexible workplace arrangements could be successful, or more successful, if adequately supported by the practitioner's partner or manager and the preparation of an individual workplace plan taking into account the practitioner's personal situation and the law practice's relevant factors and circumstances.

Annexed to the Report were:

  1. Flexible Work Proposal/ Business Case: the aim of which "is to prepare partners, the lawyer and the team for the flexible work arrangement. It should be used to encourage and ensure that any potential issues (whether perceived or real) are aired and discussed before the arrangement is in place."

The matters listed in the Flexible Work Proposal/Business Case are: Current work/hours – billable/non-billable; Current team; Current clients; Proposed changes to hours/location; Proposed type of work – billable; Proposed non-billable activities; Proposed team; Proposed clients; Proposed technology, pay and bonus entitlements; Check of key issues.

  1. Individual Flexible Work Plan: which covers Key dates; Core work restraints; Work flow utilisation; Billable work and clients; Non-billable work; Team; Procedures for days in the office (Communication, Unfinished work, Meetings, Supervision and review of work); Procedures for days out of the office (Communication, Phone, Outlook – email and calendar, Current matters, New matters, Urgent issues, Team communication and supervision), Extra hours, Business development, Professional Development, Other firm events).

With the approval of Victorian Women Lawyers the Flexible Work Proposal/ Business Case and the Individual Flexible Work Plan have been adopted by the Law Society of Western Australia and WLWA as a Flexibility Protocol for Flexible Workplace Arrangements.

It is acknowledged that the Flexibility Protocol may not be suitable for every law practice. However, members and their employers are encouraged to follow this very useful tool whenever applicable.

The Guide is available HERE.


Being Board Ready: A Guide for Women

Many women have never considered board membership or don't know how to get started. Some women have limited experience on boards and might benefit from assessing and developing their skills to allow them to take the next step.

The Department of Local Government and Communities would like to see more women on boards, and have produced a guide to assist to achieve this goal.

The publication 'Being Board Ready: A Guide for Women' can help women to prepare for a position on a board, whether or not they have any previous experience.

We encourage you to consider yourself, or any women you feel may be suitable for a board role, now, or in the future and forward the publication to them, via the links below. We also encourage you to circulate this across your broader networks to strengthen the pool of board-ready women.

The publication is also available for viewing and download from the Department of Local Government and Communities website.

We encourage you to think about and support increasing the opportunities for women to achieve board appointments.


It starts with us - The Leadership Shadow

In April 2010, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick was instrumental in bringing together some of Australia's most influential and diverse male CEOs and Chairpersons to form the Male Champions of Change group. The group aims to use their individual and collective influence and commitment to ensure the issue of women's representation in leadership is elevated on the national business agenda.

The Male Champions of Change have partnered with Chief Executive Women to launch a free and simple management model, called 'The Leadership Shadow', which will help leaders everywhere to listen, learn and lead by understanding the impact of their personal actions.

The Leadership Shadow model will guide leaders who want their every action – their Leadership Shadow - to send the right signal around gender diversity.

The Leadership Shadow Implementation Guide is also available to download from the AHRC's website.

Click HERE to view the Guide and further background information on the report.


Maximising your potential for employment and promotion

On 29 May 2013, Chris Bates of Human Resources Consultancy, Interpeople presented a seminar for our members on "Maximising your potential for employment and promotion". In that seminar, he covered the current employment market and what you can do to succeed in it. The Presentation covers practical advice on how to get the most from your next salary and performance review and improve your employment prospects.

If you are a member, you can log on to this website and download his presentation HERE.


TJMF Psychological Wellbeing Guidelines

WLWA is proud to become a signatory to the Tristan Jepson Memorial Foundation's Psychological Wellbeing: Best Practice Guidelines for the Legal Profession.

The Guidelines are intended to support the profession in raising awareness of mental health issues and understanding the initiatives and methods of management that assist in the creation and maintenance of psychologically healthy and supportive workplaces.

Full information and a copy of the Guidelines is available on the Tristan Jepson Foundation's Website.

WLWA congratulates and supports the Foundation in its important work.

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