Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity and Inclusion

A A A

The Australian legal profession is committed to promoting diversity, equality, respect and inclusion consistent with the principles of justice, integrity, equity and the pursuit of excellence upon which the profession is founded.

We recognise that diversity benefits the legal profession and the community as a whole.

Accordingly, the Australian legal profession and its members:

  • treat all people with respect and dignity regardless of sex, sexuality, disability, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or other arbitrary feature
  • create and foster equality through a supportive and understanding environment for all individuals to realise their maximum potential regardless of difference
  • promote and support a strong and fair legal profession comprising, accommodating, encouraging and respecting a diverse range of individuals and views

Policy Position

Law Council Diversity and Equality Charter
Equality in Practice Management

Equality in Practice Management

A A A

The Law Society of Western Australia encourages equality in practice management. Law firms and practitioners have a responsibility to ensure equality is a reality at all levels within the legal profession.

In 2015, the Committee for Perth launched its report Filling the Pool: achieving gender equality is everyone’s responsibility. The research outlined in the report refers to a ‘perfect storm’ in Western Australia of complex business, personal and cultural factors that exacerbate the largest gender pay gap in the country and the least number of women in executive and board roles.

Many of the findings in the report are relatable to the legal profession. Indeed, many of these themes were echoed in Deidre Willmott’s speech at our 2015 Law Week Breakfast Launch.

Critically, the Filling the Pool report provides 31 interrelated recommendations – four for government, 18 for organisations and their leaders and nine for women. Many of the organisational recommendations align well with the work that the Law Society is doing in Western Australia, and as part of the Law Council of Australia in retaining women in and increasing their proportion as the leaders of the legal profession.

Gender Diversity

Gender Diversity

A A A

The Law Society of Western Australia promotes gender diversity, equality, respect and inclusion. We work to retain women in the legal profession and to increase the proportion of female leaders within the profession.

To ensure that the important issue of gender diversity continues to be tackled at the national level as well as in Western Australia, we work with the Law Council of Australia.

In September 2010, the Law Society resolved to adopt the Law Council of Australia ‘Equitable Briefing Policy for Female Barristers and Advocates’. The Law Society’s ‘Equality of Opportunity Model Briefing Policy’ is supplementary to the Law Council policy on matters that are not gender-based.

Flexible Work Protocols

The Law Society is committed to encouraging successful flexible workplace protocols amongst law practices.

In 2011, with the approval of Victorian Women Lawyers (VWL), the Law Society had adopted the VWL’s Flexible Work Proposal/Business Case and Individual Flexible Work Plan as the Law Society’s Flexible Work Protocols.

On 22 September 2015 the Law Society of Western Australia resolved to adopt the VWL’s 2015 Flexible Work Protocols: A best practice guide for productive and engaged legal workplaces (2015 Flexible Work Protocols).

The VWL’s 2015 Flexible Work Protocols was launched on 13 April 2015. In a media release, Ms Kirsten Adams, VWL Convenor, said the most recent impetus for the development of the 2015 Flexible Work Protocols was the 2014 report of the Law Council of Australia’s National Attrition and Re-engagement Study which examined the experience of about 4,000 women lawyers nationally.

The Law Society acknowledges the outstanding work of the VWL in the preparation of the 2015 Flexible Work Protocols and thanks the VWL for permission to adopt them as the Law Society’s Flexible Work Protocols.

It is acknowledged by the Law Society that the 2015 Flexible Work Protocols may not be suitable for every law practice. However, members are encouraged to either follow or adapt this very useful tool, as applicable.

Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity

A A A

The Law Society of Western Australia is committed to encouraging the legal profession and its members to treat all people with respect and dignity regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or culture.

We recognise and embrace the multicultural character of Australia, which makes our nation such a vibrant and dynamic place to live and work.

The Law Society promotes cultural diversity, including respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We acknowledge the unique position of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the First Peoples of Australia, holding a special place in Australia’s history.

The Law Society’s  Reconciliation Action Plan outlines the actions the Society will undertake to achieve its vision of a profession where Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander law students, graduates and practitioners feel valued and respected.

LGBTIQ Equality

LGBTIQ Equality

A A A

The Law Society of Western Australia is committed to ensuring the legal profession and its members treat all people with respect and dignity regardless of sex or sexuality. We believe equality for LGBTIQ people is fundamental to a free and inclusive community.

LGBTIQ equality is important to the legal community not only from a moral and ethical standpoint but also because diversity and inclusion are highly beneficial within the workplace. Diversity and inclusion arguably help to drive innovation and boost productivity.

The Law Society is keen to create and foster equality through a supportive and understanding environment for all individuals to realise their potential regardless of difference. We seek to promote and support a strong and fair legal profession comprising, accommodating, encouraging and respecting a diverse range of individuals and views.