Why women leave the legal profession and do not re-engage is an important issue for the national profession and one which has been a priority for the Law Council of Australia.
In 2013 the Law Council conducted the National Attrition and Re-engagement Study (NARS) research to obtain quantitative data and confirm trends in progression, attrition and re-engagement rates of female lawyers. The research also examined the qualitative reasons behind these trends.
The survey was released in every Australian state and territory and surveyed both men and women who are current practising lawyers; lawyers who have never practised; and lawyers who are no longer practising.
Following the collation and analysis of the data, a Report has now been produced, including recommendations for legal associations and law practices, outlining practical measures which can be implemented to address the causes of high attrition rates among women lawyers, and to re-engage women lawyers who have left the profession. These recommendations encompass strategies targeted at different cohorts of women lawyers, including:
- women working in small, medium and large law firms;
- women in early, mid and later stages of their career as a legal practitioner;
- former, current and aspiring women barristers;
- and women who have left private practice (to encourage re-engagement with the legal profession)