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Women outnumber men in the legal profession for the first time – but not in senior ranks

The 2016 National Profile of the Profession in Australia reveals that female solicitors make up 35,799 or 50.1 per cent of the legal profession compared to 35,710 or 49.9 per cent of male lawyers. The Law Society of NSW Chief Executive Officer, Michael Tidball, is quoted as saying "the growth in number of female lawyers emphasised the need for law firms and law societies to increase their efforts and strategies to boost the number of women in leadership positions."

The Law Council is actively working on a number of national initiatives designed to drive cultural change within the legal profession, support the progression and retention of women barristers and address the significant pay gap and under representation of women in the superior courts. The Law Council launched its landmark national training program customised for the legal profession to help counter unconscious bias earlier this year after working closely with diversity and inclusion specialists, Symmetra.

Training is available via face-to-face workshops, train-the-trainer modules, and the online e-learning training course is available for members of the judiciary, corporate lawyers, government lawyers and non-lawyers to undertake. To participate in the online training please visit www.diversityinlaw.com.au. The Law Council of Australia’s landmark National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy is also available for adoption online by any briefing entity in addition to clients of briefing entities operating in Australia. If you would like to sign up, you can adopt the Policy online.

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