21 Dec President’s Report – December 2018
As 2018 draws to a close, on behalf of the Committee of the Women Lawyers Association of SA, I would like to extend my sincere thanks to all of our members and the many others across the profession who have continued to support the important work of the Association this year.
2018 has been an incredibly busy and successful year for the Association and much has been achieved.
In June we held our annual Margaret Nyland long lunch at the Wine Centre. We were fortunate to have SACAT President Justice Judith Hughes as this year’s guest speaker. She delivered a thought provoking address on the issue of unconscious bias with a particular focus on age discrimination.
We held CPD events on the topics of ‘Going to the Bar’ and ‘Leveraging Board Careers’. In September we held an incredibly successful CPD and networking event with the Law Society of South Australia addressing the issue of equitable briefing. We also partnered with PKF Accountants to deliver two sold out tax and superannuation seminars to our members.
In terms of campaigning for women in the community, the Committee’s major campaigning efforts have focussed on supporting the decriminalisation of sex work legislation and we also played a significant role in the extensive campaign that has seen the establishment of a mothers and infants facility in the Adelaide Women’s Prison – a huge win for women and children of South Australia. We have also maintained a strong voice against sexual harassment in the profession. This will continue to be a key focus for the Committee in 2019.
We rounded out the year with one of the Association’s favourite events on the annual calendar, the Drinks with the Judiciary. This event continues to go from strength to strength with over 150 people attending this year! A number of photos from the event (along with many of our other events) can be found on our facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/pg/WomenLawyersAssociationofSA/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1915512218496233.
Thanks to a number of incredibly generous donors (La Bomba Productions, Hilton Adelaide, Polo in the City, Camille McDonald, Love Earth Products, Lush Cosmetics Australia, Le Cordon Bleu Australia and Lipman Karas Lawyers) and some very hard working raffle ticket sellers we raised over $1,000 for our chosen charity for 2018/2018, Hagar Australia.
It is a little known fact that there are more people in slavery today that at any other time in history and Hagar is committed to playing a leading role in bringing slavery to an end by helping communities to heal and thrive after the trauma of trafficking, slavery and abuse.
Hagar was founded in 1994 in response to the prevalence of extreme domestic and community violence affecting women and children in post civil war Cambodia. In 2008 Hagar began operations in Afghanistan, supporting women and children facing the worst forms of gender based violence and human trafficking. The following year Hagar established an office in Vietnam to care for women affected by the growing magnitude of exploitation and abuse.
Hagar has now become an internationally renowned leader in recovery services for survivors of these atrocities. Their focus is very much on supporting people who have experienced slavery and human trafficking through the protection, transformation and reintegration stages of their recovery. Each client has a dedicated case worker and we hope that the funds raised at the raffle will go some way to assist the employment of a further case worker.
I encourage you to visit Hagar’s website at www.hagar.org.au to learn more about this marvellous organisation and the important work that they do.
Another key focus for the Committee going forward will be on celebrating and recognising the achievements of women in our profession. As part of this initiative we have established the Dr Robyn Layton AO QC Award which will be awarded each calendar year to a female practitioner in South Australia who, like Dr Layton AO QC has made an outstanding contribution to her field. We were thrilled that Dr Layton was able to present the first ever award at the Drinks with the Judiciary function to the very worthy inaugural winner Trish Johnson, Senior Solicitor, Legal Services Commission.
Trish is considered the pre-eminent South Australian lawyer acting for clients in Part 8A Criminal Law Consolidation Act 1935 (SA) (mental incompetence) matters before the criminal courts. She has contributed her expertise in this area for almost 30 years to the clients of the Legal Services Commission. It is fair to say that Trish’s service to the Legal Services Commission, its clients and the profession goes well beyond her day to day duties as a criminal lawyer. In her capacity as an after hours on-call lawyer, Trish is often called upon by Disability SA to provide advice or representation to their clients who have been arrested and does this work on a voluntary basis. In addition to her practice, Trish uses her deep understanding of the law to provide the Government with information and submissions on proposed law reform in the area of mental incompetence. Thank you for your contribution to our profession and for your ongoing dedication to some of the State’s most vulnerable people facing the criminal justice system, Trish. A very worthy winner indeed!
There is no doubt that 2018 has been a dynamic year for the Association and whilst so much has already been achieved, there is still so much more to do. We look forward, with great enthusiasm, to 2019 as we continue to work to promote justice and equality for all women and improving the career prospects for women within the legal profession. The Committee’s annual Strategy Day will be held on Saturday, 2 February 2019. Following the Strategy Day we look forward to sharing with you the initiatives we intend to implement in 2019. We would love to hear from you as to any ideas or initiatives you would like to see the Committee working on. Please forward your suggestions you may have to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the meantime, we wish you and your families a restful, safe and enjoyable holiday season. See you in 2019!