The peak body representing women lawyers in NSW for the advancement of women in the legal profession.

Women Lawyers Association of NSW

19 December 2008    

Dear Members & Colleagues

Proudly sponsored by TressCox Lawyers, the Launch of our Corporate Lunch Series on 8 December was a wonderful success, with about 120 attendees. Our guest speaker, the Honourable Michael McHugh AC QC was eloquent and informative in sharing his experiences on mediation, which he said was not only a subject of interest but of prime importance in today’s society. The Honourable Michael McHugh also noted the lack of statistics and information in relation to female mediators in Australia, suggesting perhaps that there was an opportunity for a Women’s Mediation Association in this growing area of practice. Please click here to view the speech Mediation, Its Nature and Advantages.

The lunch also provided an opportunity to announce our new Principal Sponsor, the Law Society of NSW, and Platinum Sponsor, Diamond Financial Solutions, of which Melissa Gilbert is principal. Diamond Financial Solutions provide personalised, professional services in financial planning, superannuation and personal insurance, and mortgage broking. Please visit for further information. We welcome the continued support of the Law Society of NSW, and look forward to developing relationships with the Law Society of NSW and Diamond Financial Solutions over the next year that will bring our members additional value.

Following our AGM on 27 November I am delighted to announce our new Committee as noted on our website and present my President’s Report in reviewing the past year and handing over to Mary Snell as President. I am pleased to continue serving on the Committee as the Immediate Past President and Representative and Treasurer on the Board of Australian Women Lawyers.

It is with much excitement that WLA NSW congratulates the Honourable Justice Virginia Bell on her appointment to the High Court of Australia. It is hard to think of a more uplifting end to the year for women lawyers in NSW than the news of Justice Bell's appointment.

There are a number of issues and projects we have been working on, including the Productivity Commission's current Paid Maternity, Paternity and Parental Leave Inquiry as noted below, together with some major events and announcements.

On behalf of the Committee we wish you and yours a happy and safe holiday season and look forward to seeing you in 2009. Please note that our office will be closed from 23rd December until 5th January.

Best wishes,

Lee-May Saw
Immediate Past President & AWL NSW Representative and Treasurer

Appointment of the Honourable Justice Virginia Bell to the High Court of Australia

Justice Virginia Bell has long been an inspiration to women in the legal profession and her appointment to the High Court is welcomed by the Women Lawyers' Association of NSW.  She will bring to the Court the wealth of experience she has gained over her years of experience first as a solicitor working with the Redfern Legal Centre, then as a barrister and Justice of the Supreme Court of NSW. Justice Bell's particular experience in the criminal law will be a welcome addition to the High Court.

The appointment of a third woman to the current bench of the High Court, and only the fourth woman in the history of the High Court, reflects the growing esteem in which women lawyers are held throughout all branches of the profession. We are witnessing a monumental time in the history of the High Court and the legal profession for women. Three out of seven or 40% of judges on the High Court bench will soon be women. WLA NSW is extremely pleased to see that the appointments to the High Court in the last three years have resulted in the achievement of an acceptable critical mass of women on the High Court bench. The announcement of Justice Bell's appointment is an immensely uplifting occasion for women in the profession.

Justice Bell's farewell ceremony from the Supreme Court of New South Wales was held at 9:15am on Friday, 19 December 2008, at Banco Court. Her swearing in ceremony is being held on Tuesday, 3 February 2009, in Canberra.

Women Lawyers Express Disappointment at Calls to Shelve Parental Leave Scheme
Click here for: PR Release, AWL Paid Maternity Leave Submission; AWL Paid Maternity Leave Further Submission; Letter to Malcolm Turnbull; Letter to Kevin Rudd.

At 6:00pm-8:00pm on Friday, 20 February 2009, at the Law Society Building, 170 Phillip St. Sydney, Australian Women Lawyers and WLA NSW will be co-hosting a Cocktail Party to celebrate the handover of the AWL Patronage from the Honourable Mary Gaudron QC to the Honourable Chief Justice Diana Bryant of the Family Court of Australia.
Other honoured guests and speakers for the evening will include WLA NSW Patron, the Honourable Justice Jane Mathews AO of the Supreme Court of NSW, and Georgia McMaster, President of Australian Women Lawyers. Please mark this date in your diaries, further information and registration details will be available in the New Year:

Corporate Lunch Series 2009: Monday 23rd February
Lucinda Chan, Head of Macquarie Bank Financial Services will lead off our series next year speaking on “Financial Crisis: Fact or Fiction”, proudly sponsored by TressCox Lawyers.
Please mark your diaries – further details shortly.


National Council of Women “Celebrate Being an Australian” Luncheon 21st January 2009 in the Strangers’ Dining Room, Parliament House Macquarie Street, Sydney. During the Luncheon the NCWNSW Australia Day Awards will be presented to a number of tertiary students to assist them in gaining higher qualifications. Click here for details and registration DOC OR PDF $70PP RSVP 12 January 2009.

Applications for The Justice Peter Hely Scholarship are now open. The Scholarship was established by the Law School through contributions from the friends and colleagues of the late Justice Peter Hely to promote postgraduate study in the fields of commercial law and equity.

The scholarship is open to final year law students, Law graduands and graduates of the University of Sydney, to enable them to undertake a postgraduate degree in the fields of commercial law and equity, either by research or coursework, at the University of Sydney or any other appropriate university.

The value of the scholarship will be $14,000. Applications are now open and will close on Wednesday, 18 February 2009. Download an application form from the Law School website Or contact Peter Finneran at the Sydney Law School for an application form and conditions of award.

Please feel free to pass this email onto colleagues and ensure they are on our email list for future updates and invitations.

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Women Lawyers Association of New South Wales Inc.
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