Dear members and colleagues
We were saddened to hear of the passing of Janet in the early hours of this morning, Saturday 24 September 2022, aged 90. Janet was a Founding and Life Member of our Association, and actively involved, including on the Executive Committee, until recently. She is featured in many of our photo galleries (above in February 2021 at our launch event with some of the Executive). She was a trailblazer who shared some of her amazing and quite entertaining experiences and stories. Janet will be missed, and her contributions to women and law well remembered.

Janet Coombs was called to the New South Wales Bar on Friday, 13 March 1959, the eighth woman to be admitted. In 1997, she was made a member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM). Until her retirement in 1998, she had the longest-running practice of any woman at the NSW Bar. She was made an honorary life member of the Bar Association in 1998. During the 1970s, she was co-trustee of a room in Frederick Jordan Chambers, which was made available on a subsidised rent for a year to a woman beginning practice at the Bar. A portrait of Janet (“One of the Girls”) hangs in the Bar Common Room. In 2009, Janet was interviewed for the Bar Association’s oral history program, Pioneering Women 1921-1975.

We have hosted a biannual luncheon with the Women Barristers Forum for many years to continue her tradition of welcoming new female barristers to the Bar. Please click here for further details on Janet’s career and brief biography from the NSW Bar Association.

We will advise details of the funeral when available, and a celebratory event that we were planning for her in December, which may now be rescheduled.


Networking Drinks, Sydney CBD September

Thursday is the new Friday is a monthly networking drinks function for women lawyers to attend and network! The event will be at a different venue each month to allow us to explore Sydney’s CBD while we connect and chat about all things law and life.

This month’s venue The Rook Rooftop Bar and Restaurant Sydney, is home to killer cocktails, top notch bar food and stunning city views.  Located at Level 7, 56-58 York St, it’s a 3 minute walk from Queen Victoria Building.

FREE event. Drinks and food are available for purchase. Bring a friend and head on down for a drink and a chat on Thursday 29th! Please click here to book online.


‘How Many More Women’ special event with Jennifer Robinson in Newcastle

7.30pm Saturday 22 October 2022
Conservatorium of Music Concert Hall, Newcastle

Join us for a special evening event with internationally respected human rights and media lawyer Jennifer Robinson. Journalist Maddison Connaughton will host this conversation, which will centre on Jennifer’s new book How Many More Women? Exposing How the Law Silences Women, co-written with Dr Keina Yoshida.

How Many More Women? examines the laws around the world that silence women, and explores the changes we need to make to ensure that women’s freedoms are no longer threatened by the legal system that is supposed to protect them.

Jennifer, an Australian based in London, represented Amber Heard in relation to Johnny Depp’s 2020 defamation case in the United Kingdom and has defended Julian Assange and advised WikiLeaks since 2010.

Tickets are $35 (includes booking fee). Please click here to book online.