World Leading Women in Law Firms Project

The Women Lawyers’ Association of NSW (WLANSW) in partnership with the University of Wollongong Legal Intersections Research Centre have launched a world leading Women in Law Firms project.

A pilot for the project which is an expansion of the WLANSW Women in Law Firms Data Comparison Project, funded in partnership with the Legal Intersections Research Centre is now underway. The pilot project sets out to interview managing partners, female equity partners, female senior associates and junior lawyers at four of the largest national law firms that have been participating in the Law Firms Data Comparison Project.

The pilot project investigates the current best practices for promotion of diversity and inclusion in management, flexible work practices, promotion criteria and equity partnership models. Professor Nan Seuffert and Dr Trish Mundy from the University of Wollongong will be undertaking the research for the pilot project.

The researchers anticipate that the findings of the pilot project will feed into a larger project that, subject to attracting sufficient funding, will produce new models for valuing skills and new models for partnership.  The new models will respond to the insights on diversity and inclusion and the “new normal” for law firms, a term that has been coined to describe the twenty-first century pressures on firms of globalisation, commercialisation, market deregulation and client demands for flexibility, innovation and lower fees.

“The time has well passed for the legal profession to develop and implement alternatives to models of progression and leadership based on traditional billing practices which are entirely out of step with the needs of clients, modern legal workplaces and flexibility required by individual lawyers,” says Lee-May Saw, President of WLANSW.

“We very much look forward to having all of the national law firms that have been participating in the Law Firms Data Comparison Project support and participate in the Women in Law Firms Project pilot and the project proper beyond this,” says Ms Saw. The Law Firms Data Comparison studies for previous years can be found at

Professor Nan Seuffert, Director of the Legal Intersections Research Centre, Andrew McMahon, Research and Analyst Manager of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, and Louise Mallon, a member of Ashurst’s Sydney Disputes Team involved with their diversity initiatives, will be speaking at a panel event “Progress to Partnership – Law Firm Comparison Study Launch 2016” moderated by Larissa Andelman Chair of the WLANSW Workplace Practices Subcommittee. The event will be hosted by Ashurst and will take place on Thursday 13 October 2016 from 5:30pm. At the event the 2016 Law Firms Data Comparison will be launched. Further details about this event are available at

For further information and enquiries, please contact Kathryn McKenzie, Executive Officer, at or on 0466 157 087.

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