IBA Annual Conference Sydney 2017

8 Oct - 13 Oct 2017

Room C4.8, Convention Centre, Level 4

Session information

Searching for solutions to gender diversity issues: bar associations jump into the fray
Room C4.8, Convention Centre, Level 4


Women Lawyers' Committee (Lead)
Professional Ethics Committee


In this interactive session, we will discuss how bar associations can get involved to promote gender balance through education and create self-awareness in the legal industry about bias. Although lawyers’ career development requires strenuous efforts regardless of gender, looking back on your career, consider that some highly skilled female colleagues might not have left your firm had they received just a little help, advice and support. There is more to be done, including involving bars in the furtherance of their mission of strengthening the legal profession. In the first half (0930 - 1045) of this session, we will have an interactive discussion with a panel of bar leaders who have been actively engaging in gender equality for each bar association and the international field. Women lawyers tend to face many more career challenges than men, including lack of role models or mentors, unconscious bias, lack of flexible work opportunities and career paths, sociocultural discrimination and the extra burden of family responsibilities. The panel will suggest practical solutions to these common but pressing issues. The second half (1115 - 1230) has been set aside for roundtable discussions on the unique challenges experienced by women lawyers in each jurisdiction, potential solutions to the problems raised and the kind of support that their respective bar associations could offer. The audience will be divided into small groups, and is expected to actively participate in the discussion. In a wrap-up meeting at the end of this session, comments will be given from the bar leaders and active advocates for women lawyers’ status. Should you want to contribute any of your experiences, or data about your own bar association, please contact Isabel Bueno and Masako Banno via email (isabel@mattosfilho.com.br, masako.banno@okunolaw.com). We want to collect as much data as we can to discuss it with the audience in this interactive session. If we could have all this information submitted by Monday 25 September, that would be most appreciated. Men are encouraged to attend! We are looking forward to seeing both active male and female lawyers to discuss these important issues.

Session / Workshop Chair(s)

Masako Banno Okuno & Partners, Tokyo, Japan; Website Officer, Women Lawyers' Committee
Rachel T McGuckian Circuit Court for Montgomery County, MD, Rockville, Maryland, USA; Co-Vice Chair , Professional Ethics Committee


Hilarie Bass Bass Institute for Diversity and Inclusion, Miami, Florida, USA; IBA Council MemberAmerican Bar Association
Fiona McLeod AO KC Victorian Bar, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia; President / Chairperson, Member Organisations
Paul Mollerup Association of Danish Law Firms, Copenhagen, Denmark; IBA Council Member, Association of Danish Law Firms
Olufunmi Oluyede TRLPLAW Solicitors, Davidsonville, Maryland, USA; LPD Council Member, LPD Council