Women's law

Since 1919, we have actively supported women in their fight for rights, in accessing the law and in their legal careers. In fact the first female partner of the firm, Mary Holdsworth, was appointed in 1953 was the firm's Senior Partner from 1963 to 1970. Today, more than half of our lawyers are women, as are more than 40% of our firm's principals. Maurice Blackburn has in place flexible working practices that enable many women in senior roles to combine their careers with caring responsibilities.

In 1995, we established a Women's Law Section (WLS). Over the last 15 years, the WLS has served as a body to:

  • promote access by women to the judicial system
  • provide support to women in Maurice Blackburn and the legal profession, and
  • offer financial and other support to various women's  organisations.

Maurice Blackburn lawyers often act in matters of great interest to women, for example those who have suffered sex discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace. The firm has also launched a test case against four biotech companies to challenge a patent over one of the genes that causes breast and ovarian cancer.

The WLS has a presence in the Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane offices of Maurice Blackburn.

Some of the initiatives implemented by the WLS include:

  • giving clients the option of choosing a woman as their lawyer, particularly those who have suffered discrimination, harassment or who have been given the wrong medical treatment
  • acting in pro bono cases in relation to issues involving women's rights
  • supporting various women focused events and forums - we have supported International Women's Day, Emily's List, Tarwirri indigenous student and trade union events such as Labor Day and Equal Pay Day
  • hosting an annual breakfast for members of the WLS and their guests
  • establishment of mentoring programs for women in the firm
  • external mentoring programs including an initiative to support Mill Park Secondary College students who are considering a career in the law
  • hosting a number of functions during the year to support women in the workplace
  • sponsoring the highly successful Women's Business in the law breakfast hosted by Tarwirri Indigenous Law Students and Lawyers Association of Victoria and Victorian Women Lawyers
  • sponsoring the Dress for Success charity event in Brisbane.

If you would prefer to be represented by a woman in your legal matter, please ask to talk to a member of the Women's Law Section when you make your first appointment.

Our WLS conveners

Read about our achievements in the news