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
- offer financial and other support to various women's
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
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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Read about our achievements in the news