On Thursday 28 February 2019, the NSW Branch of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association marked the commencement of the Law Term by celebrating Females to the Front. Hosted by Baker McKenzie, this event welcomed NSW Law Society President, Elizabeth Espinosa and AALA National Vice President, Molina Asthana to launch the 2019 Law Term on a path of strength, humility and inclusiveness.
Opened by Baker McKenzie’s Gillian Woon and hosted by Lawyer’s Weekly 2017 Female Student of the Year and AALA NSW Secretary, Marija Yelavich, the event embraced the many brilliant hats we all wear: we are parents, sons and daughters. We are partners, the wedding ring-kind and the bossy, sign your pay cheques-kind. We are solicitors, barristers, students and academics. We identify with the binary and fluidity of gender and sexuality. We know multiple languages and overcome the daily beauty and challenges of living in a connected city like Sydney. The message was clear: we are diverse and we have to continue to help the legal profession from the inside out.
Special guest speaker and trailblazer, Molina Asthana shared with the audience of over 50 guests, her personal story from studying and practising in India to transferring her life and practice to Australia. Molina emphasised that we must continue to push for change in the leadership echelons- welcoming more diversity is not only imperative to reflect the demographic but is a decision that benefits the entire workforce and community.
The audience’s response to the keynote speaker Elizabeth Espinosa’s story showed how valuable and cherished storytelling is. The legal profession has moved beyond diversity as a set of statistics and we want your story: we want to learn, develop empathy and grow in our common understanding. This touched on the key purpose of AALA: an association that advocates for intersectional diversity, a network of shared values and experiences whose common goal is to advocate for cultural equity and equality. Espinosa made a poignant statement: the Law is as expressive as it is disciplined. Diversity is a help. Not a hindrance. AALA welcomes Espinosa as the NSW Law Society President and applauds the inclusive approach to advocacy and policy. As Espinosa noted, ‘diversity is no longer the buzz word,’ and change is happening. It is up to all of us to engage in personal reflection and professional training that will create and promote a more inclusive community.
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association National Executive Committee is deeply saddened by the horrific acts of violence in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday 15 March 2019 which took the lives of 50 innocent children, men and women in a peaceful place of worship. The Executive Committee extends our sincere condolences to the families, friends and community of the victims.
As an Association, we value the contribution of Muslim Australians to our community and Muslim members to our Association, and we stand with you in grief and prayer. We are pleased to see the almost universal support for the Muslim community of Christchurch and the utter condemnation of these despicable acts of terrorism.
Sadly, this incident and the ignorant and inflammatory remarks by some which followed demonstrate that we must be forever vigilant against racism, prejudice, ignorance and intolerance. As a society we still have a long way to go in fostering diversity and inclusion across all sectors. Together, we hope to continue the discourse on cultural, ethnic, religious, gender and other types of diversity for a more enriched, harmonious and inclusive Australia.
Professor Gareth Evans gave the 2019 Asialink Sir Edward 'Weary' Dunlop Asia Lecture at the Asialink Chairman's Dinner at the MCA, Sydney, on 13 March 2019 entitled Asian Australians: Breaking the Bamboo Ceiling. For a complete copy of the keynote, see https://www.gevans.org/speeches/Speech684.html
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association congratulates Judge Joshua Wilson and Judge Robert Harper both formerly of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia on their appointments to the Family Court of Australia (commencing 11 March, 2019). Before his appointment to the Federal Circuit Court on 2 November, 2015 Judge Wilson was a member of the Inner Bar of the Victorian Bar.
For further information,: https://www.attorneygeneral.gov.au/Media/Pages/Appointments-to-the-Family-Court-of-Australia-11-Mar-2019.aspx
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association congratulates Andrew Lu OAM as he is appointed to Western Australia's State Administrative Tribunal.
"Dr Andrew Lu OAM has substantial experience representing the insurance industry, health practitioners, and Government. Andrew began practice as a commercial insurance solicitor with Freehills, managed medical and professional indemnity and general insurance disputes at Minter Ellison, and was a partner with Jarman McKenna. He now leads HBA’s health law practice.
Dr Lu said he was deeply honoured to be the first Asian Australian lawyer appointed to the Tribunal, adding further diversity to the pool of decision-makers in Australia."
Read more on https://www.hbalegal.com/hba-partner-appointed-to-state-administrative-tribunal/
The Asian Australian Lawyers Association Qld Branch’s mentoring program launch on 21 February 2019 was a resounding success, thanks to the generous support of Herbert Smith Freehills Brisbane.
The Honourable Justice Anthe Philippides of the Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Queensland shared words of wisdom and encouragement to a sell-out audience of lawyers, students, and supporters.
Her Honour's speech is available here.
From left to right: Qld committee members Dominic Nguyen, William Zhou, Tuck Chung, Stephanie Tang, Benjamin Teng (Associate to the Hon. Philippides JA), Brydon Wang (former AALA National executive committee member), Catherine Chiang (Qld branch secretary), Reimen Hii, Vernon Ting, and Anand Shah (Qld branch president).
The Honourable Justice Anthe Philippides, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court of Queensland.
Digital Advances do make a change in our worklife. Jing Zhu, a Victorian Barrister shares on this article featured in the Sydney Morning Herald, where she talks about how digital advances make a practical impact in her worklife. She finds using e-briefs convenient and readily accessible.
Read more here.
The Victorian Asian Australian Lawyers Association launched its annual Mentoring Program 2019 at Herbert Smith Freehills’s offices on 21 February 2019. Mentoring programs were launched simultaneously at AALA branches in NSW, WA and QLD.
This year, the Victorian AALA’s mentoring program has over 50 participants with mentors who are from the judiciary, barristers and partners and senior associates of law firms. The mentees include graduate lawyers and junior lawyers from government departments and commercial and personal injury law firms.
In Victoria, we had the great privilege of hearing from keynote speaker, the Hon. Chief Justice Anne Ferguson of the Supreme Court of Victoria.
The Chief Justice spoke of the importance of cultural diversity, particularly amongst the senior ranks of the legal profession. She noted the current underrepresentation of people from cultural and linguistically diverse backgrounds in those ranks. Her Honour encouraged using mentoring as an invaluable mechanism for addressing this issue by providing access to knowledge and opportunities to those who don’t necessarily have it. She acknowledged AALA’s important work on this front.
AALA thanks the Chief Justice for speaking to our members and sends its best wishes to this year’s mentoring relationships so that they are fruitful and enduring. #aala #culturaldiversity #mentoring
On 12 February 2019 at Shark Finn House in Melbourne Chinatown, AALA Victoria celebrated cultural diversity during the auspicious Lunar New Year festival with the Honourable Magistrates Charles Tan as our keynote speaker, together with special guests including but not limited to Associate Justice Randall, Judge Hayato Aoiki (Okayama District Court, Japan), AALA Inaugural President Mr Reynah Tan, AALA Previous President Ms Tuanh Nguyen, the Vice President of the AALA National Executive Ms Molina Asthana, and representative of the Chinese Museum Mr Mark Wang.
His Honour shared his journey through the Bar and Judiciary and how his experience as a legal professional of Chinese descent had evolved over the years. Importantly, his Honour emphasised the imperative for cultural diversity in the legal profession as a means to holistically tackle legal issues arising from our multicultural society and called for individual action in supporting the drive towards cultural diversity in the legal profession.
AALA also had the pleasure of supporting the upcoming exhibition at the Melbourne Chinese Museum on cultural diversity within people of Chinese descent, featuring William Ah Ket, the first barrister of Chinese descent in Australia. To support this exhibition, click here.
Next Thursday on 21 February 2019, the AALA is extremely excited to host the Honourable Anne Ferguson at our Mentoring Program launch at Herbert Smith Freehills. If you have not registered to attend this free event, you can sign up here.
Keep an eye out for our future events celebrating other Asian cultures and festivities and bringing the conversation of cultural diversity in the legal profession to the front.
To stay in the loop and show your support for cultural diversity in the legal profession, become a member of the AALA here. Membership is open to all who support our cause and we encourage all people of various cultures and backgrounds to join the conversation.
The Victorian AALA is pleased to have our annual Mentoring Program Launch on 21 February 2019, featuring our guest speaker The Honourable Chief Justice Anne Ferguson.
RSVP now as this is an event you would not want to miss out on! Register at http://aala.org.au/event-3253397
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