At our AGM on Tuesday 30 October 2018 the Committee for the 2018/ 2019 year was elected. 

The current members are 

President: Charmaine Tsang

Vice President: Clare Thompson

Treasurer: Sonia Chee 

Secretary: Rubini Ventouras 

Committee: 

Mintie Tantiprasut

Jo Alilovic

Sarah Jones

Anna Johnson

Tanya Lavan

Jacqui Brown

 

The Committee is currently looking for expressions of interest to be co-opted onto the committee and for members to join the various working groups. 

Amy is a senior solicitor at the State Solicitors Office. She is also about to embark on a PHD in Legal Philosophy! 

AMy Says "I joined WLWA Committee to connect with and learn from other inspiring women, who each offer a different experience of law, the practice of law, and its impact on clients and community and to education and advocacy concerning the way that law affects women in the broader community". 

As Chair of the Social Justice and Law Reform Working Group, Amy is responsible for developing the policy priorities and positions for the WLWA Committee, advocating on behalf of that position (e.g. through the formulation of submissions), and contributing to WLWA publications. Amy works closely with the other members of her working group, Rachel Lee (Herbert Smith Freehills); Dianne Caruso (Kim Wilson & Co); Haley Graydon (DLA Piper).

  • So far this year, the SJLR Working Group has prepared submissions, on behalf of WLWA to:
  • the Legal Costs Committee in relation to amendments to costs in family provision matters; and
  • the Australian Law Reform Commission in response to the issues paper on the review of the family law system.

With a view to developing policy, the SJLR Working Group (in discussions with those most affected) has also been working on:

  • research to identify access to justice issues, particularly in relation to legal services to victims of family and domestic violence; and
  • possible measures to support equitable briefing.

The SJLR Working Group is currently working on, on an ongoing basis how to:

  • improve coordination with other key organisations and institutions within the profession to both make effective use of limited capacity and resources, while also recognising and affirming the unique and specific objects and perspectives of each institutions/organisation;
  • better understand how structures and practices that exist within the profession work, how they impact practitioners and how changes to structures could contribute to the outcomes that WLWA seeks to achieve;
  • improve outreach to members, women lawyers and women law students, particularly in relation to matters with which the SJLR Working Group is concerned.

To these ends, at the moment the SJLR Working Group is planning a number of events to facilitate discussion about systems and practices around choosing and briefing barristers, and to identify deficiencies in legal service availability and delivery.

Did you know Amy's double barrel surname is only possible due to a legislative amendment the year she was born?  Because her parents were not married, the law at the time required that she have my father's surname. In 1985, the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1961 was amended to give parents a choice of using the surname of either parent or a combined form of the surnames of both parents (with or without a hyphen). The debates on the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Amendment Act 1985 are a fascinating read, and reveal that these amendments were adopted in an attempt to "provide sensitive legislation and standards for the community to live by" and were, at least in part, prompted by advocacy on behalf of women in the community who were experiencing "a strong sense of frustration and agitation with the law" as it then existed.

Amy is a senior solicitor at the State Solicitors Office. She is also about to embark on a PHD in Legal Philosophy! 

AMy Says "I joined WLWA Committee to connect with and learn from other inspiring women, who each offer a different experience of law, the practice of law, and its impact on clients and community and to education and advocacy concerning the way that law affects women in the broader community". 

As Chair of the Social Justice and Law Reform Working Group, Amy is responsible for developing the policy priorities and positions for the WLWA Committee, advocating on behalf of that position (e.g. through the formulation of submissions), and contributing to WLWA publications. Amy works closely with the other members of her working group, Rachel Lee (Herbert Smith Freehills); Dianne Caruso (Kim Wilson & Co); Haley Graydon (DLA Piper).

  • So far this year, the SJLR Working Group has prepared submissions, on behalf of WLWA to:
  • the Legal Costs Committee in relation to amendments to costs in family provision matters; and
  • the Australian Law Reform Commission in response to the issues paper on the review of the family law system.

With a view to developing policy, the SJLR Working Group (in discussions with those most affected) has also been working on:

  • research to identify access to justice issues, particularly in relation to legal services to victims of family and domestic violence; and
  • possible measures to support equitable briefing.

The SJLR Working Group is currently working on, on an ongoing basis how to:

  • improve coordination with other key organisations and institutions within the profession to both make effective use of limited capacity and resources, while also recognising and affirming the unique and specific objects and perspectives of each institutions/organisation;
  • better understand how structures and practices that exist within the profession work, how they impact practitioners and how changes to structures could contribute to the outcomes that WLWA seeks to achieve;
  • improve outreach to members, women lawyers and women law students, particularly in relation to matters with which the SJLR Working Group is concerned.

To these ends, at the moment the SJLR Working Group is planning a number of events to facilitate discussion about systems and practices around choosing and briefing barristers, and to identify deficiencies in legal service availability and delivery.

Did you know Amy's double barrel surname is only possible due to a legislative amendment the year she was born?  Because her parents were not married, the law at the time required that she have my father's surname. In 1985, the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Act 1961 was amended to give parents a choice of using the surname of either parent or a combined form of the surnames of both parents (with or without a hyphen). The debates on the Registration of Births, Deaths and Marriages Amendment Act 1985 are a fascinating read, and reveal that these amendments were adopted in an attempt to "provide sensitive legislation and standards for the community to live by" and were, at least in part, prompted by advocacy on behalf of women in the community who were experiencing "a strong sense of frustration and agitation with the law" as it then existed.

Nicola Ashford Profile 440x5501

Nicola Ashford, Associate at Kim Wilson & Co and recent awardee of FLPAWA Young Family Lawyer of the Year 2018!
Nicola is a family lawyer specialising in property settlement matters, She says she joined the Committee because “Aside from the objects of WLWA being close to my heart, at the time I joined in 2015 there were no Family Lawyers on the committee (now we have 4! (Jess Stokes was in insurance then, now she’s in Family).  The vast majority of Family Lawyers are female, it seemed appropriate to me that Family Lawyers should be more involved and active in WLWA".
Nicola is the Co-Chair of the Social & Networking working group with fabulous Mintie and some lovely women who assist when they can (there is always room for more !)  YES that means that the Honours Dinner falls within their capable hands! As well as other social & networking events in the year. Such as
·         Meet the Silks – Piddington event, WLWA co-hosted
·         End of Year Function – at the fabulous new Westin
·         100 Women Networking Function
·         Meet the Judiciary – 20 September 2018 at the Federal Court
·         End of Year Celebration – 29 November 2018 – venue TBC
·         Honours Dinner 2019 -  8 March 2019 at the Westin
Nciola’s fun fact is that she has already achieved her News Years Resolution for 2018 - reading 18 books this year!  She loves a good book recommendation, feel free to send her one 😊
Her proudest professional achievement is being admitted as a solicitor and recently being awarded FLPAWA Young Family Lawyer of the Year 2018.
Thanks Nicola for your happy, calm and efficient presence on the Committee - you are definitely a lifter!

Sarah

The incredible Sarah Jones  is a Senior Associate  at O'Sullivan Davies  where she practices in Family Law .

Sarah says she joined the WALA committee because “ I wanted to contribute to the advancement and support of women in the profession. There is so much being achieved by women and I wanted to know about it and share it with others”

The hardworking Sarah has  two roles - Membership Officer and Chair of the Communications Working Group where she is ably assisted by Daniela Ion, Genevieve Smit, Chloe Samuels, Danielle Hadida, Jessica Stokes.  She is responsible for the administration side of membership and communications to members, for producing E-News newsletters (like the one you are reading now!) on a monthly basis and overseeing projects like Without Prejudice, our history of women in the profession, publication and promotion of the benefits of membership and of events organised by our other working groups.

Sarah and her working group have so far this year produced E-News each month, managed the transition to a new membership structure, received approval and funding  to create a new website for WLWA, commenced an archival project of historical materials related to WLWA and women in the legal profession, promoted WLWA to potential new members, promoted and managed ticket sales for a number of events, produced online articles for our website.

The Communications Working Group’s biggest project is creation of a new website. This should be delivered prior to our AGM in October 2018.

Sarah says, “If I could get away with playing latin music (bachata, salsa, reggaeton) all day in my office, I would. Teaching social dance was my second job until I had kids (which made it a lot harder to get to evening classes!) and I still love the music”

Her proudest achievement is “Any day when I feel I haven't dropped any balls when juggling family, kids, job and self is an achievement for me!”

Jacqui brown

Jacqui Brown. Director, Lynn & Brown Lawyers is our Treasurer and she is looking for members to be in her working group !
Jacquie is a family lawyer and with co-director managing  a firm with 24 staff. Jacquie says she joined the WLWA Committee “ because I am a strong advocate for gender equality, and I have seen many instances in my career where this is still not occurring today”
The main project of the Treasurer’s working group has been reviewing the membership fees for 2018/29. The working group is also working on ;
  •  Preparing a guide of membership benefits.
  • Increasing membership levels
  • Preparing a comprehensive handover protocol for future treasurers, as this was not in place when I took over and made things very difficult. 
  • Working towards being in a position as an organisation to be able to have an admin person employed one day per week to alleviate the stress on committee members who are all very busy, which will better serve out members.
One thing we didn’t know about Jacquie is that she is related to two convicts who came out on the First Fleet, on one side of her family, and a first generation Australian on the other side of her family!
Her proudest achievement is her 8-year-old son, Morgan – whom she loves “to bits” !
 
Thanks Jacquie for your commitment to the cause and happy personality!

Jo Alilovic

The fabulous Jo Alilovic is a Director of 3D HR Legal which is a  boutique employment law firm in the South west. When asked why she joined the WLWA Committee she says

“ I moved to the south west in 2016 and have become very conscious of the difference in resources between the city and regional/rural areas. I wanted to help bring some of those resources/events to the country. I decided to do this by getting involved in Women Lawyers – as I am passionate about doing what I can to make change in the world of work so that more women stay in high level careers, particularly after starting a family.”

Jo is the Chair of the Women in the Legal Profession Working Group where she works with some amazing women on the working group namely Shemali Samaraweera, Lucy Dickens, Nicole Rajoo, Samantha Gomez, Aleasha Sanchez, Naline Behere. Jo is also our valuable Liaison Officer for Regional, Rural, Remote Women Lawyers. Jo combined these two roles recently when her working group organised the first WLWA regional event in Bunbury in May with guest speaker Judge Julie Wager. It was well attended and received fantastic feedback from attendees. They are currently are looking to hold a second function in October with guest speakers from the south west region.

The Women in the Legal Profession Group is currently working on lots of things:

1.         Sexual harassment survey. We are working on a survey to find out the incidence of sexual harassment in the legal profession in WA. Hoping to have the survey to members in August.

2.         Workplace policies. We are currently researching existing policies with a view to producing template workplace policies on maternity leave and breastfeeding at work that firms without dedicated HR may use. Hoping to have this completed in October.

3.         Confidential Register for Judicial Appointments. We are working to create a register where women who are interested can confidentially express interest in upcoming judicial appointments. This will be completed in line with the website upgrade that is currently occurring, and will go live at the same time.

She has not always been a lawyer and once worked as a travel consultant in the town of Yulara, located next to Uluru.

Jo’s proudest achievements are “In my personal life it would have to be my 3 kids. They drive me nuts, but they are wonderful. Professionally, my proudest achievement is taking a leap of faith and opening my own practice. It’s been incredibly challenging, but also the most rewarding thing I have done as the challenge has led to significant personal growth.”

shemali

 

Shemali Samaraweera is WLWA’s hardworking secretary as well as being made an Associate of Bennett and Co on 1 July 2018 – Well done Shemali! She practices in Commercial Litigation, Wills and Estate Planning. 

Shemali took a well worn path to being on the WLWA committee by first being coopted onto the Committee in 2016/2017 before being elected to be the Secretary of the WLWA Committee in 2017/18. She joined the WLWA committee to assist and contribute to the significant work WLWA carries out in the Western Australian community with respect to promoting, encouraging and empowering women in the law. 

As Secretary of WLWA, which effectively means she documents the day to day running of the Committee by way of Committee minutes and resolutions, updates regulatory bodies regarding WLWA (such as the Australia Charities and Not-for-profits Commission) and organises the Annual General Meeting for 2018. The amazing Shemali is also a member of the Women in the Legal Profession Working Group, which is led by Joanne Alilovic. The Legal Profession Working Group have a number of projects on the go including, reviewing the current WLWA awards categories, preparing a sexual harassment survey to collect invaluable data and preparing a maternity leave policy. The Legal Profession Working Group hopes to have these projects delivdelivered within the next few months.

A little known fact about Shemali is that she has a Spoodle named Michael Faraday, who is named after the 19th century scientist. 

Thanks Shemali your contribution to the smooth running of the WLWA Committee is greatly appreciated

At our AGM on Tuesday 18 October 2017, Ms Wendy Gillan was elected as President of WLWA.  As Ms Gillan has now been appointed as a judge of the District Court of Western Australia (effective 12 February 2018), The Committee resolved on 13 February 2018 to fill the vacancy by nominating the elected Vice President, Charmain Tsang, to the role of President, and to nominate Ms Clare Thompson (a former president, long term member and convenor of the AWLT) to fill the vacancy of Vice President.

Our current Committee is therefore as follows:

Executive:

President:  Charmaine Tsang

Vice President: Clare Thompson

Treasurer: Jacqui Brown

Secretary: Shemali Samaraweera

Other Committee Members:

Nicola Ashford 

Jessica Stokes

Sarah Jones

Tuba Omer 

Amy Preston-Samson

Jo Alilovic

The Co-opted Committee Members subsequently appointed by Committee resolution are:

Mintie Tantiprasut

Maria Fifield

Jessie Poon

Michaela Stanton-Cook

Emma Luck 

 

 

For information on joining one of our 6 Working Groups, please see our Working Groups tab.

The members of the WLWA Committee for 2016 / 2017 are located here.

Each of the six (6) working groups is chaired by one of our Committee members as set out here.

We acknowledge the support of our Patron Emeritus, Her Honour Toni Kennedy AO.

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