The issue of under-representation of women lawyers has been a growing trend in the Australian legal system for quite a long time. Due to this, the Victorian Women Lawyers has announced a mooting competition that will concentrate on empowering women lawyers. In a report released lately, it was stated that the practicing women in Victoria only constitute 27 percent. However, the good news is that this statistic is expected to increase upon the establishment of the Victorian Women Lawyers Warren Moot. When this initiative is put into practice, more women lawyers will be given an insight into a career at the Bar. This is because it aims to address the low numbers of Australian women involved with various advocacy roles.
In addition, Victorian Women Lawyers convener Kirsten Adams said that they will work hand in hand with women lawyers in Australia, providing the forum for them to hone and test their potential. This will help empower them to get on their feet and also see more women lawyers participate in advocacy roles. In a supportive setting, the initiative has been endorsed by Marilyn Warren, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Victoria. She believes that the mooting competition will be the best opportunity for women to improve their advocacy skills at the Bar. Chief Justice Warren also added that it is very rare to see women being given speaking roles and rare still to see women advocates appear before the Supreme Court.
A reflective history has proven that women remain underrepresented when it comes to advocacy roles. As a matter of fact, the community is missing out on a valuable resource as long as the under-representation of women takes place. Practitioners should be encouraged to brief more women on the importance of taking up advocacy roles and give them the utmost support that they need.
As a sponsor of the initiative, Maddocks partner Maria Marshall said that the firm is committed to hosting the semi-final after the first two rounds of the competition. She said that this is expected to break the trending pattern in the Australian legal industry. Ms Marshall also added that sometimes young women lawyers get challenged since they often leave the ‘counsel’ role to their male counterparts after slipping into the ‘instructing solicitor’ role during mooting competitions. Also, the Warren Moot looks forward to breaking the legal industry pattern by offering women the chance to improve their advocacy skills and help them grow professionally with high self-esteem.
Round one of the mooting competition is expected to kick-off on 1st September and four law students or women will make up each of the mooting rounds. Finally, 14th October will be the date for the grand final and it is scheduled to take place at the Supreme Court of Victoria.