WBA Events & CPDs


Upcoming WBA Events

Fitted For Work - taking donations

Are you looking to clear out your wardrobe after two years of lockdown?

In recognition of International Women’s Day WBA is conducting a clothing drive for donations to Fitted For Work - an organisation that helps women, Non-Binary and Gender Diverse jobseekers experiencing disadvantage secure employment.

Part of their pre and post-employment services includes providing jobseekers with work-appropriate attire.

Donations of good-quality workwear, including suits, blouses, skirts and pants, as well as shoes in good condition are welcome.

Some of the donations (vintage and designer clothing) are sold to raise funds for the organisation.

In addition, Fitted for Work also provides a number of women with good-quality second-hand handbags filled with toiletries as a gift. So donations of handbags in good condition, and unused toiletries and makeup would also be very welcome. 

Items needed as a matter of priority currently are:

Pants and blazers - black and navy blue, sizes 14-20
Blouses – sleeves preferred, sizes 14-20
Cardigans – neutral and block colours, sizes 12-22
Black shoes – all sizes
Camisoles and t-shirts –all sizes
Heel grips and insoles

If you have any of the above that you would like to donate, please deliver them to the following people (please call first, to make sure we are in chambers!) by Friday 25 March 2022. 

Sandra Karabidian - 1016 Owen Dixon West (9225 6493) skarabidian@vicbar.com.au 

Natalie Blok - Level 11 Castan Chambers (9225 6358) natalie.blok@vicbar.com.au

Chapman’s List Barristers – Marked attention: Sandra Karabidian, LG Owen Dixon West (9225 7666)


Past Events

Women Leading the Conversation Series - Practical Ways to assist Refugees and Asylum Seekers

A few weeks ago, WBA presented Women Leading the Conversation: Women in Afghanistan. Since that time, many families from Afghanistan have arrived in Australia, having fled from the Taliban. In this discussion, we invite people to come and hear about practical ways in which they can provide assistance and support to refugees and asylum seekers, from pro bono legal advice, to mentoring and sponsorship.

Gender Equitable Briefing – some strategies for improving briefing rates

This seminar discussed achieving equitable briefing, particularly in civil matters and by private firms in particular. WBA invited four firms who achieved the overall briefing target of 30% and are also signatories to the Gender Equitable Briefing Policy to outline their experiences and strategies for improving their performance, and transparency, in gender equitable briefing.

Pathways to Silk

WBA ran “Pathways to silk” Zoom event on Thursday 3 June at 8am for barristers thinking about applying for silk either now or in the next few years.  The event gave barristers tips on how to make a successful application. 

It was hosted by our Convenor, Jennifer Batrouney AM QC and we were honoured that our Patron Justice Melinda Richards offered her general comments about the process, drawing on her experience as a past member of the silk preliminary evaluation committee. We were also joined by a number of female silks who also offered their perspectives - Rachel Doyle SC, Wendy Harris QC, Susan Brennan SC, Sally Flynn QC, Jenny Firkin QC and Elizabeth Ruddle QC.

Financial Resilience Seminar

WBA is pleased to present a small-group  lunchtime seminar to members on financial resilience for barristers.

The seminar will be held at 1-2pm on Friday 22 November in Bar Council Chambers (lunch is provided).

The panel features:

Siobhan Blewitt - Stellan Capital

Benjamin Fernandes - Legal Super

Lisa Marshall - Blue Rock

Our panellists will cover issues such as:

  • the super gap between men and women and how to address it;
  • protecting your livelihood through disability and illness insurance and the most cost-effective way to do that;
  • financial measures when taking parental or other extended leave;
  • ensuring you charge what you should by comparison with competitors;
  • making the most of wealth i.e. property, shares, investments.

Places are limited to 25 so please RSVP promptly to secure a spot. RSVP to Sandra Karabidian at skarabidian@vicbar.com.au. Please forward to Sandra any questions that you want the panel to address (questions will be asked anonymously).

WBA Discussion Group: Dealing with Difficult People

WBA is pleased to announce the second of a series of workshops on the topic of “Dealing with Difficult People”. Available to WBA members only these highly informal discussions are designed for participants to share ideas and raise questions in a collaborative learning environment.

The workshop will address “Dealing with Difficult Instructors”. To be held on 13 March 2018 from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm at the Conference Room on the 15th Floor of Owen Dixon Chambers West.

This workshop will be moderated by Susan Aufgang who has had many a difficult encounter but has lived to tell the tale. So, get your anecdotes ready and see how others have handled these challenges.  We want to know what works and, more importantly, what doesn’t.

As space is strictly limited, WBA members wishing to attend please RSVP to Sandra Karabidian at skarabidian@vicbar.com.au by 6 March 2018.

WBA Criminal law networking evening

On Thursday 5 October, WBA hosted a special networking event for 75 solicitors and women barristers who specialise in indictable crime and quasi-criminal matters.

Justice Elizabeth Hollingworth and Criminal Bar Association President Lesley Taylor QC delivered inspiring opening remarks, urging the attendees to take advantage of the opportunity to broaden their professional networks. After which attendees enjoyed canapés and drinks whilst embracing the opportunity to get to know their fellow practitioners.

The event was an outstanding success and the WBA hopes attendees will continue to foster the relationships they formed on the night.

Diversity- My Experiences in the Law

On Monday 9 October, the WBA and the Asian Australian Lawyers Association jointly hosted a panel discussion at Herbert Smith Freehills, inviting the speakers to share their personal experiences of diversity in the law.

Judicial Registrar Tran of the County Court; Tuan Van Le, Executive Director (Dispute Resolution) at the ATO and Rochelle Castro, Principal at RC & CO Lawyers were very generous in sharing their stories and insights as to how best to improve diversity in our profession. For reflections on the event please go to http://aala.org.au/5334092

Women in Wine networking event

On Tuesday 19 September, WBA hosted a great networking event in the Neil McPhee – “Women in Wine”. Over two hours, Clare Burder of the Humble Tumbler was joined by local winemakers Melanie Chester of Sutton Grange and Caroline Mooney of Bird on a Wire to profile great local wines accompanied by cheese.

A number of WBA members attended accompanied by guest solicitors. The event was a great success and plans are already underway for a similar event next year.

VWL/WBA breakfast in honour of the Honourable Chief Justice Marilyn Warren

On Thursday 14 September, VWL and WBA jointly hosted a breakfast event at new Melbourne venue White Lane to honour Chief Justice Warren’s contribution to equality and the progression of women in the legal profession.

Justice Pamela Tate and Jennifer Batrouney QC delivered wonderful tributes to the Chief Justice, a copy of Justice Pamela Tate's speech is available here, a copy of Jennifer Batrouney QC's speech is available here

Her Honour accepted an award of honorary membership of WBA, in recognition of her Honour’s contribution as patron of the organisation over many years.

View a gallery of photographs from the event here.

VWL/WBA speed networking event

On 24 August, VWL and WBA combined to organise a speed networking event at El Coco in the Melbourne CBD. Over a couple of hours, barristers and solicitors networked at “speed” – chatting and exchanging details for 5 minutes before moving on to speak to someone else in the same practice area.

The speed networking event built on the success of similar events held previously, and is just one of a number of networking events organised by WBA for its members.

2017 Court of Appeal Moots for Women Barristers

On Saturday 20 May 2017, the Court of Appeal hosted, for the second consecutive year, an advocacy program aimed at providing opportunities for female barristers to deliver oral submissions before a panel of judges.

Eight barristers appeared before a three-member panel of judges in the Court of Appeal to argue a case based on the Supreme Court decision in Antunovic v Dawson (2010) 30 VR 355 prepared by her Honour Justice Jane Dixon. Each appellant and respondent spoke for 35 minutes, followed by a performance critique from the Bench.

Justices Tate, Hollingworth, Emerton, McMillan, Zammit, Jane Dixon, and Associate Justice Ierodiaconou of the Supreme Court, and Justices Davies and Mortimer of the Federal Court generously gave of their time to sit as members of the Bench, with barristers Megan Casey, Georgina Connelly, Georgina Costello, Kylie Evans, Lisa De Ferrari, Anna Robertson, Anne Sheehan and Michelle Wilson appearing before them.

Their Honours were very impressed with the standard of advocacy.

The statistics in the Court of Appeal record that, from July 2016 to April 2017, female counsel had a speaking role in only 5 per cent of civil appeals.  In criminal appeals female counsel delivered oral submissions in 17 per cent of cases.

Women Barristers’ Association was proud to help coordinate the program with Justice Tate.  The program is intended  to be one of a number of initiatives to assist in addressing gender based inequality in the legal profession, as recognised in the Quantum Leap.

For further information about the program, please contact Kylie Weston-Scheuber on kylie.weston-scheuber@vicbar.com.au.

Grievance Protocol CPD

Thursday 30 March 2017 at 1pm.

Seminar Room 7, Monash Law Chambers, 555 Lonsdale Street Melbourne.

The Bar's Grievance Protocol sets out a procedure for barristers to raise complaints about discrimination, bullying and harassment by other barristers.

WBA members are invited to attend a panel discussion comprising Ted Woodward SC, Michelle Quigley QC, Peter Rozen and Meredith Schilling. This session will feature a brief overview of the Grievance Protocol and some of the matters that have been raised under the protocol to date.

This will be followed by an informal Q&A session where members will have the opportunity to ask questions and discuss issues involving bullying and harassment at the Bar.

1 CPD point for Ethics and Professional Responsibility.

Click here to view the seminar slides.

VWL/WBA Mentoring Program

This is the 10th year of the Law Student Mentoring Program, run jointly by Victorian Women Lawyers and the Women Barristers' Association. The program is endorsed by the Honourable Marcia Neave AO and the Honourable Justice Rita Zammit. The program is a wonderful opportunity for female law students to gain insight into working in the law, develop valuable networks and share ideas with mentors in the legal profession. For mentors, there is the satisfaction that comes from helping to shape the career of a female law student.

Mentors do not need to hold a VWL or WBA membership to participate in the program.

First-round registration is open until Sunday, 26 March 2017.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact program coordinator, Caroline Jones at vwlwbamentoring@gmail.com