Amanda Fajerman

Amanda Fajerman

Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now (whether at home, work, in the community, etc.)?

I help people; I help clients understand pain points and solve problems, I help connect teams by acting as a conduit between law and technology, I help create efficient and data driven systems and processes to improve lawyer satisfaction and well-being, and I hope to inspire, develop and educate the legal tech industry.

What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?

Potential through difference.

What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry?

Change from the ground up; to the language used in job descriptions to attract diverse candidates, to the recruitment process to avoid hiring based on like for like, to ensuring that organisation is driven by strong and purpose led values which instils inclusiveness, flexibility, transparency and openness. This has to be created at the top and actioned by everyone – from the leadership team for leading by example with fairness and integrity and ensuring that every staff member has a safe environment to ask questions, to every staff member to speak up when things are not right and to question the status quo.

What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?

I studied computer science and law through a combination of a passion for data, systems and analytics as well as reasoning, problem solving and judgement. However, I have always enjoyed the data and process behind the giving of legal advice more than the practice of law itself, so have used my legal subject matter expertise in the legal tech industry. I thrive on the opportunity to help create systems and solutions for legal teams based on efficiencies and structured data.

Amanda is the Head of Legal Technology at LOD

Melissa Lyon

Melissa Lyon

Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now (whether at home, work, in the community, etc.)?

I help people and organisations design ways of working, processes, services and strategies which provide a better user experience. I do this by using a human centred deign thinking framework we developed at Hive called HiveThinkP.

What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?

Hope, respect, opportunity. 

What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry?

A change in mindset to be more collaborative and to respect the skills of other professionals in the legal ecosystem who have a valuable role to play to improve the experience for clients and all of those who work in the legal ecosystem.

What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?

Initially… to have a fulfilling career. Now that I have one my driver is to help others have the same, no matter what role you have in the legal industry.

Melissa is an Executive Director & Experience Designer at Hive Legal

Renee Eglinton

Renee Eglinton

Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now (whether at home, work, in the community, etc.)?

Providing expertise and compassion to my clients when they are often at their most vulnerable and assisting them to achieve a positive outcome and fresh start.

What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?

Perspective, respect, education.

What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry?

A commitment to educating lawyers to truly appreciate and respect others peoples’ differences and opinions. I strongly believe the younger generation of lawyers will be game changers when it comes to diversity within the profession.

What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?

My Year 11 English teacher suggested I look at law as a profession. I think I make a better lawyer than I would have dentist, which was another career choice I considered.

Renee is a Director at Kare Lawyers

Lucy Dickens

Lucy Dickens

Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now (whether at home, work, in the community, etc.)?

Bring together people, process and technology to design innovative legal services.

What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?

Gender, race, perspectives.

What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry? 

Rid ourselves of time billing!

What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?

I was better at English than Maths… luckily I’ve found more meaningful reasons to stay!

Lucy is a Legal Innovator at Doing Law Differently

Keertan Samra

Keertan Samra

Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now (whether at home, work, in the community, etc.)

I provide women with information and legal advice about their options to help them make an informed and safe decision for themselves and their children.

What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?

To help disadvantaged members of our community that have barriers and difficulties with accessing legal assistance such as homelessness, literacy or financial barriers.

What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?

Inclusivity, representative, meaningful.

What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry? 

To have meaningful connections and conversations with diverse people in the legal industry, and the desire and willingness to make meaningful changes to allow those from a diverse background to be able to achieve the same opportunities as their peers at all levels of the legal industry.

Keertan is a Solicitor at Women’s Legal Service Queensland

Kristan Conlon

Kristan Conlon

Without mentioning your job title, how would you describe what it is you do now?

Every day is different but it is all about the people around me. I connect people to assist them in getting solutions and outcomes and I connect people within my team to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to do their very best.

What was your main driver to enter the legal industry?
This really came down to the fact that I was better at English than maths. My passion and interest was definitely more in the sciences side and I was interested in all the different therapies and actually began these studies in my first year. My work experience was not in a law firm, it was in a gym!

I was just better at English, I did extremely well at Uni in my first year and people started suggesting I should study law so I took their advice, found I was good at it and so the rest is history.

What are the first three words you think of when you hear the word ‘diversity’?
1. Gender, more specially gender equality.
2. Diversity of thought. I genuinely think that surrounding you with people that are different from you helps you see everything in a different light.
3. Self-reflection. I think to be open to other people’s thoughts, opinions, experience and to want to learn from this you need to be able to self-reflect.

What do you think it will take to develop truly diverse thinking within the legal industry?
We need to expose this industry from both within and from outside of the industry. What I mean by that is that we need to ensure that people are able to be exposed to people that are different to them whether that be gender, sexual orientation, race, age etc. We need to see and hear differences and develop an understanding. Importantly we need to look outside legal and learn from other industries and be open to what they have done.

Kristan is a Partner at McCullough Robertson Lawyers

Francine McNiff

Francine McNiff

(24 March 1948 – 2 April 2015)

Francine McNiff graduated from Monash University with a BJuris LLB. She taught at Monash for over 10 years in addition to working as a consultant at Martin Bartfeld & Associates.

Francine went on to become the Principal Legal Officer and Acting Director of the Policy & Research Division of the Victorian Law Department.

In 1987 she was appointed a Children’s Court Magistrate, making her the first woman Judicial Officer in Victoria.

Katharine Elizabeth McGregor

Francine McNiff

(16 May 1903 – 25 June 1979)

Katharine Elizabeth McGregor was admitted as a solicitor and barrister by the Supreme Court of Queensland in October 1926.

She was the first woman in Queensland to be admitted as a barrister, although she did not go on to practice as one.

Katharine went on to become a partner at her father’s law firm and later opened up her own firm in 1935.

Edith Cowan

Edith Cowan

(2 August 1861 – 9 June 1932)

Edith Cowan was the first woman to be elected to an Australian parliament in Western Australia in 1921.

In 1894 she became the founding secretary of the Karrakatta Club, a women’s club in Perth that campaigned for female suffrage. Edith was later involved in the establishment of the Western Australian National Council of Women.

She was a foundation member of the Children’s Protection Society and the first woman to be appointed to the Children’s Court bench.

Roma Mitchell

Roma Mitchell

(2 October 1913 – 5 March 2000)

Roma Mitchell was an Australian judge, lawyer and state governor. She was Australia’s first judge and the first woman to be a Queen’s Counsel.

Roma was admitted as a barrister in 1935 and was later appointed a Queen’s Counsel in 1962. In addition to her career as a lawyer, Roma was a family law lecturer at the University of Adelaide.

She became a Justice of the Supreme Court of South Australia in 1965.