8 episodes

Change Makers is a global Thomson Reuters Asia and Emerging Markets initiative that brings together industry leaders committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. And we want your commitment too! Join us on our Change Makers journey as we interview a range of legal industry Thought Leaders who are challenging the status quo. #TRChangeMakers

Change Makers Podcast Thomson Reuters Asia and Emerging Markets

    • Business

Change Makers is a global Thomson Reuters Asia and Emerging Markets initiative that brings together industry leaders committed to improving diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. And we want your commitment too! Join us on our Change Makers journey as we interview a range of legal industry Thought Leaders who are challenging the status quo. #TRChangeMakers

    Non-Binary People's Day

    Non-Binary People's Day

    Change Makers Podcast Episode 8: Non-Binary People's Day On this episode of the Change Makers podcast we are celebrating International Non-Binary People’s Day with a discussion between two gender diverse legal professionals and Amila Perera, a Legal Editor at Thomson Reuters. This conversation will give you the opportunity to understand non-binary identities, particularly within the workplace and the legal profession. 
    International Non-Binary People’s Day is celebrated on 14 July each year. The date was chosen because 14 July is the midpoint between International Women’s Day and International Men’s Day. 
    Amila sat down in Sydney with Frankie Sullivan, a NSW Legal Aid lawyer, and Joseph Black, a Juris Doctor Student at the University of Sydney, to discuss their experiences of being non-binary members of the legal profession.  
    Frankie prefers to be referred to using singular ‘they’ pronouns, while Joseph prefers either ‘she’, ‘he’ or ‘they’ pronouns.  
    Podcast show notes 
    In conversation, Frankie and Joseph discussed the impact of the case Norrie v Registrar of Births, Deaths and Marriages, which was a case that allowed for Norrie mAy Welby to have their sex registration marked as ‘non-specific’. As Frankie noted, ‘it's a pretty big deal to have the highest court in this country endorsing [the idea that] gender is something that's beyond the binary’. However, although this case represented a significant step in legal recognition of non-binary identities, there is still a long way to go in really recognising sex and gender as two distinct parts of a person’s identity. As Frankie explained: 
    “To have that non-specific marker on your identity documents, you still need to have some sort of affirmation surgery, which is, again, quite restrictive and quite limiting for various reasons. So even though it's recognised, I think it's hard to actually get that lawful status. You need to … check a whole bunch of boxes, at least in New South Wales in order to be entitled to that nonspecific gender marker.” 
    The conversation highlighted how important it is for law and policy recognition of gender diversity to be reflected in day to day experiences. In discussing the kinds of things that help them to feel comfortable with their gender identity in professional spaces, both Frankie and Joseph emphasised the value of others being receptive and respectful of their gender expression.  
    Joseph has become more comfortable with expressing their identity in the ways they would like, in part, because they have been able to situate themself within a supportive community that clearly signals inclusivity. 
    “Incorporating these symbols that indicate this is a safe space can help indicate to me that this is a safe environment that's inclusive and work and feel comfortable. I think things like this event celebrating international non binary day could be helpful and appreciated.” 
    For Frankie, navigating court appearances as a young lawyer has meant that they announce themself in court using the title ‘Mx’, rather than ‘Mr’ or ‘Ms’. Frankie spoke about being pleasantly surprised by how easily their preferred title was adopted by fellow lawyers and judges. “[It’s] obviously a little bit tricky, and it's been a bit awkward at times. But there's just been a real willingness from the people I work with and within the courts to try and … that’s been a really positive thing.” 
    Enjoyed the insights from today’s podcast? Add a href="https://insight.thomsonreuters.com.au/legal/resources/resource/change-makers-podcast-episode-7-active-allyship" rel="noopener noreferrer"...

    • 21 min
    Active Allyship

    Active Allyship

    Change Makers Podcast Episode 7: Active Allyship
    June marks the month of pride, honouring the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan, a significant event which paved the way for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. To help celebrate Pride Month 2020, Thomson Reuters has dropped episode seven of the Change Makers Podcast, ‘Active Allyship’. 
    For a conversation on being an active ally in the workplace and encouraging other firms to follow suit, there was one person our podcast host could not look past. Catherine Roberts, Strategic Global Client Director, Thomson Reuters Asia and Emerging Markets, was pleased to invite an advocate of active allyship and colleague, Rob Head, Hong Kong-based Director of Proposition Core Law, Thomson Reuters, Asia & Emerging Markets to speak on the program.
    Rob is a vocal supporter of D&I (diversity and inclusion) initiatives in the Asia region and has helped drive Thomson Reuters’ workplace equality index up during his time at the company. Not only does Rob regularly speak on panels to raise awareness for the LGBT+ community, he is the proud recipient of numerous industry awards. Last year, Rob was granted the 2019 Hong Kong LGBT+ Inclusion Champion Award and a 2019 OUTstanding LGBT+ Future Leader listing. 
    Outside of this, Rob has also hosted Stonewall’s Global Workplace Briefings Launch, authored the ‘Road to Gold’ Strategy driving achievement of Gold in Hong Kong’s LGBT+ Inclusion Index and continues to champion Hong Kong’s Gay & Lesbian Attorney’s Network, showcasing his drive to increase discourse and create change for LGBT+ people in Hong Kong and beyond. Rob doesn’t limit his allyship to those in LGBT+ communities, but instead looks to foster inclusivity of all individuals. For example:
    “I often reference gender equality at the same time [as LGBT+ matters], because I think it's very important whenever you're trying to push one agenda in this space to make sure that people realise it's not at the expense of others, but it's to support all people at the same time.”
    Continue reading for a recap of the episode, which looks at converting passive support into active allyship, particularly in the context of the Asia Pacific region’s legal profession. 
    Podcast show notes
    Bringing your ‘whole self’ to work
    To begin, Catherine asked Rob why D&I is important to him and the reason behind his unwavering support for it. Rob’s answer was holistic. For him, D&I functions to enable all people from everywhere, across Thomson Reuters as an organisation and its client base. This is regardless of your culture, nationality, race, age, gender, sexual orientation, or your physical ability. 
    “It’s about working in an organisation which has a culture that fosters an ability for everybody to bring their whole self to work, and something that fosters creativity through enabling people with different talents, different ideas, and different capabilities to bring everything that they have to the table,” added Rob. 
    But bringing your ‘whole self’ to work is easier said than done. As Rob explains, there are things that get in the way for LGBT+ individuals, that hinder their ability to feel comfortable in the workplace. 
    “One thing that people often forget, is that as an LGBT+ person, you don't just come out once, you actually come out to every person you meet for the first time. And you have to judge whether that's a safe space, a safe individual to do that with. So one of the things I would always encourage people to think about when they're talking to people that they're meeting for...

    • 23 min
    Lawyer Mums Australia

    Lawyer Mums Australia

    It is International Womens Day on 8 March 2020, a day in which the legal profession will be reflecting on how far away the industry is from achieving gender equality. To reach such a goal, law firms and organisations may be prompted to discuss pay equity, gender quotas, to the bullying and harassment of women that has been identified as an industry-specific problem. 
    For episode six of the Thomson Reuters Change Makers Podcast, we invited Anthea McIntyre, owner and Director of McIntyre Legal to join us in the studio. We consider Anthea as a Change Maker and advocate for women in the law, because in addition to running a successful boutique law firm specialising in all areas of wills and estates, she is known for founding Lawyer Mums Australia, the Facebook forum for Australian lawyer mothers. Boasting 2,762 members and counting, the group offers a safe space for participants to connect with each other about their day-to-day experiences in the profession and as mothers. Anthea’s group is supported by Sharna Clemmett, a Sydney-based Barrister who is administering the Facebook group. 
    Anthea McIntyre has carved out a significant online community that is well-loved by those who are part of it, including our very own Head of Commercial and In-House at Practical Law, Tyrilly Csillag. Tyrilly counts herself as a women lawyer who has reaped the benefits of Lawyer Mums Australia and joined Catherine Roberts, our regular host of the Change Makers Podcast on the program.
    Lawyer Mums Australia was born out of Anthea's experience as a first time Mum and feeling isolated and lonely on 14 July, 2014. At this point in her life, she had a one-year-old and two-year-old and, yet while she loved being a mother, Anthea was missing the mental stimulation of being a corporate lawyer. She was yearning to get back into the legal workforce but couldn’t bring herself to put her little ones into daycare five days a week, because the ‘mother guilt’ was all too real. 
    Anthea plugged ‘lawyer mums’ into Google and the search results were dire. An online formal support group for lawyer mums to connect with each other over their careers simply didn’t exist. So during the lunchtime hour that her babies were sleeping, she set up Lawyer Mums Australia on Facebook and invited three friends. The community grew to 200 in a week and the rest, as they say, is history. 
    “We are a mixture of solicitors, Barristers, in-house counsel, legal consultants, we have Senior Counsel like Jane Needham who was recently on this program...women who are on maternity leave and just want to still feel connected to the legal community. And Gee, I wish I had access to a group like this when I was on...

    • 23 min
    A Push for Gender Equality at the Bar

    A Push for Gender Equality at the Bar

    Jane Needham SC and Kate Eastman SC join Catherine Roberts, Change Makers Podcast Host and Global Strategic Client Director at Thomson Reuters Legal, Asia and Emerging Markets, for episode five, A Push for Gender Equality at the Bar. The program focuses on the conditions experienced among women at the Bar and how the legal profession can do better.Catherine interviews Kate and Jane on a range of topics, from flexibility in the workplace and childcare considerations for Barrister parents - a concept that Jane copped flack for introducing to chambers as the former President of the New South Wales Bar Association some years ago - to bullying and harassment and the future generation of barristers. 
    Both successful Barristers have earned their stripes in the profession with decades of experience and legal accolades tied to their names. Jane was previously President of the NSW Bar Association and her legal expertise has a focus on Equity and Succession Law and has appeared in significant Inquiries and Inquests. They include the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse and the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety.
    Kate’s areas of practice are Employment, Discrimination, and Human Rights. She has been recognised throughout her career with awards including the Women Lawyers’ Association “Change Champion of the Year Award”. Both Barristers have been actively vocal on gender equality and Equitable Briefing and pushed for change on various fronts. 
    When Jane Needham SC became a Barrister some four decades ago, her gender cut a lonely figure at the Bar. Being the only woman in the room was her day to day experience in the profession - whether it was courtroom conference or her legal clients - her colleagues were mostly all men. 
    While the numbers are slightly better than they used to be, the award winning Barrister, who is renowned for striving to make the Bar a better place to work, believes the Bar ought to start looking at appointing more female practitioners into leadership roles rather than just making up gender diverse numbers.
    “I do think that women in leadership is a real challenge for women at the Bar, because there are so few female silks (we have around ten percent of silks who are women). There aren't that many role models, because there just aren't many of us, with one or two [male] appointments and we go under the ten percent again,” she says on the Change Makers Podcast.
    For a young woman whose career ambition is to become a sole practitioner or Barrister, it can be difficult to find a role model. To this, Jane encourages women lawyers to look to the historical achievements of those in the profession who have pushed for progress historically.
    “It's really important to look to the people who've done the work, who've done the hard yards and really fought against much more apparent barriers than we have. I'm thinking of people like the late Jane Matthews [and] Ruth McColl, who has recently retired. They’re leaders who've really made a difference and who've put themselves out there and have achieved, and I think we need to look at that as well as develop the younger women who are coming through.”
    Kate Eastman SC agrees with Jane, citing that there's so few women as Senior Counsel even today.
    “We might make up 10% of all Senior Counsel, but we're actually 1.2% of the entire Bar,” she says. 
    On becoming more vocalUnlike her colleague Jane, Kate’s experience of entering the profession did not involve being the only woman in the room. However, over time she realised how far the profession needed to adapt for Barristers with...

    • 41 min
    Male Agents of Change

    Male Agents of Change

    Change Makers is a global Thomson Reuters initiative that brings together industry leaders committed to improving gender equality and diversity in the legal profession. Catherine Roberts, Strategic Global Client Director at Thomson Reuters Legal in Asia and Emerging Markets, has spoken with a range of compelling thought leaders about the advancement of women in the legal profession.In this episode, Catherine welcomes the first male champion of change to take part in the program, Andrew Stewart, a Partner at Baker McKenzie.
    Andrew is a vocal supporter of gender equality. He demonstrates this commitment through actively participating in Baker McKenzie’s “Male Agents of Change” program, which he helped launch in 2016.
    Change Makers Podcast 4: Male Agents of Change highlights how global law firms, seen in Baker McKenzie’s Male Agents of Change program, are taking steps to ensure progress is made for women in the legal profession. 
    In 2019, Baker McKenzie became the first global law firm to set 40:40:20* gender targets, applying to Partners, senior business professionals, firm committee leadership and candidate pools for recruitment. Andrew is in full support of the move, which aims to get there by July 2025. It is his view that targets are really important, “because not having them hasn’t worked yet”. 
    As the podcast host, Catherine has been curious to hear how Andrew positions the gender equality agenda among his peers. She asks Andrew why it is so important for men to prioritise progress in the profession.
    “I think number one, is that – until we don’t need to have these podcasts, until we don’t need to talk about gender equality – really, this is an issue that men have to commit to working on,” responds Andrew.
    Another topic the interview explores is the uncertainty felt among some in the profession when it comes to mentoring women in the #metoo era. Catherine asks Andrew for his take on this, to which he responds by saying that he struggles to understand those who say the boundaries are blurred.
    “It’s an odd world in which we live, that women who have been discriminated against are going to then be further discriminated against because senior members of the profession don’t feel comfortable in doing what they absolutely must, which is mentor women.“But at a fundamental level, I just don’t believe that people can be confused by it. I think that particularly in the legal profession, for someone to claim that they don’t really understand where the boundary is…I think it is pretty clear that [poor] behaviour is obviously unwanted. If someone says no, or they complain, if you can’t trust yourself, through mentoring someone and having coffees with them, to coach them…There’s something really fundamentally wrong with the way you’re approaching it.”
    RELATED: Change Makers Podcast Episode 2: Gender Diversity from the Perspectives of In-House Lawyers
    Concerns about unconscious bias are often raised in Change Makers Podcasts. Adding to the wider discussion on the issue, Andrew says that he does not hesitate to call out unconscious bias when he sees it, citing “genderised” language such as the “assertive man versus the aggressive woman” as a classic example.
    Did you hear from...

    • 30 min
    LGBTIQ Advocacy in the Legal Profession

    LGBTIQ Advocacy in the Legal Profession

    In this special episode of the Change Makers Podcast, LGBTIQ Advocacy in the Legal Profession, the Co-Chairs of Thomson Reuters Pride at Work delve into transgender diversity and the common law, alongside the importance of wellness among young, LGBTIQ lawyers. Featured are guest hosts Shelley Mulhern, Head of Client Management, and Tim Pollard, Head of Primary Law at Thomson Reuters Legal, Asia and Emerging Markets.
    Together they spoke with Rachael Wallbank, capturing her inspiring story in the lead up to Wear it Purple Day, a day fostering supportive, safe, empowering and inclusive environments for young people.
    Rachael is an Accredited Specialist in family law and principal of Wallbanks, a firm specialising in family law and succession law in New South Wales, Australia. Her story is nothing short of remarkable, both professionally and personally. Between 1999 and 2003, Rachael acted for the successful applicant in a case that made legal history for Transgender people in Australia. 
    RELATED: Thomson Reuters Pride Customer [Video]
    In this particular case, Rachael’s client was a man, originally born female bodied, who was seeking the right to be legally married as a man to his female partner. This had personal significance for Rachael, as in the 1990s she affirmed her female sex. Rachael’s personal experiences and unique perspective enabled her to bring a special quality to her advocacy for her clients in this case. The result of the case was a landmark decision with international effect and is one of her career highlights.
    “It’s one of those examples that you can be involved in legal practice, and suddenly find that what you’re doing has a great deal of importance, to a whole lot of people that really need help. And I think that’s why a lot of us study the law…and enter the legal profession. I was just very fortunate that case came my way”– Rachael Wallbank speaking on the Change Makers PodcastWith research indicating that Transgender people can experience higher levels of stress, mental illness and depression, Rachael offers Tim and Shelley ideas on what she believes would make a difference to improve these outcomes. 
    Thomson Reuters Legal would like to thank Rachael for sharing her story on the Change Makers Podcast.
    This blog was originally published on Legal Insight.

    • 25 min

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