Cultural diversity in the legal profession

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Just over three per cent of partners in law firms and 1.6 per cent of barristers have Asian backgrounds, according to research by the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA).

To address the challenge of a bamboo ceiling in the profession, Dr Katie Spearritt recently joined a panel discussion hosted by AALA and the Association of Corporate Counsel (Australia) that included the Hon Robin Scott MP, Victoria’s Minister for Multicultural Affairs.

Spearritt shared some of the types of unconscious biases in law firms that limit them from making the most of the benefits of diversity – of cultural background, gender, age, and other dimensions. She emphasised the importance of decisive and coordinated action to challenge some of the Western-centric models of leadership that prevail in law firms and Australian businesses generally.

The Law Institute Journal recently featured a number of articles about the importance of cultural diversity for the legal profession and tips for doing business with clients from different cultures. These tips and insights are relevant to all leaders.