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Annual Report 2018 - 2019

Workforce diversity and equity

Of 1,326 staff, 227 told us that they were from a multicultural background and 73 told us that they had a disability.

OBJECTIVE: A highly capable workforce

Recognition as a disability-confident recruiter

Legal Aid NSW achieved Disability Confident Recruitment status. This is an accreditation that is awarded to leading Australian organisations who understand the benefits of a diverse workforce and are committed to ensuring their recruitment and selection processes are accessible to people with disability. Under our Diversity and Inclusion Plan 2018–19, we aim to lift the proportion of employees identified as having disability to eight percent by December 2019. This year the proportion of staff with disability was 5.5 percent.

Specific adjustments have been made to our recruitment process to ensure our accreditation as a Disability Confident Recruiter. These include:

  • web content accessibility for people with disability
  • encouragement of candidates with disability to apply
  • reasonable adjustments to application, interview and assessment processes
  • preferred method of communication
  • access to premises
  • non-discriminatory assessment processes, and
  • expanding on job boards posted on Toozly.

Women in the legal profession – equitable briefing

Legal Aid NSW has adopted the Law Council of Australia’s National Model Gender Equitable Briefing Policy, under which we aim to brief women in at least 30 percent of all matters and pay 30 percent of the value of all brief fees to women by 2020. In 2018–19, the proportion of Legal Aid NSW files with female barristers was 38 percent.

Legal Aid NSW is also a member of the Law Society of NSW’s Charter for the Advancement of Women in the Legal Profession, which commits us to introducing initiatives that promote and support women in the legal profession.

In 2019 we facilitated the Crime Women’s Mentoring Program, in which criminal solicitors were matched with barrister mentors to support and encourage their career progression.

Supporting our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff

We developed an ambitious employment strategy under which we aim to lift the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at Legal Aid NSW to 11 percent.

Working towards this target will help us ensure our workforce better reflects the communities we serve. This year, 15.7 percent of our clients identified as Aboriginal. Among criminal law clients, this rose to 16.2 percent.

Under the Legal Aid NSW Aboriginal Employment and Career Development Strategy 2018–2023, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees will be strategically placed throughout the organisation and in areas with high Aboriginal populations and legal needs. The strategy also aims to increase mentoring opportunities, provide additional support and guidance for hiring managers and ensure recruitment processes are culturally appropriate.

The strategy document incorporates a work from Brungle artist Luke Penrith, entitled Lore and Law. Mr Penrith traces his ancestry through the Wiradjuri, Wotjobaluk, Yuin and Gumbaynggirr nations. His work explores how dual systems of lore and law continue to govern the lives of many Aboriginal people, the vital role that Aboriginal Elders play within their communities, the journeys that Aboriginal people take as they make their way through our justice system, and the Aboriginal legal professionals who support them along the way.

Luke Penrith artwork

Lore and Law – an artwork from Brungle artist Luke Penrith

We had previously committed to lift the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander employees at Legal Aid NSW to 6 percent. We met this target in 2017–18 and maintained it in 2018–19.

Year ahead iconThe year ahead

  • We will seek to lift the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff in our organisation to 11 percent.
  • We will seek to lift the proportion of employees identified as having disability to 8 percent.