A new video has been released as part of the First 100 Years Initiative that celebrates the history of women in the law.
BY JANE SOUTHWARD A new initiative is bringing together lawyers to celebrate how far women have come in the legal profession since the Women’s Legal Status Act was passed in November 1918, allowing women to practise as lawyers in NSW.
Mary Gaudron made a huge breakthrough in February 1987 when she became the first woman appointed to the High Court of Australia.
It fell upon Marie Beuzeville Byles to be the first woman to be admitted as a legal practitioner in NSW.
Mahla Pearlman followed Anne Plotke on to the Law Society Council in 1976. Pearlman became the Law Society of NSW’s first female president in 1981.
Jean Hill (admitted 1943) was one of three daughters and she would often joke that had there been a son, she would not have studied law and might instead have become a poet.
Veronica Pike had started her career as an articled clerk when her brother, Vincent, was admitted as a solicitor in 1929.
After Marie Byles, only nine other women had been admitted to practise as solicitors in NSW, and four of them practised for a short period or not at all.