Monday, 23 May 2016

Queensland Law Society award an Equity and Diversity Award to Harrington Family Lawyers

On Thursday night I had the privilege to receive on behalf of my firm, Harrington Family Lawyers, an equity and diversity award from the Queensland Law Society.

Three awards were handed out by the Society- Large firm- to Clayton Utz (which recognised that it had LGBTIQ staff members and decided they should be made to feel welcome), Small firm- Miller Harris in Cairns (as 40% of their staff are on flexible work arrangements) and Harrington Family Lawyers- for the small legal practice initiative.

I had previously been told by President Bill Potts:

"The Society found your firm's leadership of the profession in promoting the rights of women and of LGBTI people particularly impressive. In particular, your penning of the Australian Gay and Lesbian Law Blog represents strong and pioneering commitment to the rights of and interests of LGBTI people in Australia ( and doubtless, internationally)."

At the awards ceremony, Bill Potts said that I was "hardworking" and an "ornament".

I said that I had to change my speech in light of events earlier that day. I had been told by a trans woman that allegations were being made of her (i.e. place a child at risk simply because of who she was) that took me back to 1992, when I acted for lesbian mothers, who were often discriminated against, due to their sexuality. It seemed that at some level we had not moved on after all these years.

I also said that when I took my oath of office as a solicitor all those years ago, I was determined to ensure that the law served others- so that the potential of the law- i.e. that all were equal under the law, was able to be met.

Bill Potts said that he hoped for the day that equity and diversity awards were not necessary, because society and the practice of law is fair.

The award comes at a time that I have been nominated for the LGBTIQ Activist of the Year in Queensland. Who is chosen as Activist is based on voting. I am the current Activist of the year.