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  • 23 Feb 2021 12:44 PM | Anonymous

    Following the success of the mentoring program in previous years, the Asian Australian Lawyers Association is excited to announce the launch of the AALA Mentoring Program 2021.

    Objectives of the AALA Mentoring Program

    The AALA Mentoring Program is administered by the National AALA Mentoring Program Committee and aims to:

    provide AALA members with an opportunity to be mentored by more senior members of the legal profession

    assist and encourage those aspiring to reach senior legal professional or leadership positions by providing them with mentoring from respected and more experienced practitioners who support the aims of AALA.

    Apply to be a mentee

    The AALA Mentoring Program is not just open to applicants that are starting their legal career; more senior members of the legal profession seeking a move to the Bar, seeking a senior appointment, seeking to become a partner in a law firm or starting their own firm are welcome to apply.

    To be eligible to be a mentee, the mentee applicant must be a current member of AALA, willing to commit to the AALA Mentoring Program for a period of up to six months and meet the following eligibility criteria for the State or Territory in which they are located:

    NSW and VIC – The mentee applicant must be an admitted lawyer, or a graduate undertaking their traineeship, or practical legal training.

    QLD, WA, ACT, SA and TAS – The mentee applicant must be a penultimate/final year law student, a law graduate, a graduate undertaking their traineeship, or practical legal training, or an admitted lawyer.

    To apply online to be a mentee, please click here

    Expression of interest to be a mentor

    AALA seeks to draw mentors from the middle to senior ranks of the legal profession and include judges, senior and junior barristers, partners and senior associates of law firms, experienced sole practitioners and in-house legal counsel.

    You do not need to be a member of AALA to participate as a mentor.

    All mentors in the AALA Mentoring Program are appointed by the AALA Mentoring Program Committee and may agree to take up more than one mentee as part of the Program.

    To register your interest to be a mentor, please click here


    Applications are now open.

    Applications to be a mentee or submitting your interest to be a mentor will close on COB Thursday, 1 April 2021.

    The AALA Mentoring Program Committee may extend this date in its discretion.

    The AALA Mentoring Program Committee in each State and Territory will review all applications and allocate mentees to a mentor. The allocations will be notified by the AALA Mentoring Program Committee by no later than Monday, 19 April 2021.

    An event will be held in each State and Territory in the last week of April to officially launch the 2021 AALA Mentoring Program. This will give mentees a chance to meet and chat with their mentors. Further information will be provided about the launch in due course.


    The AALA Mentoring Program Committee will aim to match mentees and mentors based on the following factors:

    mentors and mentees will be matched within their own State and Territory

    to the extent possible, aligned with their respective practice areas and manner of practice

    the relevant PQE of the mentee and mentor

    preferences indicated on your application form

    The AALA Mentoring Program Committee will do its best to allocate mentors with mentees. However, this is dependent on the number of participating mentors and mentees and their respective experience and practice area. There is no guarantee that all mentees and mentors will be matched, and no guarantee that your preferences will be met.

    How long does the Program run?

    The AALA Mentoring Program will formally run for six months from the last week of April 2021 to the last week of October 2021. During this period mentees should contact their mentors and arrange to meet on a regular basis as agreed with the mentor. The AALA Mentoring Program Committee will be available to provide guidance to mentors and mentees at all times.

    Once the AALA Mentoring Program formally concludes, individual mentors and mentees are encouraged but are not expected to continue the mentor-mentee relationship.

    It is anticipated that the AALA Mentoring Program will run annually.

    Want to know more?

    For further information please email mentorprogram@aala.org.au

    Or go to

  • 11 Feb 2021 10:15 PM | Anonymous


    Be the Change that You Want to See

    You joined us on our journey across 2020, we bore the burden of COVID-19 together, you stood with us to present and participate in our first National Summit, your feedback from surveys was invaluable.

    We hear you, we are grateful for your volunteer support, we shaped our activities to give you more benefits.

    We will continue to respond to your feedback on how best we can provide members with what they need.

    On behalf of the new expanded National Executive Committee, enlarged from 18 to 22 members, we welcome you.

    We have recently welcomed 3 new Branches in the Australian Capital Territory, South Australia and Tasmania. Their committees have been formed and inaugural events are being announced.

    Welcome to a sea of change with adaptions and new ideas. Prior to the festive and New Year’s break, the Executive Committee crafted the basis for an exciting year of activity, including the following:

    Building our organisational structure - We will be adding new Patrons from overseas and locally to the National body and State and Territory Branches. Announcements will follow.

    Building our capacity for change - The AALA National Summit will be held again in 2021. Last year’s Summit explored our advocacy directions and pondered the basis for future action and workshops. As a result, AALA will collaborate with a number of stakeholders to define the future shape of access to law, judicial appointments and collaboration for diverse legal networks.

    Building our voice and power - AALA is committed to engaging with government and industry panels at hearings and inquiries. William Ah Ket Scholars will become the founding block to generate submissions and to be participants.

    Building your skills - AALA will offer members opportunities to learn and practise leadership, take charge and build interpersonal skills. We will be innovative and make these opportunities available to all our members. Such training sessions will cover a range of topics, including:

    Finding your unique self and developing your own particular career personality

    How to work the cocktail circuit (including virtual networking), deliver public presentations, moderate discussion groups and craft memorable speeches.

    Building our communication -

    Developing the online AALA Members' Blackboard to light up and grow our membership of 1,000 and opening up our internal connections to facilitate professional and work opportunities with members

    Finding out what you want through regular member and event surveys

    Keeping open a good dialogue with all members over Q&A and encouraging greater direct interaction with the National & Branch Committees.

    Providing opportunities for new positions for project and event volunteers at National level and Branch levels. This will give you the opportunity and experience to discuss diversity plans and deliver projects for our fast developing association. The Executive Committee and all 7 State and Territory Branch committees (all up over 100 member volunteers) are active in areas of event planning, media and messaging, sponsorship, membership, marketing and design, administration and governance, website and IT management, financial management, communications at all levels and liaising with many people in the legal industry.

    Above all, AALA is here for you in facing the challenges together!

    - Kingsley Liu


    There was an unexpected 5-day lockdown last week in Perth and its surrounding regions. As a result, the AALA WA Lunar New Year Dinner scheduled for 5 February 2021 has been postponed to 12 March 2021. All other details remain the same. We look forward to our belated celebrations with you!


    Please come celebrate the official launch of the AALA SA Branch and network with other AALA SA members.

    Thursday 25 February 2021 - 5.30pm to 8.00pm Adelaide time - Kosho, 26 O’Connell Street, North Adelaide 5006 - Guest speaker: Her Honour Magistrate Jayanthi McGrath

    Free for AALA members and non AALA members - Canapés and drinks will be provided free for AALA members.

    For non AALA members, canapés provided but pay for your own drinks.

    Please note that we have reached maximum capacity and are no longer accepting registrations, although you can join the waitlist.


    We are pleased to announce that AALA has formally established an inaugural AALA Branch in Tasmania!

    We will have more to announce about an official launch event soon. In the meantime, if you wish to get involved, please contact:

    AALA Tas Branch President Jessica Sabapathy at tas@aala.org.au

    AALA Tas Branch Secretary Diane Xu at tas@aala.org.au.


    NSW March Madness

    The NSW March Madness Series is hosted between 1 - 31 March and provides a series of opportunities for practitioners to gain their last-minute Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points. The majority of the events will be available online via Zoom and we encourage our Members from across Australia to tune in. While the CPD Points will only be available to NSW practitioners or eligible practitioners interstate, this is an opportunity to keep up to date and connect with your colleagues in NSW.

    NSW Diversity Series

    Partner with the NSW Committee to host an event for the Diversity Series: Following on the success of the inaugural 2019 Diversity Series, the NSW Committee is inviting practitioners, firms and organisations to join as event partners in hosting an event that has a specific focus on any aspect of intersectional diversity. The objective of these events is to unite the community and give the audience an opportunity to listen, share and learn. Submit your EOI to nsw@aala.org.au by 26 February 2021.

    NSW President's Message

    Meet the NSW Committee of 2021 and take a glimpse at the NSW Committee's plans for the year by reading the NSW President's New Year Message.


    The Qld Branch of AALA has come across another amazing production and would like to share this with our members – The Welcome, created by La Boite and Kiosk (airing January – September).

    The Welcome is a collection of life-affirming short films entailing 9 storytellers from diverse backgrounds sharing their honest and authentic stories about their migrant and refugee experiences and what it means to belong in Australia.

    The Welcome is an extension of La Boite’s critically acclaimed 2020 stage production, The Neighbourhood. AALA Qld Branch hosted an event night at La Boite for the viewing of The Neighbourhood in early 2020 and received positive feedbacks from those who attended the night.

    The Welcome screens across multiple digital platforms, in recognition and celebration of Queensland’s diverse communities and can be accessed via La Boite’s website at https://laboite.com.au/the-welcome.

    Join AALA or renew your membership now


    The AALA Members’ Blackboard is an interactive online discussion forum where members can post anything they would like to share with other members, such as:

    Job advertisements

    Expressions of interest for career opportunities

    Expressions of interest to assist with any particular areas of legal work

    Expressions of interest to collaborate with other practitioners

    Legal industry news

    Health and wellbeing issues

    Cultural diversity issues

    The AALA Members’ Blackboard can be accessed via the following link:


    Log on to Blackboard


  • 11 Feb 2021 10:02 PM | Anonymous


    Please sign up for our AALA events in February and March:

    AALA VIC Lunar New Year Celebrations 2021 - 23 Feb 2021 6:00 PM - City of Melbourne Bowls Club, Flagstaff Gardens, Dudley Street, West Melbourne- register here

    AALA NSW Lunar New Year Event - 23 Feb 2021 6:00 PM - Nakano Darling Square, 14 Steam Mill Lane, Haymarket - register here

    SA AALA Branch Launch - 25 Feb 2021 5:30 PM (UTC+10:30) - Kosho, 26 O'Connell Street, North Adelaide, SA 5006 - register here

    AALA FQL Drafting Workshop with Sue Tomat of GumLeafGreen - 25 Feb 2021 6:00 PM Zoom meeting (dial-in details provided upon registration) - register here

    AALA WA - Lunar New Year Banquet 2021 - 12 Mar 2021 6:45 PM (UTC+08:00) The Karingal Room, Melbourne Hotel, 33 Milligan Street, Perth - register here

    Join AALA or renew your membership now

  • 21 Jan 2021 9:57 PM | Anonymous

    ASEAN Environmental Law Conference, 27-29 January 2021

    Stories and Solutions in Challenging Times 

    Members are invited to attend the ASEAN Environmental Law Conference to be held 27-29 January 2021, entirely via Zoom.

    This terrific event, hosted by the Asian Research Institute for Environmental Law features speakers from across Southeast Asia, including the Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, Indonesia, Singapore and Australia.

    ASEAN is currently facing many significant environmental and social challenges. We are bringing together experts to share stories, of both success and failure, and to examine potential legal, policy and community based actions to create some action on these environmental challenges.

    The Conference will also aim to foster networks and collaborative approaches to environmental problem solving.

    For further information and program 

    Registration is free, although a donation is encouraged. Details are attached and here

    To register

  • 14 Jan 2021 5:57 PM | Anonymous

    Asian Australian underrepresentation in the legal profession survey and study

    Mr Jim Tong, a student at the UNSW is currently drafting an empirical thesis examining the underrepresentation of Asian Australians in the legal profession. The thesis is being supervised by Professor Rosalind Dixon.

    The thesis intends to shed light on the experiences of Asian Australians working within the legal profession to create an empirical grounding for a broader conversation about the nuanced challenges that Asian Australian lawyers face and the possibility for reform.

    As part of this thesis, Mr Tong has created a survey to distribute to AALA members. This will be used to more accurately determine the causative factors leading to underrepresentation within the law and will be contrasted with experiences of Asian Australians in other comparable industries.

    If you have a minute, please access and complete the survey here

    If you have any questions, please let AALA or Mr Tong know 

  • 03 Jan 2021 4:02 PM | Anonymous

    2021 NSW President's Message

    ‘…I think of the words of Dr. Maya Angelou: “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.”

    Doing our best now is an active thing, and so is knowing better. We don’t show up and then wait to magically know better. 

    We show up and then, when we are corrected, we keep working. 

    We listen hard so we can know better next time. We seek out teachers so we can know better next time. 

    We let burn our ideas about how good and well-meaning we are so we can become better next time. 

    Learning to know better is a commitment…the fact that the programmed poison of racism was pumped into us may not be our fault, but getting it out is sure[ly] our responsibility.’

    Untamed: Stop pleasing, start living Glennon Doyle.

    In 2017, I joined the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA). As a student, I was attracted to the diversity of events that AALA hosted and was delighted to find so much in common with so many people. In the NSW Branch of AALA, I found people who profoundly held dear to their hearts the history of their peoples and community; people who I could share jokes with about our parent’s odd traditions and quirks of being first/second generation Australians; and, most importantly, people who were equally perplexed and angry at the system of law and justice we have inherited.

    In 2019, I was elected by my peers to serve as the Secretary to the NSW Committee with Wai-Kaey Soon as President.

    Collectively, our Committee was dedicated to three key objectives. The first of the 2019 objectives was to increase our student membership. Fellow Committee member and now National Secretary Matthew Floro, launched the National University Subcommittee and I sat as the NSW Representative to this Subcommittee, tailoring our events and marketing to students. The second and third objectives were to increase our member engagement and rejuvenate our connections with our corporate sponsors. These objectives were surely achieved with the NSW Committee's launch of the inaugural Diversity Series. A six-part series, each hosted by a key corporate sponsor, exploring, targeting and discussing different aspects of "diversity and inclusion." These events were used as a mentorship opportunity to train and nurture our Committee members, encouraging leadership and creativity. 

    The Committee’s success in 2019 formed a strong platform for our outreach in 2020…until COVID came and then our game plan for the Year of the Pandemic quickly changed and adapted. Although 2020 may have thrown AALA off our usual game plan, it launched us on a trajectory back to what we do best: supporting our Members. We held more virtual events, connected more people and welcomed many new faces to the Committee for 2021 and it is with this energy that the NSW Committee welcomes you.

    I introduce to you the NSW Committee of 2021:

    This year, we invite you to engage with our NSW Committee by joining one or all of our NSW Subcommittees:

    1. Student Subcommittee

      Is the perfect Subcommittee if you are a student and would like to get to know AALA and/or host collaborative events between your university society and AALA. This Subcommittee also encourages practitioners who would like to ‘give back’ and engage with students on a more direct level to join as a liaison between practitioners and students, mentors or guest speakers.

    2. Foreign Qualified Lawyers Subcommittee

      This Subcommittee is well suited for practitioners and students who have studied overseas and/or are foreign qualified. This Subcommittee was launched by NSW Branch Members, Kripi Bhatt and Gillian Woon who are both foreign qualified lawyers and are passionate about easing the transition into the Australian legal profession.

    3. Policy and Data Subcommittee 

      This is the newest Subcommittee of the NSW Branch and welcomes those who wish to contribute to the research and collection of data to build a more informed picture of the legal profession. The objective of this Subcommittee is to strengthen the standing of AALA as a leading advocate for diversity and change in the legal profession.

    To join any of the above NSW Subcommittees, you must be a current AALA Member. Joining a subcommittee is a great way to get to know AALA and the NSW Committee and can prepare you to join the NSW Committee as a formal Branch Member.

    An invite to collaborate with the NSW Committee:

    Are you a leader in your organisation? Do you have a story to share? Do you have a skill-set or the passion to teach and build a stronger legal community? There are two ways you can collaborate with AALA and the NSW Committee this year:

    1. HOST a March Madness Event: Each year, the NSW Committee host a series of CPD events from 1 – 31 March 2021. We are asking for Members to host a virtual CPD Event, on any applicable topic. You can choose a personal passion topic or specialisation and use this as an opportunity to build your confidence and networks. The March Madness Events are open to the public to attend. Submit your EOI to nsw@aala.org.au by 22 January 2021.

    2. PARTNER with us for a Diversity Series Event: Following on the success of the inaugural 2019 Diversity Series, the NSW Committee is inviting practitioners, firms and organisations to join as event partners in hosting an event that has a specific focus on any aspect of intersectional diversity. The objective of these events is to unite the community and give the audience an opportunity to listen, share and learn.  Submit your EOI to nsw@aala.org.au by 26 February 2021.

    As the first female President of the NSW Branch, I am honoured to have been elected by my peers and colleagues to lead the NSW Branch into the new year. Passionate about intersectional diversity, this year my personal goal is to do better. I have this same goal for AALA and the Members I serve. The NSW Committee has a goal to do better in servicing our Members and our wider community. We know we cannot do it alone and by showing up more and having more conversations, we can learn more. I ask you to reflect and define what your better is and join us as we do better, together.

    Individual and corporate memberships are available. SIGN UP today as an official Member of the Asian Australian Lawyers Association and join us as we forge a vision for a more united, just and representative legal profession.

    "The NSW Committee has a goal to do better in servicing our Members and our wider community. We know we cannot do it alone and by showing up more and having more conversations, we can learn more. I ask you to reflect and define what your better is and join us as we do better, together."



    Follow AALA on LinkedIn and Facebook.

  • 23 Dec 2020 1:47 PM | Anonymous

    On 16 December, the WA Branch of the AALA held its first session in its Superwomen Series: ‘In Conversation with Cheryl Chan’.

    The event was held jointly with the Corrs Women In Business Group and was generously sponsored and hosted by Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

    WA Branch President, Belinda Wong, interviewed Cheryl, who is Legal Counsel, Asia Pacific at BP Australia, about her unique career journey and highlights, spearheading diversity and inclusion in the professional world and advice for up and coming practitioners.

    An inspirational evening was had by all.

  • 22 Dec 2020 10:31 AM | Anonymous

    A profession for the wealthy? The enduring problem for diversity in law

    by Kate Allman, LSJ Online, 1 December, 2020

    It is said that those who come to equity must come with clean hands. But what of those who come to the law with empty pockets? Statistically speaking, most lawyers in Australia come with pockets lined by wealthy families and relatively privileged backgrounds. In comparison, prospective lawyers from low socio-economic circumstances battle systemic biases and disadvantage. Until this changes, the legal profession cannot hope to achieve true diversity.

    Read full article

  • 17 Dec 2020 6:55 AM | Anonymous

    2021 National Digital Events Series - invitation to members

    The National Digital Events Series was launched in 2020 and has gained significant attention as an accessible, attractive and practical mode of engagement, and skill and profile building, and CPD. 

    The 2021 AALA National Digital Events Series will provide members with an exciting range of webinars on CPD topics and diversity themes.

    The series gives members the opportunity to present a virtual and when possible 'live' or 'hybrid' CPD event on any topic relevant to an area of practice, or a diversity theme, as well as to collect CPD points. 

    We ask members to submit an Expression of Interest to present and lead a discussion, workshop or presentation. If there any topics that you would like covered by the series, please also let us know. So that we can start organizing our 2021 program we ask you to contact us by 7 February, 2021

    To submit your EOI or for further information contact Matt or John at: events@aala.org.au

    Read flyer

  • 12 Dec 2020 5:44 PM | Anonymous

    Addressing diversity in the profession (while still a student) by Naomi Neilson, Lawyers Weekly, 30 November 2020

    By year two of law school, Chimnonyerem Duru felt overlooked by teachers and peers, and was largely disadvantaged because of her race. To prevent others from having the same fate, she created an organisation aimed at addressing and promoting diversity in law.

    From law schools through to courtrooms, the legal profession has a very obvious issue with diversity: it’s rare to find it. After years spent being overlooked, ignored and largely disadvantaged due to her race, Chimnonyerem Duru developed African Legal Connect Australia (ALCA) to create a space for African lawyers to connect and succeed in law.

    Speaking on the second episode of The Protégé Podcast, Ms Duru said it was the little things during her first few years of law school that really set a devastating standard for the profession and inspired her to design an organisation where it did not exist.

    To read further

    Listen to the entire interview here!

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