eJournal Women in Law 2020

eJournal Women in Law 2020


Alix Frank-Thomasser, President of The Women in Law Initiative

The Women in Law Initiative (WiL), based in Central Europe, is organized through the Austrian NPO Women in Law – Frauen im Recht (an association under Austrian law). I am Dr. Alix Frank-Thomasser, attorney-at-law and president of WiL, which I founded in 2018.

Women in Law strives to connect women (and male allies) in all fields of law and offers them a platform to discuss current issues, learn from each other, and network across industry sectors and borders. We endeavor to open previously closed doors for women, improve the situation for women in the legal professions, and strengthen female leadership. We connect not only practitioners, but also researchers and scholars, from law students to retired lawyers.

The initiative has gained wide acceptance and operates under the patronage of UNESCO.  We are thankful for the great support of our many sponsors and partners.

In March 2019, we hosted our First International Conference in Vienna, which was attended by distinguished participants and speakers from all over the world. The Second International Women in Law Conference will take place in Vienna, Austria from September 9-11, 2021.

With our Justitia Awards, we would like to honor outstanding female lawyers from around the globe.

Franz J. Heidinger, Secretary-General of the Justitia Awards

The Justitia Awards honor outstanding female laureates of all legal professions in one of three categories:

International Leaders / Lifetime Award

This category celebrates the most talented and impactful women in the legal professions, and recognizes their achievements and contributions to society. The nominee is “the” outstanding woman of the year, demonstrating excellence as the most innovative and groundbreaking lifetime achiever.

Academia

The nominee should have made a significant impact, delivered qualitatively and/or quantitatively measurable tangible results relative to the invested resources, and influenced demonstrable changes in attitudes, beliefs, and practices towards gender equality in legal professions.

Young Achievers / Game Changers / Pioneers

The nominee is a game-changer who has had an impact on the promotion of innovative approaches resulting in opportunities for Women in Law or a young legal professional, who has shattered the glass ceiling in her field. This includes new ways of working when “business as usual” has failed and innovative “out-of-the-box” solutions have succeeded. She has demonstrated innovation in terms of the topics covered; the methodology employed; the channels used to create opportunities; and/or other aspects.

The Justitia Laureates’ Selection Committee has reviewed each nomination for the Justitia Awards, shortlisted the finalists, and selected the laureates of the categories for the Justitia Awards 2020.

Justitia Awards 2021

The 2021 Justitia Awards Ceremony will take place during the Second International Women in Law Conference on September 10, 2021.

Nomination process:

  1. Go to www.justitia-award.at
  2. Download and fill in the nomination form
  3. Include CV and signature of nominee
  4. Email completed nomination to nominations@justitia-award.at
  5. Receive confirmation of nomination

All nominations submitted must include the following documents:

The nomination form must specify the award category/categories, give a reason for the nomination, and be duly signed.

An abridged curriculum vitae (limited to two A4 pages) of the nominee with all experience and achievements relevant for the respective category.

The application process is open from November 20, 2020. The final deadline to submit applications is April 30, 2021. Only materials received before the deadline will be considered by the selection committee.

Women in Law Conference 2021

The Women in Law Initiative connects female legal professionals and thought leaders from all around the globe and will offer an exceptional meeting platform in the heart of Europe at the University of Vienna, Austria from September 9 – 11, 2021.

Participants:

from freshmen year to retirement,

all legal professions: lawyers, notaries public, in-house counsel, judges, researchers and scientists, civil servants, etc.,

male allies of the cause,

creating an international network of (prospective) legal professionals in both academia and the legal industry.

The focus areas and sessions are

  1. bias: conscious or unconscious – creating awareness and dealing with it,
  2. flexibility and agility: strengths and weaknesses of modern working environments,
  3. diversity / inclusion / intersectionality: going beyond gender,
  4. threats: physical and mental health, multiple responsibilities, etc.,
  5. reaching the top: overcoming obstacles on the way to becoming a partner, director, or board member.

From theory to practice

5 sessions with one introductory lecture, panel, and workshop each:

lecture and panel: theoretical input by experts,

workshop: interactive learning & best practice.

Participants can attend two sessions (morning and afternoon).


The Justitia Laureates’ Selection Committee has reviewed each nomination for the Justitia Awards, shortlisted the finalists, and selected the laureates of the categories for the Justitia Awards 2020.

Dr.in Alix Frank-Thomasser

President of the Women in Law Initiative

Lawyer, author, and co-founder of Euréseau. Member of the Managing Board of the Viennese Bar, Austria, and a member of the Austrian Delegation to the CCBE. Chair of the CCBE CSR Committee. Holds the Golden Honor for services to the Republic of Austria.

Dr.in Raffaela Zillner LL.M.

Board member Juristenverband

Lawyer, Master’s in Information Law and Media Law. Currently working as general secretary at the Austrian Association for Betting and Gambling. Member of the Austrian Lawyer’s Association Committee, where she stands up for gender equality in various legal industries.

Dr. Rupert Wolff

President of the Austrian Bar (ÖRAK)

Lawyer, certified court interpreter for the Italian language. More than 30 years of experience in the legal field and is practicing law in Austria and Italy. From 1992 until 2011, he was a member of the Austrian delegation to CCBE. President of the Austrian Bar since 2011. Holds the Grand Honor for services to the Republic of Austria.

Dr.in Julia Valsky

Head of Group Diversity Management, Erste Group Bank AG

Doctorate in sociology and graduated from the Diplomatic Academy Vienna and the London School of Economics. Former spokeswoman for the Minister of Women’s Affairs and former chief of staff in the Federal Ministry of Education and the Austrian Mission to the OECD in Paris.

Prof.in Dr.in Sonja Bydlinski, MBE

Head of Department at the Ministry of Justice

Lawyer for over 35 years, Master’s Degree in Business Administration since 2012. Head of the Unit for Business and Company Law at the Ministry of Justice since 1999. Honorary Professor at the Vienna University of Economics and Business since 2007.

Timothy Wilson, OBE

Chief Executive MSI Global Alliance

Former director of an international charity. Served in the British Army for 27 years. He was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for leadership in Iraq and is a member of Her Majesty’s Body Guard of The Honourable Corps of Gentlemen at Arms.

RA Prof. MMag. Franz J. Heidinger LL.M (Virginia)

Secretary-General of the Justitia Awards

Practicing lawyer since 1995. More than 30 years of teaching experience at various universities in Austria and abroad. Secretary-General of the Justitia Awards.


EWLA

The special prize for organizations has gone to the European Women Lawyers’ Association EWLA. This extraordinary organization was founded 20 years ago, when on June 4, 1998, a colloquium, organized by the British Council brought together more than 100 women lawyers from Europe and elsewhere to discuss the hardships women face while working in the legal field. The European Women Lawyers’ Association has been representing the Voices of Women Lawyers Across Europe ever since.

The European Women Lawyers Association (EWLA) is registered in Belgium as an international non-governmental, non-profit, association (Association Sans But Lucratif). It is a federation of national women lawyers’ associations from amongst the European Union countries and those of EFTA countries. Members of EWLA are also individual female lawyers and academics from these countries. EWLA pursues the co-operation of European women lawyers to combine their specific expertise in monitoring law and politics seen from the angle of fundamental rights, and, in particular, gender equality.

EWLA aims to improve the understanding of European legislation in terms of equality, with particular reference to women, and its effects. To understand the effects on female lawyers, EWLA undertakes studies, research, and holds conferences together with European women lawyers, inter alia with organizations and institutions inside and outside of Europe with a view to achieving equality of rights and opportunities.

EWLA brings together women lawyers across the European Union, for instance through the closest possible contact with bars, law societies, associations of women lawyers, faculties, and schools of legal education and research, both on a national and international level and with European or other public authorities. By encouraging meetings, cooperation, and understanding between women lawyers, the links between EU female lawyers are strengthened.

Women´s interests in the institutions of the European Union in all women´s issues, in general, and in the legal field, in particular, are represented and defended without prejudice to the principal scientific and pedagogical character of EWLA.

EWLA is part of The European Law Institute, The European Movement International, and The Berkley Center on Comparative Equality and Anti-Discrimination Law. The EWLA Network is also constantly expanding, and the member associations of the organization include the German, French, Irish, and Spanish lawyers’ association, the “Women in a Legal World” Network, and the “Women in Law” Initiative.

Dame Janet Gaymer

“(…) In 1998 EWLA concluded that women lawyers continued to face many challenges and obstacles in their careers, such as combining motherhood with practice, and sexual harassment. More needed to be done. (…) Over the next two years, EWLA was created, culminating in a conference in Berlin in 2000. At that conference, issues faced by women lawyers, such as unequal pay, were identified – issues which continue to be of relevance today in the practice of law. This is why EWLA continues to play an important role in giving a voice to women lawyers. As one of the founders of EWLA, I am delighted to have had the privilege of helping that voice to be heard.”

Dame Janet founded and was the head of the employment department of the international law firm, Simmons & Simmons. She also founded the UK and European Employment Lawyer Associations.

In 2001 Dame Janet became the Senior Partner of Simmons & Simmons and, in 2006, was appointed Commissioner for Public Appointments and Civil Service Commissioner. Since then, she has held several appointments in the public and private sectors.

Cherie Blair

 “Promoting women in the law both nationally and internationally is incredibly important to me.  The Women in Law Initiative creates an environment for women lawyers to inspire and encourage one another. It is organizations like this that help enable equality and positive changes for ourselves and those who aspire to be the lawyers of the future.”

Cherie set up the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women in 2008 to help women build small and growing businesses in Africa, South Asia, and the Middle East in order for them to be able to contribute to their economies and have a stronger voice in their societies.

Mrs. Blair is a member of ICRW’s leadership council, Ambassador for the GSMA Connected WomenProgramme, President of the Loomba Foundation, Ambassador for Scope, and the Trustee of Africa Justice Foundation. She is also Vice-Chair of the US Secretary of State’s International Council for Women’s Business Leadership and Honorary Chair of the World Justice Project. A firm believer in the transformative power of education, Cherie has been Chancellor of AUW (Asian University for Women) since 2011.

Margaret McCabe

“I founded the EWLA as it fell to me to take responsibility to set the agenda for a level playing field. I knew (then as now) that women in Europe need to stand united as decisions are made that affect them, children and the vulnerable. No person is above the law and it is women who will ensure this is achieved.

Margaret is a barrister with substantial business knowledge, which she gained during more than 20 years working in Commercial Law. Additionally, she has a good working knowledge of European and International Law as well as an in-depth understanding of the City of London and regulatory matters.

The CEO and Founder of Debate Mate – a fun, innovative, global social enterprise, which is revolutionizing education by a program skilling up young people with 21st-century skills in reparation for the automation of work – Margaret is working towards achieving education for all and everywhere. Ms McCabe was the first runner up in the 2018 Yidan prize for education.


WIL goes Academic

In 2020, women in most “western” countries have been permitted to study and practice law for a century. They play a vital role in all legal professions but are still underrepresented in most of them.

The Women in Law Initiative (WiL) is offering the “Women in Legal Professions – Contemporary Issues” course at the University of Vienna to analyze the current situation of women in legal professions and raise awareness among female students and male allies regarding the challenges and obstacles women face in their legal careers. It is a unique opportunity to systematically focus on these issues.

The focus areas and sessions are:

bias: conscious or unconscious – creating awareness and dealing with it,

flexibility and agility: strengths and weaknesses of modern working environments,

diversity / inclusion / intersectionality: going beyond gender,

threats: physical and mental health, multiple responsibilities, etc.,

reaching the top: overcoming obstacles on the way to becoming a partner, director, or board member.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Women in Law course had to be adapted to online learning. It is in full swing and we are confident that we will gain truly relevant input from the next generation.


Nominees

Brigitte Bierlein – Making history as the first female Chancellor of Austria

“The Women in Law Initiative is a network of empowerment that will enable us to achieve everything we want.”

Brigitte Bierlein

Dr. Brigitte Bierlein was born in Vienna on June 25, 1949, and attended school there. In 1967 she took her school-leaving examination at the High School in Vienna’s third district and studied law at the University of Vienna, where she obtained a doctorate in law (Dr. iur.) in 1971. After taking the judge’s examination in 1975, she became a judge at District Court Innere Stadt (1st District) and the District Tribunal (“Strafbezirksgericht”) of Vienna. From 1977 on, she was a prosecutor at the Public Prosecutors’ Office of Vienna and from 1977 to 1979 she was a member of the Austrian Food Codex Commission (“Lebensmittel-Codexkommission”). In 1986, Brigitte Bierlein joined the Senior Public Prosecutors’ office of Vienna and in 1987, she joined the Department for Criminal Law at the Federal Ministry of Justice before returning to the Senior Public Prosecutor´s Office in Vienna. Brigitte Bierlein was Advocate General at the General Prosecutors’ Office (“Generalprokuratur”) at the Supreme Court from 1990 to 2002 and was a member of the board of examiners for judges and prosecutors at Higher Regional Court Vienna between 1990 and 2010. From 1995 on, she was a member of the executive board of the Association of Austrian Public Prosecutors (“Vereinigung Österreichischer Staatsanwältinnen und Staatsanwälte”) and was its president from 2001 to 2003. From 2001 to 2004, she was a member of the executive board of the International Association of Public Prosecutors (IAP).

Brigitte Bierlein held the office of Vice-President of the Constitutional Court from 2003 to February 22, 2018, and from February 23, 2018 to June 2, 2019, she was the President of the Constitutional Court. As the first woman in Austria’s history, Brigitte Bierlein was Federal Chancellor of the Republic of Austria from June 3, 2019, to January 7, 2020.

Christina Blacklaws – inspiring women in the business world with her passion and commitment

“In these times of crisis, this initiative is even more vital. We must continue to promote, support, and celebrate Women in Law and those exceptional men who truly understand that gender equality is good for 100% of us, not just 50%. I feel immensely honored to be shortlisted and to be part of this great movement.“

Christina Blacklaws

Former President of The Law Society of England & Wales. Runs her own consultancy business “Blacklaws Consulting”. Award-winning published author, speaker, lecturer, and frequent media commentator.

Christina Blacklaws studied Jurisprudence at Oxford and qualified as a solicitor in 1991. She has developed and managed law firms, including a virtual law firm, and set up the first ABS with the Co-op. More recently, she was Director of Innovation at a top 100 firm.

She now runs her own consultancy business providing strategic advice particularly in the area of transformational change, technological developments, and diversity and inclusion to international and domestic law firms and legal businesses.

She holds a range of public appointments including chair of the LawTech UK Panel, chair of the Next Generation Services Advisory Group, part of Innovate UK, and member of the Legal Support Advisory Group.

Christina was President of the Law Society of England and Wales until July 2019, and performed a vast range of ambassadorial and representative functions both domestically and internationally.

She is passionate about diversity and inclusion, technology, and access to justice and uses every opportunity to advocate and progress positive change in these areas.

On diversity and inclusion, Christina has developed and lead a program focused on women in leadership positions in the legal field. The project produced the largest ever global survey on the issue, two toolkits which supported over 250 roundtables in 19 jurisdictions and led to 3 insight reports and a Women in Law Pledge which was supported by the government and all legal representative bodies.

Christina represents the Women Lawyers Division and is an active committee member. She also sits on the Thomson Reuters Women in Law Advisory Board and the Advisory Board of the Insuring Women’s Futures of the Chartered Insurance Institute, which is working towards improving women’s lifelong financial resilience and some of the root causes of women’s pensions deficits. As well as being a multi-award-winning published author in the areas of innovation, diversity, and inclusion, Christina is also a speaker, lecturer, and frequent media commentator.

Kathleen Hlaleni Dlepu Matolo – A bold risk-taker who made gender equality and justice her mission

“When my partner, Daisy Molefe, and I opened our women-owned law firm in 1992, I knew it was a risk, but one that I was willing to take because it was for the right reasons. We wanted to ensure that young women in the profession did not face the challenges we did when we first started out. We wanted to create a safe space for young women to learn and be trained without enduring the harsh treatment from the predominantly male profession.”

Director, Molefe Dlepu Incorporated Attorneys

Hlaleni Kathleen Dlepu Matolo was born in the township of Alexandra in January 1958, the oldest of 3 daughters. When she was only 2 years old, her parents moved to the small, rural village of Kranspoort to stay with grandparents due to rising tensions in the townships in the major cities at the time.

Growing up she committed herself to fighting inequality for the benefit of her grandparents and her people. She made transformation her primary focus in everything that she did. First for black people and then for women – fighting for gender equality. This is how law became her first love. Women’s empowerment and gender equality became her true purpose.

Being appointed to the Law Society of the Northern Provinces as one of the first women lawyers of color was a defining moment in her career, even though it came with many challenges. At the helm of the South African legal profession, Hlaleni Kathleen Dlepu Matolo is a female practicing attorney, conveyancer, notary public, philanthropist, national leader, and role model. As a change-maker in South Africa at the highest level, she has dedicated her life to the transformation of the legal profession lobbying inclusivity, driving gender parity, and advocating sustainable skills development at an institutional, organizational and legislative level through the various formal platforms she been directly and indirectly involved in.

Kathleen participated in making inputs focused on the empowerment of women in the legal profession with the Black Lawyers’ Association. This was done through the formation of a gender committee.

Rehana Khan Parker – Building a global sisterhood that helps each other rise, grow, and flourish

“It is an honor and privilege to be shortlisted as a nominee in the Women in Law Initiative’s prestigious Justitia Awards. As a lawyer with 27 years standing in South Africa, the fact that I have been nominated means a lot to me as it is the first international recognition for me in my capacity as a lawyer. Whilst my work embraces Public International Law, Constitutional and Human Rights Law, there remains a great deal of work to be done in terms of the issues faced by women in the profession. This platform fosters a sisterhood; it realizes global discussions on how to champion the role of women domestically to internationally; connects continents, finds paths, dissects our intersections and shares our experiences on what best approaches to adopt in striving for parity. More important, however, is the fight against the scourge of sexual discrimination and gender-based violence which has for decades plagued the women in our profession. I look forward to discussions and strategies centered around these issues as we forge new friendships across the continents.“

Sole Proprietor, Rehana Khan Parker & Associates

After qualifying as a lawyer in 1992, she started her own practice and opened doors for Legal Services for the Legal Aid Board, where she gained experience in criminal and family law, which lasted for about a decade. Thereafter, the landscape of opportunities for women and people of color started to change and her client base expanded to cover commercial work, civil litigation, estate and trust administration, and other fields.

Rehana currently serves in the inaugural council of the Western Cape Provincial Council of the Legal Practice Council and is the chairperson of the Professional Affairs Committee and a member of the Transformation Committee. She ranked the number 1 black female in the elections to this council, was the chairperson of Black Lawyers Association Western Cape, and has been an examiner for the Attorneys Admission Examination from 2000 to date. Additionally, Rehana holds a quasi-judicial role as the Minister of Arts and Culture, Tribunal Chairperson in Heritage Issues. Currently, her practice covers land reform, constitutional and international law litigation, with a strong background in administrative law.  She is committed to the advancement of Women in Law, leadership, and the democratic values enshrined in the constitution of South Africa and International Declarations on Human Rights to ensure access to justice and protection of Human Rights and against abuse of the most vulnerable, marginalized, and oppressed. Rehana also achieved the position as an acting judge. She is the founder and co-director of WOZA – Women in Law Awards South Africa, an entity committed to promoting gender equality, diversity, inclusion, and the upliftment of women in the legal profession.

Rosario Silva de Lapuerta – Believing in the European Union and its power to create equal opportunities in the legal field

 “Given the importance of the legal professions in our society, the full incorporation of women into the world of law is essential. It is necessary that women who finish their studies can access professions and exercise functions in the judiciary, administration, law firms, or universities.

To promote this full incorporation into the professions, initiatives such as the Women in Law association are very useful and provide all female legal professionals with help in their projects and aspirations.

The Court of Justice of the European Union, of which I am Vice-President, has, through its jurisprudence, promoted equality between men and women in the labor market, having recognized already in 1976 in its Defrenne ruling that the principle of equal pay is part of the foundations of the Community.”

Rosario Silva de Lapuerta

Rosario Silva de Lapuerta was born in Madrid in 1954. After earning her degree in law (Universidad Complutense de Madrid), she served as Spain’s’ first female state attorney (“Abogado del Estado”) in Málaga, at the legal affairs department of the Ministry of Transport, Tourism and Communication and, subsequently, at the legal affairs department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Furthermore, Rosario has been appointed head state prosecutor of the State Legal Service for Cases before the Court of Justice of the European Communities and Deputy Director-General of the Community and International Legal Assistance Department (Ministry of Justice).

She is also a member of the Commission think tank on the future of the Community judicial and head of the Spanish delegation in the Friends of the Presidency Group concerning the reform of the Community judicial system in the Treaty of Nice, and of the Council ad hoc working party on the Court of Justice.

On top of her outstanding legal work, Rosario also works as a professor of community law at the Diplomatic School in Madrid and acts as co-director of the journal Noticias de la Unión Europea, which is the main source of EUR-Lex content.

Rosario Silva de Lapuerta is also involved in the European Union; she has been a judge at the Court of Justice since 7 October 2003, as well as Vice President of the Court of Justice since 9 October 2018. The European Court of Justice is composed of a judge from each Member State, and advocates-general. Judges and advocates-general are, by common agreement, appointed by the governments of the Member States for a renewable period of six years. This is the highest legal position in the EU (non-political), and the first time in history that the position is occupied by a woman. Rosario Silva de Lapuerta is a hard-working and ambitious legal professional, which is well reflected in the fact that in Spanish history, only one person – Gil Carlos Rodríguez – has reached a higher position in the ranks of community justice.

J. Jarpa Dawuni – Professor, activist, and visionary who believes in the power of strong female networks

“The Women in Law Initiative is an excellent transnational forum for amplifying the voices of Women in Law through various programs and activities. By creating a global legal sisterhood for addressing social justice issues, the Women in Law Initiative is essential in the current global changes, and will continue to be vital in the future.“

J. Jarpa Dawuni

J. Jarpa Dawuni is an academic and legal game-changer who has made important strides as an academic and a women and girls’ rights activist. She has an impressive professional trajectory that cuts across academia and women’s mobilization, where she has combined her academic skills with development capabilities to launch an innovative entity called the Institute for African Women in Law, which has a vision of building a network of women legal professionals dedicated to using the law as a tool for societal development and advancement.

Dawuni is an Associate Professor of Political Science at Howard University, Washington D.C. She is a qualified Barrister-at-Law before the Ghana Superior Courts of Judicature and holds a Doctorate in Political Science from Georgia State University. Her primary areas of research include law and development, judicial politics, women in the legal professions, gender and the law, international human rights, democratization, and women’s civil society organizing. Her two recent books are International Courts and the African Woman Judge: Unveiled Narratives (Routledge, 2018), co-edited with Judge Akua Kuenyehia and Gender and the Judiciary in Africa: From Obscurity to Parity? (Routledge, 2016), co-edited with Gretchen Bauer. Dawuni has held several fellowships, including Gender and Power Fellow of the Center for Democratic Development in Ghana, and a Global Fellow under the Global Women’s Leadership Program at the Wilson Center, Washington, D.C., and as a Carnegie African Diaspora Fellow.

She is a Global Scholar in the Wilson Center’s Women in Public Service Project. She sits on board of the West Africa Research Association (WARA) and the African Research Academies for Women (ARA-W). In 2016, she received the President Obama White House Presidential Award for her service on the Board of ARA-W. Dr. Dawuni belongs to several professional bodies and is the past Co-Convener of the Gender and Judging Collaborative Research Network of the Law and Society Association, Co-Convener of the Women’s Caucus of the African Studies Association, and is currently the Co-Convener of the Women and Gender Studies Collective at Howard University. She sits on the editorial board of the Journal of International Politics and Development (JIPAD) and Studies in Law and Politics book series by Peter Lange. Her research has appeared in journals such as Africa, Studies in Gender and Development in Africa, the Journal of African Law, and the University of Baltimore Law Journal.

Ivana Krstic – passionately sharing her knowledge of anti-discrimination with the next generation of lawyers

“The Women in Law Initiative empowers great women to work harder to change very conservative legal surroundings and to deconstruct the masculine character of the legal profession, which shapes the processes by which laws are made, interpreted, and enforced. This award helps the work of brave and confident women, often lonely in their struggle, to be more visible and appreciated.”

Ivana Krstic

Ivana Krstic is a Professor of International Human Rights Law and a Director of the Center for Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University of Belgrade, specializing in anti-discrimination and gender equality, as well as migration and asylum law.

From 2010 to 2014, she established and coordinated the Legal Clinic on Combating Human Trafficking at the Faculty of Law. Also, since 2009 she has coordinated the Legal Clinic on Non-Discrimination, where gender equality is a significant part of the curricula for students.

As a Director of the Center for Human Rights, Ivana Krstic organizes conferences, round tables, visiting lectures, and summer schools for students. Most of these activities include non-discrimination and gender issues. She was on the organizing committee for the Gender Equality in Higher Education: International Good Practices and Local Context conference, held in Belgrade on October 20, 2017.

After the conference, she was a member of the team to prepare a draft action plan for achieving gender equality at the Faculty of Law. She was also involved in the preparation of the gender equality questionnaire for lecturers at the Faculty of Law, and she took part in the preparation of the rulebook on combating sexual harassment and gender discrimination at the Faculty of Law. This experience was a driving force in advocating the idea of introducing a master’s program on gender equality in legal education. As a consequence, the Faculty of Law prepared an application and received the grant for Erasmus Plus projects – Strategic Partnership in Higher Education, for the project: New Quality in Education for Gender Equality – Strategic Partnership for the Development of Master’s Study Program LAW AND GENDER (LAWGEM). Ivana Krstic also designed and delivered trainings on non-discrimination and gender equality for people working in the public sector. In 2015, she was selected to be a mentor for 8 judges from 4 appellate court jurisdictions to teach judges about non-discrimination and gender equality. Each year, she delivers lectures at the Judicial Academy on non-discrimination. Since 2015, Ivana Krstic has been a member of a prestigious European Law Equality Network (EELN) as a Serbian expert for both streams – non-discrimination and gender equality. She is currently a member of the Serbian Council for Child Rights and the Serbian Republic Commission for Transgender Persons, independent advisory bodies to the republic.

Antonija Petričušić – she made gender equality her top priority – and is inspiring her students to do the same

 “As an active and engaged citizen, I believe that our democratic society can prosper only if we as citizens come together and cooperate with people who share equal interests, values, and goals. I believe professional associations, such as Women in Law, are not only empowering women who share similar career goals and advance the influence of women in the legal field, but are an important tool for generating trust and cooperation among female citizens and, thus, strengthen democracy. By coming together in professional organizations, we make both ourselves and our society stronger. By coming together, we develop ourselves, expand our professional network, become stronger and more visible, and we change our society to make it fairer, more just, and more inclusive.“

Antonija Petričušić

Antonija Petričušić (Dr. iur., Mag.iur., MA in Human Rights, MA in Sociology and Social Anthropology) passed her Doctorate Studies in Law at the University of Graz with distinction in 2013. Her thesis titled “Assessing Second Generation Conditionality: Minority Rights as a Component of the Western Balkans Conditionality Policy” was awarded the Styrian Governor’s Prize. As proof of her constant strive for academic growth, she received her M.A. in Sociology and Social Anthropology at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary, after she had finished her Doctorate in Law. Previously, she earned her M.A. in Human Rights and Democratization from the University of Sarajevo and the University of Bologna. She graduated in Law and Journalism at the University of Zagreb.

As an Assistant Professor at the Law Faculty, Dr. Petričušić teaches courses in Sociology, Rights of Minorities and Human Rights Law to law students and students of social sciences at the University of Zagreb.

She has made an impact on a generation of students of the Faculty of Law in Zagreb since the lectures she delivers in sociology, human rights, and minorities include a gender dimension.

Also, Dr. Petričušić promotes values of gender equality, non-discrimination, and social inclusion in all her educational activities and demonstrates her commitment to those values by raising awareness and being an active public intellectual. In her case, the topic of gender equality is not only one of her research interests, but also a focal point of her activism in a wider Croatian society Dr. Petričušić’s work as an academic and lecturer is an outstanding example of how legal education can serve as a tool for combating gender stereotypes and sexism in our society. She professes her feminist attitudes to students openly in the classroom and in the different extra-curricular activities she undertakes.

Ilse Reiter-Zatloukal – changing the future by teaching the history of gender equality

Professor Ilse Reiter-Zatloukal is a distinguished researcher at the Department for Legal and Constitutional History of the Law Faculty at the University of Vienna.

Her enthusiasm, especially about the history of law throughout the ages in all its different aspects, combined with her great dedication to teaching, makes her not only one of the students’ most beloved professors but also earns her the utmost respect from her colleagues. Her work’s focus on legal gender studies made her an obvious and natural choice to talk to us about the history of Women in Law in Austria.

Furthermore, she is not only a member of numerous committees and associations within her field of expertise, but also holds one of the highest posts at the University of Vienna as Vice-Chair of the Senate. She also finds the time and commitment to publish regularly. One of these publications is the acclaimed book “Advokaten 1938” (“Lawyers 1938”), which shines a light on the fate of mostly Jewish lawyers who were disbarred in Austria during the Nazi era and either had to emigrate or were murdered in concentration camps.

Christina Blacklaws – Inspiring women in the business world with her passion and commitment

“In these times of crisis, this initiative is even more vital. We must continue to promote, support, and celebrate Women in Law and those exceptional men who truly understand that gender equality is good for 100% of us, not just 50%. I feel immensely honored to be shortlisted and to be part of this great movement.“

Christina Blacklaws

Former President of The Law Society of England & Wales. Runs her own consultancy business “Blacklaws Consulting”. Award-winning published author, speaker, lecturer, and frequent media commentator.

Christina Blacklaws studied Jurisprudence at Oxford and qualified as a solicitor in 1991. She has developed and managed law firms including a virtual law firm and set up the first ABS with the Co-op. More recently, she was Director of Innovation at a top 100 firm.

She now runs her own consultancy business providing strategic advice particularly in the area of transformational change, technological developments, and diversity and inclusion to international and domestic law firms and legal businesses.

She holds a range of public appointments including chair of the LawTech UK Panel, chair of the Next Generation Services Advisory Group, part of Innovate UK, and member of the Legal Support Advisory Group.

Christina was President of the Law Society of England and Wales until July 2019 and performed a vast range of ambassadorial and representative functions both domestically and internationally.

She is passionate about, and a champion of, diversity and inclusion, technology access to justice, mental health, and well-being and uses every opportunity to advocate and progress positive change in these areas. Christina is a forward-thinking senior leader with a quarter of a century’s experience in law firm management, leadership, and public service. 

On diversity and inclusion, Christina has developed and lead a program focused on women in leadership positions in the legal field. The project produced the largest ever global survey on the issue, two toolkits which supported over 250 roundtables in 19 jurisdictions and led to 3 insight reports and a Women in Law Pledge which was supported by the government and all legal representatives’ bodies.

Christina represents the Women Lawyer’s Division and is an active committee member. She also sits on the Thomson Reuters Women in Law Advisory Board and the Chartered Institute of Insurers’ Insuring Women’s Futures’ Advisory Board, which is working towards improving women’s lifelong financial resilience and some of the root causes of women’s pension deficit.

Amongst being a multi-award-winning published author in the areas of innovation, diversity, and inclusion, Christina is also a speaker, lecturer, and frequent media commentator.

Michaela Clicque – Thriving in a male-dominated industry and inspiring the next generation

“The Women in Law Initiative is of great importance as it provides a platform for women from different legal professions and backgrounds to exchange their experiences and try to find common ways to improve the role of women in the legal society.”

Michaela Clicque

Former Player’s Status Lawyer, currently legal counsel for the Statutory and Regulatory Unit at UEFA’s headquarters with overall responsibility for all regulatory related matters.

Driven by her passion for football, Michaela joined UEFA in February 2015, where she took over the position as Players’ Status Lawyer. By doing so, she fulfilled her longstanding dream of working for a football organization. Even though it was not always easy in a world dominated by men, Michaela was determined and managed to quickly rise up the career ladder by receiving two promotions within less than five years. She is now Legal Counsel for the Statutory and Regulatory unit at UEFA’s headquarters, where she takes the lead in all regulatory related matters.

On a day-to-day basis, she is responsible for the revision processes of UEFA’s legal framework (i.e. all competition regulations, Disciplinary Regulations etc.), as well as their application and interpretation. Additionally, she oversees the regulatory work of UEFA’s most supreme organs such as the UEFA Congress, the UEFA Executive Committee, and the Emergency Panel.

Alongside the UEFA legal framework, Michaela also provides legal advice, jointly together with FIFA, on the revision process of the statutes of the National Associations affiliated to UEFA. As such, she fights to implement good governance principles, such as the equal representation of women in leading roles within their respective federations.

Because she constantly has to prove not only her professional skills but also her football knowledge and considering that she is currently the only woman in her unit, it was always important for Michaela to support women, especially female students who are reaching out to her through various channels, and to give them the best possible support and advice to fight for their dream of working in the world of sports. Michaela continues to be an overachiever throughout her entire career, and she boasts a high level of professionalism and expertise combined with remarkable people’s skills. Through hard work and dedication, Michaela is proving that women are not only qualified to work in the sports industry but that they can indeed thrive and excel in it. She is also setting an extraordinary example for the women following in her footsteps and contributing greatly to making the world of sports more accessible to women and more inclusive overall.

Omnia Gadalla – courageously and tirelessly fighting for justice and female justices

 “The Women in Law Initiative is very important since it gathers high calibers of Women in Law and sheds light on their contributions. It also allows them to share their challenges and insights, which guide and benefit other women, especially young ones who are striving to build their career. It informs other Women in Law and another professions/fields that there are women in high posts and decision-making positions, and about how women can make their way to the top and occupy seats that have been always reserved for and occupied by men, especially in male-dominated careers such as law (on the bench, law firms,…etc.). This indeed gives hope and delivers a message that other women can make it too.”

Omnia Gadalla

Omnia is a young Egyptian woman who established the “Her Honor Setting The Bar” initiative in 2014 to combat the discrimination against Egyptian women and the ban on them becoming judges, and to support other female graduates and raise awareness about the issue in order to break the stereotypes in the Egyptian community that women cannot be judges. She filed two cases seven years ago, and lost the first case in 2017. The judgment stated that “[t]he judiciary call for applications is addressed for males only” and the other case is still being reviewed. The case might take 10 up to 15 years. She sued the President, the Minister of Justice, and the Head of the State Council. She was threatened due to her opposition to the government and its institutions. Her offers to hold symposiums even at private universities were rejected due to government restrictions. Even the press were not allowed to publish recent updates on the cases. Egyptian women are still banned from applying to the judiciary that was established a century ago. This is despite the international conventions and a constitution which states their right to sit on the bar. Her voice was the reason for submitting a bill by female parliament members of parliament which clearly stipulates that women have the right to be judges. She contacted the International Association of Women Judges, UN Women, the African Women in Law Institute, Organization, and others and was invited to many international events but she couldn’t go due to financial concerns. “Her Honor Setting The Bar” works tirelessly on changing the broad-based cultural explanation. She has tried to build her network and expand it consistently and prudently so as to use it for the benefit of her initiative. She initiated the campaign by herself and has made other institutions follow  and support her after they lost hope in finding brave female law graduates that could persist for as long as she has. She also has an outstanding role as a teaching assistant at the Faculty of Law and Shari’a, Al-Azhar University, mentoring female students – since Al-Azhar colleges are separated – and lead them to better opportunities in terms of social and extra-curricular activities.

Petra Smutny – recognizing female achievements for this generation and the next

 “Even today, around 100 years after women fought for access to law faculties in Europe, outstanding achievements by women lawyers are all too often overlooked and automatically attributed to men. Therefore, the explicit recognition of the success of today’s generation of women lawyers is also an essential basis for the success of the next generation of women lawyers.”

Petra Smutny

Lawyer, registered mediator, author, and seminar coach.

Petra Smutny has an impressive CV to say the least. She started her career by becoming a judge at a  District Court in Vienna, concentrating on criminal law, civil law, and family law. In the following years, she continued to the Vienna’s Regional Court and the Higher Regional Court, where she concentrated on labor and social law. In 2014, Petra decided to change her career path and started working as a lawyer.

During her career, Petra has attributed great importance to the topic of gender equality by acting as Vice Commissioner for Equal Treatment in the justice department, the Deputy Chairperson of the working group for matters of equal treatment, and has also worked on the amendment of the Austrian Equal Treatment Act.

Her involvement does not end in Austria, as Petra Smutny has taken part in the “Gender Twinning Project Poland” at the Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights in Warsaw, Poland, worked on the Judicial Diversity Team at the Department for Constitutional Affairs in the UK, where she was the first attendee from the Austrian justice department, and she was a member of the Austrian delegation on the occasion of the 57th UN Commission on the Status of Women – to name but a few.

Petra is also very active when it comes to the topic of human rights. She has held and participated in many seminars, such as the “Fatal Promises – Trafficking in Human Beings” seminar at the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2013 or the 4-week “International Visitor Leadership Program” organized by the United States Department of State on “Trafficking in Human Beings”. Her exceptional efforts in this field were brought to another level when she co-founded and became Vice President of the Graduate Student Association “ILHR – International Human Rights Lawyers” in Philadelphia, USA.

Petra Smutny has always been and continues to be a great role model when it comes to her engagement in using the law to achieve equal treatment and justice. Not only on a professional level, but also in other areas of her life, Petra continues to learn and grow by constantly taking part in advanced trainings in various fields such as foreign languages, mediation, curative education, and many more.

Carmen Thornton –  Changing the rules of the game

“I’m fascinated by the concept of being a game-changer – the law has always been a men’s game. And it needs changing. Women do not need to emulate men to be professional or competent. Femininity is neither advantage nor disadvantage – it is a fact, and we are allowed to embrace it. That is what I have done in my professional life – quite successfully I might add – and I want to encourage other women to do the same, in their individual way. That is why I greatly appreciate this nomination – it not only reassures me that my way of doing business is the right one. It also gives me a platform to tell others: you can do it. Social media is changing our society. Young women are looking for role models, for ways to form their professional and private lives online. I want to show them that women can be seen as professional and competent and still embrace their femininity. That having a family and a career is not a contradiction. Acknowledgment from a prestigious organization like the Women in Law Initiative is a signal: that the law as a profession is aware of those societal changes and is willing to actively take part in them.”

Carmen Thornton

Starting a typical career path in an international law firm as an associate specializing in mergers and acquisitions, Carmen Thornton´s life made an unexpected but lucky turn when she became a mother at the age of 27. She quickly realized that pursuing her dream of a partnership in an international law firm would not allow her to be as flexible as she needed to be as a young mother. Thus, she made a bold move and founded her own law firm in a completely different area of expertise and decided to become a divorce attorney. Building up a company from scratch, going to networking events, speaking at conferences, and meeting potential clients isn’t that easy with two babies around who never sleep. The only way to do all that whilst being flexible in terms of time and being there for her two babies was using the internet and social media for marketing, acquisition, and PR. She probably is the first lawyer in Austria to do so. Now 17,000 people (and mostly young female students) follow her daily stories about juggling court sessions, client meetings, kids’ parties, and her marriage. In addition, she writes a regular column on family law, gender equality, and socioeconomic issues in Austria’s No. 1 Women’s Magazine and in one of Austria’s largest newspapers “Der Standard”. Facing the greatest difficulties in her career so far in combining motherhood with her career has helped her find a way to be a pioneer for young lawyers by changing marketing, media, and PR strategies for the whole branch and making it more accessible to young people. Carmen Thornton is also an advocate for women as speaker and partner of the Veuve Clicquot Bold Business Women Network.

Contact

Jasmin Malekpour-Augustin
info@womeninlaw.info
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