Newcastle at the centre of new voice for NSW regional women lawyers

Newcastle at the centre of new voice for NSW regional women lawyers

Newcastle has been chosen to launch a new voice for women lawyers in regional, rural, and remote NSW with three of its founding members coming from the region.

NSW Regional Women Lawyers (NRWL) is a new professional body formed to ensure current and future women lawyers in regional areas of NSW have the same benefits and opportunities as their Sydney colleagues.

Principal of Newcastle based E-Conveyancing NSW, Nicole Armitage, Principal solicitor at the Hunter Community Legal Centre, Bronwyn Ambrogetti and Principal of Catherine Henry Lawyers, Catherine Henry are founding members of the new body.

More than 50 people attended the launch event at the University of Newcastle’s NuSpace last month, which was also live streamed.

Guest speakers were Chief Integrity Officer and former Dean of the School of Law at the University of Wollongong, Trish Mundy and lawyer and academic turned business consultant, Dr Natasha Cica.

The pair discussed the challenges and opportunities of being a woman lawyer outside Sydney and how women lawyers can influence justice-related change. They were introduced by Professor Tania Sourdin, Dean and Head of the Law School at the University of Newcastle.

Inaugural NSW Regional Women Lawyers President and Central Coast based lawyer, Michelle Meares said the new body is about giving a voice to women lawyers from regional, rural and remote areas including Newcastle and the Hunter.

Michelle said NSW Regional Women Lawyers is about inclusion, consultation, diversity and increased regional representation for all NSW women lawyers.

“We will provide support to women lawyers in regional, rural and remote NSW and advocate on key issues impacting them,” Michelle said.

“There is a serious shortage of lawyers in regional and rural NSW. Our group will work with all legal groups including the NSW Law Society and regional law societies, the Women Lawyers Association of NSW, regional law schools and the Law Council – the latter having a national attrition and retention strategy.

“There is interest from women lawyers to make the move to regional areas for reasons including lifestyle and a better work life balance.

“But they can experience unique issues such as distance and resulting lack of collegiality, isolation, lack of critical services for their clients, impacts of climate and, in some areas, significant socio-economic disadvantage.

“Women lawyers in the regions play important roles in their communities and undertake significant probono work,” Michelle said.

NRWL is also hosting a one-day conference in Orange on 24 March. It will cover topics including attracting and supporting more women lawyers in the bush as well as ways the legal sector can assist in addressing the health crisis in regional and rural NSW.


IMAGE | L-R Nicole Armitage (Treasurer), Dr Natasha Cica (guest speaker), Catherine Henry (Committee Member), Michelle Meares (President), and Bronwyn Ambrogetti (Committee Member).

Catherine Henry Lawyers

The team at Newcastle-based Catherine Henry Lawyers are highly experienced specialists in health and medical law, relationship and family law, elder law, wills and estates, property buying and selling, as well as criminal and traffic law.

Their clients tell them that their lawyers are exceptional listeners, supportive and accessible. They make sure your voice is heard.

You can trust Catherine Henry Lawyers to give you robust representation and level-headed advice. That’s why they are the preferred referral firm for many other lawyers.

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