Victoria Legal Aid

Equitable briefing strategy

We are improving the way we brief counsel to create more opportunities for women and diverse counsel.

We are committed to briefing more women and diverse counsel and have set measurable, annual targets for improvement through the Equitable briefing strategy.

The strategy will guide fairer briefing practices and allow us to lead by example by creating more opportunities for women and diverse groups within the legal profession.

Our six objectives:

  1. briefing targets
  2. briefing processes
  3. how we engage for services
  4. training and development
  5. external engageent
  6. performance reporting.

We know that inequality in the legal profession is longstanding. If we are to drive change, we must strive for equity not just for our clients, but also in the way we operate.

Our targets

By the end of 2022, we want at least 30 per cent of all in-house briefs and briefing fees going to women counsel (junior and senior). We also will improve data capturing the diversity of counsel we brief.

By the end of 2023, the target increases to 40 per cent in-house briefs/briefing fees, and a 30 per cent target for all private practitioner briefs/briefing fees.

We will maintain an open dialogue with our practice partners as we review our processes to ensure the strategy stays on target.

By 2025, we commit to reaching at least 50 per cent of all VLA-funded briefs and briefing fees going to women counsel and an increasing briefing target for diversity of counsel across all VLA-funded matters (in-house and private practitioner).

The strategy has been developed with our vision, values and commitment to diversity and inclusion in mind. It references our:

  • Cultural diversity and inclusion strategy 2020–23
  • Reconciliation Action Plan 2019–2021
  • Client-first strategy
  • Gender Equality Action Plan
  • Disability Action Plan

We recognise that many factors can influence inequitable briefing practices, ranging from unconscious biases through to gender barriers and a lack of availability of counsel from diverse backgrounds, particularly in regional areas.

As one of the largest briefer in the state, we are determined to drive change and promote equality and diversity.

It will allow us to better reflect the Victorian community and strengthen connections with our diverse client base.

More information

Disclaimer: The material in this print-out relates to the law as it applies in the state of Victoria. It is intended as a general guide only. Readers should not act on the basis of any material in this print-out without getting legal advice about their own particular situations. Victoria Legal Aid disclaims any liability howsoever caused to any person in respect of any action taken in reliance on the contents of the publication.

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Reviewed 18 May 2022

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