One of the core activities of ALSA is to advocate for the interests and concerns of Australian law students. ALSA sets out to ensure that law students have a representative voice to the higher education sector, government, the legal profession and the community.
Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace
Bullying and harassment is an issue which disproportionately affects young legal professionals, especially women. We all need to work together to make sure our workplaces are safe for everyone. On Tuesday 9 July at Council during the 40th Anniversary ALSA Conference, Council unanimously voted on the below Mission Statement on Bullying and Harassment in the Workplace. Following the acceptance of this statement, the ALSA released the below Media Statement on 18 July 2019.
ALSA’s Mission Statement
There is a culture of bullying and harassment within the Australian legal profession that must be urgently addressed. ALSA believes it is within the responsibility of the profession to address this issue and also acknowledges our role in agitating for this change.
ALSA undertakes to effectively collaborate with its affiliate members and the legal industry towards ensuring that no law student in Australia goes into their first legal job without:
understanding that harassment and bullying (in all its forms) is endemic within the Australian legal industry and that this behaviour is not acceptable;
acknowledging that this long existing toxic culture of bullying and harassment disproportionately affects young legal professionals especially women; and
understanding how to respond to this behaviour and being provided with adequate resources to do so.
In undertaking to achieve this mission ALSA and its affiliate members may consider but is not restricted to the below short and long term initiatives:
Engage in thought leadership on the issue (awareness raising)
Establish partnerships with key organisations in this space to effect thought leadership
Partake in an awareness raising week with respect to harassment and bullying (including disseminating surveys, info sheets, tips and tricks, FAQ documents and potential events)
Agitate for all legal organisations and governing bodies to adopt and ensure compliance with strong policies in respect of bullying and harassment
Review the current structure of ALSA and its ability to enact this mission
ALSA will seek to ensure that any affiliate members of ALSA wishing to have input into this process will be provided an opportunity to do so. In this respect, ALSA will further continue to review this mission and its structure and progress until harassment and bullying in all its forms has been eliminated within the legal industry.
ALSA Media Release from 18 July 2019
This below media statement was published by Lawyers Weekly on the 22nd July 2019.