"What Are We Not Talking About?" is a free series of virtual lunchtime chats, hosted by the ACT Law Society’s Inclusion and Diversity Committee, about the elephant in the room — how do we go about achieving an inclusive and diverse legal profession? Every month, a new speaker will introduce a topic and lead a discussion with participants. These informal webchats will also be an opportunity for legal professionals and law students who are interested in inclusion and diversity issues to connect with like-minded peers. This webinar was hosted on Thursday 8 July 2021 and runs for 35 minutes.
Join lawyers Joseph Ishow, Monica Serci, and Rachel Wilkie for a panel discussion on LGBTI+ inclusion in the legal profession. Our panel will share their perspectives and lived experience on how legal services can better ensure that lawyers and clients from LGBTIQA+ communities are supported and included. This is an important conversation to have, particularly given that members of the LGBTI+ community experience high rates of discrimination, harassment, and exclusion, and studies have indicated that LGBTI+ people are less likely to report harassment or violence to the police than other victims. As legal professionals, it's critical to be attuned to these issues, to ensure our services are delivered in an inclusive way, and that our colleagues who are LGBTI+ are supported.
Joseph Ishow is a Family Law and Family Violence lawyer from Melbourne. Joseph commenced his legal career in 2016 with Street Law, a program of Canberra Community law that assists people facing homelessness. Since then, Joseph has predominantly worked in the not for profit, community legal sector. While Joseph has also worked in private practice, his practice was exclusively assisting clients on a grant of Legal Aid. Joseph has worked across three different jurisdictions, including NSW and the ACT. During his time at university, both as an undergraduate and post graduate student, Joseph was involved with student politics and the university queer space. Joseph was a member of the LGBTIQ Ministerial Advisory Council in the ACT, and has continued to advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community in Victoria. Outside of law, Joseph has been involved with Rainbow Refugee Action and No Pride in Detention advocating on behalf of the LGBTIQ+ community.
Mx Monica Serci (she/they) is a family lawyer in Canberra with Parker Coles Curtis. With a career in private practice spanning across the ACT and NSW, Monica has been annually recognised by the Doyle’s Guide as a Rising Star in Family Law from 2019 to date. Monica’s practice includes property, parenting, and family violence matters, with a specific interest in complex financial cases. Both within and external to the office, Monica is devoted to promoting the interests of those who identify as part of the many and wonderful LGBTQIA+ communities. Parker Coles Curtis was recently awarded the ‘Top Ranked Boutique Law Firm’ in the inaugural Lawyer’s Weekly 2021 Champions of Pride Award - in no small part due to Monica’s contribution to the advancement of diversity and inclusion in the legal community. Monica presently sits as a Committee Member of the ACT Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex and Queer (LGBTIQ+) Ministerial Advisory Council. Monica also volunteers regularly with the Women’s Legal Centre and sits as the Vice President of the Canberra Region Family Law Professionals Association.
Rachel Wilkie is currently a Director within the Policy and Cabinet Division of the ACT Government. Up until recently, she was the Acting Director of the ACT Government’s Office for LGBTIQ+ Affairs. In this role she helped set the vision for how Canberra can continue to be the most LGBTIQ+ welcoming and inclusive city in Australia through the Capital of Equality Strategy and First Action Plan. This included continuing reforms to ensure equal rights are reflected in law, data, and policies. Prior to joining the ACT Government, Rachel’s varied legal career spanned tenant advocacy work and practicing as a Government, commercial and administrative lawyer in both the Commonwealth and private practice. Rachel is a proud member of and advocate for the LGBTIQ+ community.