Growth, inclusion and accessibility
One of the AISN’s stated goals is to continue to make membership of the AISN available to all members of the firm.
At the time of writing, there are 47 members of the AISN which represents 15% of the firm. In 2023, 15 new members joined the AISN. Taking into account previous members of the AISN who have since left the firm, AISN membership has moderately increased by 9% since 2022.
The AISN also seeks to engage with seasonal clerks during their clerkship program by:
- scheduling events during their program (for example, book clubs, excursions and other external events); and
- continuing to inform seasonal clerks of the AISN’s purpose and activities, and ways in which they can become involved as Law Graduates.
One of the AISN’s priorities for 2023 was to work closely with the Human Resources team to develop a process for connecting more effectively with new starters, both through the graduate program and lateral hires. To this end, the AISN has worked with the Human Resources team to prepare and send emails to new starters at the firm providing details about the AISN, resources (including Statement of Commitment and previous Annual Progress Reports) and inviting new starters to attend AISN meetings. This has occurred twice in 2023, with 80 total recipients.
The most recent email was sent in October 2023 to new starters who joined the firm between March and October 2023. The AISN intends to continue sending similar periodic emails to new starters in 2024.
“A large reason I decided to come to ABL was its exceptional track record of public interest advocacy, especially for issues impacting First Nations peoples. Of course, this led me straight to the AISN. As a graduate, I felt the AISN was a safe space to share ideas on how the firm could improve itself to better advance First Nations causes and learn more about issues affecting their communities. The passion held by members of the AISN is inspiring and I would encourage anyone to sign up if you are looking for an educative and incredibly rewarding experience.”
The AISN circulates quarterly newsletters to provide information to Arnold Bloch Leibler staff on recent legal and policy developments, to share relevant upcoming events and to increase awareness and firm-wide engagement with Indigenous social issues.
Each newsletter generally includes the following sections:
- news and law updates;
- a spotlight on a current Arnold Bloch Leibler client;
- upcoming events;
- a collection of podcasts, music, movies and other entertainment by Indigenous artists or focused on Indigenous issues/culture; and
- events / reading materials for children.
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Beyond the AISN Co-Chairs, the broader AISN also contributed to the AISN newsletter over the last 12 months. The Marketing and Business Development team continues to provide invaluable assistance with producing the newsletter, particularly Claire Tedeschi and Stacey Parker.
One of the goals of the AISN for 2023 was to begin distributing the newsletter externally to clients, colleagues and other friends of the firm. Discussions were initiated by the AISN’s Co-Chairs and the Marketing team to determine the most appropriate method to do so. Work is in progress to ensure the newsletter is a desirable and appropriate product for external distribution, as we progress towards this goal.
Other internal communications
AISN members and other staff regularly circulate emails to provide updates on current legal/policy developments or opportunities to attend both internal and external events. This informal process further strengthens the AISN’s efforts to increase firmwide understanding of and engagement with current affairs and issues relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
In 2023, these emails have included:
- invitations to attend events, including performances by First Nations artists at the Brunswick Music Festival and the screening of ‘Rebel With A Cause’ at the Melbourne International Film Festival;
- links to articles and submissions written or contributed to by Arnold Bloch Leibler lawyers and Partners; and
- information about key events, discussion papers and articles regarding the referendum on the Voice to Parliament.
During the period November 2022 – December 2023, a total of 46 emails were circulated. Of those 46 emails, 32 were to AISN members only and 14 were firm-wide or to a broader group of recipients (e.g. specific practice groups).
In the lead up to the referendum on the establishment of a constitutionally enshrined Voice, a large number of resources were made available on the AISN intranet, including links to articles and other commentary, videos and interactive question functions to allow Arnold Bloch Leibler staff to request additional resources from the AISN.
The AISN is committed to ensuring that current and useful information is easily accessible by all Arnold Bloch Leibler staff via the intranet.