Women Barristers Forum

The Women Barristers Forum is a section of the New South Wales Bar Association created for promoting and supporting Women at the New South Wales Bar.


The Women Barristers Forum will be holding its AGM for 2023 as a hybrid event via Zoom and in person at 11 Garfield Barwick Chambers on Wednesday, 2 August 2023 at 5:00pm

All women barristers are automatically members of the WBF.  We invite all barristers, particularly new women barristers, to join the AGM where the election of office bearers will take place. 

Please contact Emily Graham, Co-Secretary, for the Zoom link or to RSVP to attend in person and for copies of the proxy form, nomination forms and other documents: egraham@chambers.net.au

Donate to the joanna knight scholarship

In February 2022, we very sadly lost Jo Knight, a member of the NSW Bar who had practised from Culwulla Chambers in Sydney. Jo came to the Bar in late 2020 and read at both Frederick Jordan and Culwulla.

Throughout her legal career, Jo was passionate about public service. Through her hundreds of legal aid and pro bono briefs, Jo helped countless families as they navigated the legal system. Jo believed that socio-economic diversity in the legal profession would strongly benefit both the system and the community.

Jo’s colleagues and family have worked with the Australian Communities Foundation and Community Legal Centres NSW to establish the Joanna Knight Scholarship.  Jo’s principles will live on through this scholarship that bears her name and the recipients will embody her spirit of public service.  This scholarship will provide financial support to increase accessibility to a career in law for women and First Nations law students/solicitors. It will assist those experiencing financial disadvantage to enter the legal profession and come to the Bar.

The Joanna Knight Scholarship is a fund of Australian Communities Foundation, which is a public charitable foundation. All donations over $2 are tax-deductible.

You can find out more information about this scholarship and make a one-off or recurring annual donation at the following link:https://australiacf.fcsuite.com/erp/donate/create/fund?funit_id=1737


Please refer to our  News and Events pages for information and updates on the work of WBF.


The genesis of the WBF was a function held in March 2002 to promote camaraderie amongst women at the bar and to forge links with solicitors, members of the bar and the judiciary. Over 200 members of the profession attended. WBF was formally established in 2004 and became a section of the New South Wales Bar Association in 2007.

The Women Barristers Forum is a section of the New South Wales Bar Association created for promoting and supporting Women at the New South Wales Bar.

The work of the Women Barristers Forum is to:

  • promote awareness, discussion and resolution of issues which particularly affect women barristers;
  • identify, highlight and eradicate discrimination against women in law and in the legal system;
  • advance substantive, and not merely formal, equality for women at the bar and in the legal profession generally;
  • provide a professional and social network for women barristers;
  • support and encourage women at the bar;
  • promote the interests and skills of women barristers; and
  • support diversity and flexibility at the bar.

Throughout the year the WBF holds seminars, arranges networking functions and assists in the creation of policies and measures aimed at advancing women at the bar. WBF also seeks to work closely with the Equal Opportunity Committee of the New South Wales Bar Association and Women Lawyers Association of NSW.

Terms of reference

Women at the New South Wales Bar: the Years to 1975

It's comparatively commonplace to see women practising as barristers today, but before 1976 in New South Wales, it was a very different story. The WBF, with the support of the Bar Association, has produced a multimedia presentation about the pioneering women at the New South Wales Bar. Full interviews and biographical details of these incredible women can be found here.



The current executive committee of the WBF

Chair: Vanessa Whittaker SC
Co-Vice-Chairs:  Renee Bianchi and Madeleine Bridgett
Co-Secretaries:  Emily Graham and Sarah Andrews
Treasurer: Rosalind Winfield
CPD Co-ordinators: Parisa Hart and Fiona Clark
Equitable briefing: Ingrid King
WLA Liaison Officer: Renée Bianchi
Diversity & Equality Opportunity Committee Liaison Officer: Winnie Liu
Social: Elizabeth Picker, Caroline Dobraszczyk, Gina Edwards, Emma Bartley and Chauntelle Ingenito
Alumni Project Coordinator: Kerrie Leotta
Clerk Representative: Jackie Charles

Correspondence to:

Women Barristers Forum
New South Wales Bar Association Basement,
Selborne Chambers
174 Phillip Street
Sydney NSW 2000


If you have news about a WBF member, have some suggestions as to how WBF can best promote women at the bar, or have concerns or need assistance please contact us.


The WBF thanks Thomson Reuters for sponsoring its activities.

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