IWD21: Let’s challenge the status quo

In the lead up to the International Women’s Day 2021 event, I sat down with our four inspirational panellists to discuss what this year’s theme “Choose to Challenge” really means to them.

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When it comes to ‘doing it differently’ Zinta Harris is an expert.

A successful author, Accredited Succession Law & Business Law Specialist, Collaborative Lawyer and Mediator, Zinta is also the owner and founder of ‘Resolve Estate Law’ (formerly Harris Law).

She champions an untraditional approach of applying the ‘collaborative practice’ dispute resolution model to the wills and estates space to offer those who have lost a loved one an early, out of court settlement pathway.

After 25 years of practising wills and estate law, Zinta says her focus changed once she had her own children and began to consider how she could really contribute to the legal profession in her ‘twilight years’.

She thought long and hard about the type of legacy she wanted to leave for the next generation, and soon realised she needed to think outside the traditional legal box.

“The biggest thing I’ve learnt is that it’s okay to practice law to solve client problems in a real, human way,” Zinta says.  

“It wasn’t easy to challenge the status quo in a profession steeped in court processes and tradition, and I definitely stuck my neck out and took a risk, but if no one risks, nothing changes – and it’s time things changed.”

For International Women’s Day, Zinta says her goal is to encourage women to challenge the resistance to change within the legal profession and encourage young lawyers not to be afraid of doing things a little differently.

“We lose too many good women in this profession because of how we are taught that law must be practised is inherently inconsistent with how we as women, prefer to solve problems; and so, we opt out, battle-weary and disillusioned,” she says.

“Women have been in the legal profession in numbers for a very long time and it’s our responsibility to re-define the profession and leave it a better place for the next generation of young lawyers.’

“This International Women’s Day I’d like people to think deeply about who they are and what they can offer. Not only to their clients but also to each other and to the profession.”

You can join Zinta Harris along with Ashleigh DoRozario, Sandra Creamer and Dr Dinesh Palipana OAM, at our International Women’s Day 2021 event, in partnership with the Bar Association Queensland and Women’s Lawyers Association of Queensland. Our panellists will lead open and raw conversations about the personal and professional challenges they’ve faced and overcome. This event is now sold out, but you can purchase the recording of the evening here.

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