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Feminist Perspectives on Law, Law Schools and Law Reform

Essays in Honour of Professor Jill McKeough

Editor

ISBN

9781760023188

Publication date

08/09/2021

Format

Paperback

Page extent

244

AUD $69.95 gst included

Emerita Professor Jill McKeough is a pioneer of Australian intellectual property scholarship and teaching, former Head of School and Dean, Chair of the Council of Australian Law Deans and law reform commissioner. This volume considers Jill’s career in light of the politics of legal education, university management, law reform and university research assessment. Each of the chapters discusses particular career achievements, hurdles faced and critical reflections on her legacy. Gender themes addressed include: agency and opportunity; approaches to management and leadership; valuing labour and contribution; authority in public life; and understanding research impact.

Today only about 4% of festschrifts touch on women’s careers. This festschrift includes consideration of the underbelly of women’s success in a university. Successful careers do not magically unfold. Nor are they accidents. In exploring how one ‘gets on with it’ and what can be achieved given the chance, it is hoped that this collection can help to seed more ideas about what is possible and to keep bringing about necessary change.

Foreword Rosalind Croucher AM
1. On Law, Law Schools and Law Reform: Honouring Emerita Professor Jill McKeough – Professor Kathy Bowrey
2. Through the eyes of recent history: Emerita Professor Jill McKeough as leader and exemplar in Australian legal education – Emeritus Professor Paul Redmond
3. The Transformation of a Faculty of Law: Lessons in Leadership Excellence – Professor Anita Stuhmcke
4. A Journey through Leadership: the Parallax Effect – Professor Lesley Hitchens
5. Leaders and Litigants: Looking for Women in Copyright Cases – Professor Isabella Alexander and Professor Michael Handler
6. Jill McKeough and IP Law and Policy Reform – Emeritus Professor Sam Ricketson
7. Parallel importing of trade marked goods, the slow process of law reform and why it might be so – Professor Mark Davison
8. Inoculating law schools against bad metrics – Professor Kimberlee Weatherall and Associate Professor Rebecca Giblin

Q&A with Editor Kathy Bowrey

Where did the idea for this collection come from?

Women being in leadership is no longer surprising. A whole generation of women in law that many are familiar with are now retiring. I noticed that there is very little attention being paid to this. Senior women are going quietly, as if their presence in law schools was never that significant in the first place.

When questioned about this, women often reply that they don’t feel comfortable with noise being made about them personally anyway. But they are interested in talking about their careers in the academy – and hope some of their experience might be usefully passed on.

Jill McKeough is a woman of astounding accomplishment. She is warm, funny, deadly sharp. So many have benefitted from her support and teaching. She is looked on by many working in law as the very best example of leadership. I pressed Jill to agree to what is really an experiment – a different kind of festschrift to the kinds of works produced about men’s careers.

What did you learn writing the book?

At the age of 12 Jill was reading the Forsyth Saga by John Galsworthy, which is in many ways as epic as Tolkein’s The Lord of the Rings, except that it has women and lawyers in it. Jill chose the role model of the lawyer and rejected the character of his wife, a sappy, decorative, perpetually unhappy female.

What was an unexpected aspect you discovered/unearthed as it progressed?

That of all the festschrifts in English in the common law world the number documenting or celebrating women’s careers could be as low as 4%. I mean, I thought the proportion would be low, but really – there is something really repugnant about that. There is so much to learn that should not be lost.

What do you want the book to do for people?

It is a book that helps readers reflect on agency and personal opportunity and to understand these in light of the broader context of the times. Chapters also have important things to say about the politics of law reform, how it works, and just because recommendations are not adopted right away, this doesn’t mean the work does not have an impact.

Do you have any special favourites among the chapters?

Anyone involved in Australian legal education should read the chapter by Paul Redmond about Jill’s career in light of a history of legal education from the 1970s to the current day.

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