One in two female lawyers have been bullied at work, and up to one in three have been sexually harassed, according to research by the International Bar Association’s Legal Policy and Research Unit (LPRU).
One year since its shocking Women in Commercial Legal Practice Report, published in 2017, the LPRU has announced it will follow up with a new, broader-reaching survey to better understand the nature and prevalence of bullying and sexual harassment in the legal profession globally.
“The LPRU believes this [behaviour] to be unacceptable in any profession, let alone one that prides itself as being integral to justice and the rule of law,” the IBA announced in August.
The new survey is open to members of the legal profession and aims to collect as many responses as possible from around the world. At the time of writing, the LPRU said it had received more than 1,100 responses from 97 jurisdictions, including more than 100 responses from Australian lawyers. “The International Bar Association encourages all members of the profession to complete the survey, whether or not they have personally experienced bullying or harassment,” said Legal Advisor for the LPRU Kieran Pender.
“More data means a more complete picture of the nature and extent of the problem, which in turn means better analysis and greater prospects of achieving change.”
The prevalence of bullying in law was first revealed by the LPRU’s Women in Commercial Legal Practice Report, which surveyed more than 6,000 lawyers around the world. The release of the report coincided with growing global awareness about the prevalence of misconduct at work, in the wake of allegations against several high-profile names in media and showbusiness through the #MeToo movement of 2017. As well as the large numbers of women suffering from bullying and harassment, the survey revealed that about 30 per cent of men had experienced bullying in connection with their employment in the legal sector.