The co-authors of a paper on what parity in cultural diversity looks like are the winners of this year’s William Ah Ket Scholarship.
The paper, by Kelvin Ng and Ming Kalanon, looked at cultural diversity by focusing on Asian Australians in the legal profession. The paper discusses the need and business case for cultural diversity, before focusing on how cultural diversity is measured.
The paper was chosen by a panel of judges: The Hon. Justice Margaret Beazley AO, President of the New South Wales Court of Appeal; His Honour Judge Joshua Wilson, of the Federal Circuit Court of Australia; Professor George William AO, Dean of UNSW Law; and Patrick Ibbotson, partner and Chairman of Maddocks.
Kelvin and Ming, who are graduate lawyers at Norton Rose Fulbright, will each receive $3,000 for their winning paper.
Chuan Jun Yeap, a lawyer at Marshalls+Dent+Wilmoth Lawyers, and Gisela Nip, a lawyer at Clayton Utz, were each awarded $1,000 as runners up. Chuan Jun’s paper highlighted the impact of unconscious bias and disproportionate gender representation in the legal profession. Gisela’s paper examined the consequences of a lack of cultural diversity on Australian company boards.
This year marks the second year of the William Ah Ket Scholarship, an initiative by the Asian Australian Lawyers Association (AALA). The scholarship is named after William Ah Ket, who in 1904 became the first Australian barrister of Chinese origin.
The winner of the William Ah Ket Scholarship was announced at a ceremony held tonight in the Sydney office of Maddocks, who is the sponsor of the scholarship. William Ah Ket was an articled clerk at Maddocks in 1903.
AALA vice-president William Lye, OAM, congratulated the winners of this year’s scholarship.
‘The scholarship honours the career of William Ah Ket by asking junior members of the legal profession and law students to think deeply about diversity and equality in the law and the way the law deals with equality and diversity.
‘This year’s papers were outstanding as they tackled major issues that William Ah Ket confronted as a solicitor and then a barrister and that we as a profession and as a wider community continue to grapple with today.’
Maddocks partner and chairman Patrick Ibbotson said the firm was proud to be supporting the scholarship.
‘Maddocks takes great pride in leading the discussion within the legal profession about how we can encourage greater diversity and equality within our own places of work and the greater community.
‘We are proud that such an important legal figure as William Ah Ket began his legal career with Maddocks more than 100 years ago and that we are able to honour his contribution to the profession in this way.’