2017 Seabrook Chambers Public Lecture: Diversity in the Legal Profession: Reflections on Gender Equity and the Rule of Law

Free Public Lecture

Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street, Carlton, 3053


More information

T: 8344 1111


Free Public Lecture – 6.30 – 7.30 pm

Post-lecture reception – 7.30 - 8.00 pm

Diversity carries with it innumerable benefits for lawyers, litigants, and society more broadly. In ranking a country’s commitment to the rule of law, international organisations specifically consider the country’s treatment of women. And studies have shown that gender equality is correlated with lower levels of official corruption, greater economic output, improved labour productivity, and other positive measures of social development. Yet in many advanced nations, including the United States, a gap remains between our ideals and our reality. Women are underrepresented in the U.S. legal profession at large, and in the judiciary in particular. Despite great strides toward encouraging women to attend law school, few women make partner in large law firms or go on to become federal judges. Approximately two thirds of all active federal judges are men. But there is hope for more progress. Through mentoring young women, engaging in conversations about the importance of diversity, and encouraging women to seek judicial appointments, we can continue to bridge the gap between where we are and where we aspire to be.

The Honourable Allyson K. Duncan will present the 2017 Seabrook Chambers Lecture. Judge Duncan’s career has been marked for its series of “firsts.” She is the first African American woman and the first woman from North Carolina to sit on the Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. She was the first African American woman to serve on the North Carolina Court of Appeals. She was the first African American to serve as President of the North Carolina Bar Association, and only the third woman to do so.


  • The Honourable Allyson K. Duncan
    The Honourable Allyson K. Duncan, Circuit Court Judge for the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit