Marton, New Zealand
- Barrister, Judge, Lawyer and Solicitor
A graduate of the University of Western Australia Faculty of Law, The Honourable Judy Eckert was the first woman to serve as president of the Law Society of Western Australia (1995-6). She was admitted as a legal practitioner in 1981 after completing her articles with Northmore, Hale, Davey and Leake (now Minter Ellison). In 1986, only four years after her admission, she became that firm's first female partner.
In 1991, Eckert joined the WA Crown Solicitors Office, where she practised for eleven years and where she conducted a major review of the WA Legal Aid Commission. She joined the WA bar in 2002, the year she was also made a Life Member of the Law Society of Western Australia. In 2005 she was appointed a Judge of the District Court of Western Australia as a prelude to her appointment as Deputy President of the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), sitting in the Human Rights stream. Regarded as one of Western Australia's top legal minds, Eckert had a signficant role to play in drafting the SAT legislation package which, at the time, was the largest piece of legislation ever to pass the WA parliament.
In 2011, ill health led to Eckert's early retirement. In 2012, she was honoured at Women Lawyers Western Australia's annual dinner for her contributions to advancing the status of women in the Western Australian legal profession.
Her Honour has three children and a husband who, she says, made it possible for her to pursue her legal career as far as she did. 'I certainly would not have been able to become president of the law society if my husband hadn't stayed home with the kids,' she observed in 2004. Work/life balance issues are not 'women's issues', she insisted: 'they are management issues'.
Judy Eckert was interviewed by Nikki Henningham in the Trailblazing Women and the Law Oral History Project. For details of the interview see the National Library of Australia CATALOGUE RECORD.