Valerie French, first woman member honoured

Francis Burt Chambers congratulates Valerie French (pictured right) on being awarded the Medial of the Order of Australia in the General Division for her service to the judiciary and to the law.

Mrs French holds a special place in the history of Francis Burt Chambers, as the first woman to practise as a barrister in Western Australia and to join our Chambers.

She joined in April 1975, followed by Toni Kennedy in September of that year.  Both would later be appointed to the District Court, with Toni Kennedy becoming the first woman both to be appointed as a judge in Western Australia (in 1985) and as Chief Judge of the District Court (in 2004).

Following her appointment to the District Court in 1994, Valerie French went on to serve as President of the WA Children’s Court and, in 2006, as Chair of the then Parole Board. She continues her service to the law in Western Australia as a member of the Board of Law Access, a not-for-profit organisation that coordinates the giving of pro bono legal assistance by the WA legal profession.

Early women members honoured