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Dean Hely

Managing Partner


I am the Managing Partner of Lavan, a leading, independent Western Australia law firm. Lavan is committed to being an employer of choice. Our people are the foundation of everything we do. Our firm’s purpose is to make a real difference for our people, clients and the community.

In the process of reviewing our structure and where we would like the firm to be in the next 2-3 years and after considering our purpose and our values of Fulfilment, Integrity, Courage, Collaboration and Excellence it became apparent to the leaders of the firm that more needed to be done around gender equity.

Whilst the data in relation to the firm’s equal pay position is relatively strong, our gender pay gap needs attention. This together with feedback from our staff meant we need to strategically and methodically work towards becoming an employer of choice for gender equity.

After meeting Ashley McGrath and hearing of the open and transparent environment created by CEOs for Gender Equity, I made the decision to become a member to assist our organisation on its journey.

Lavan has created a subcommittee (of our Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee) with a variety of staff members, including myself, partners, senior practitioners and members of our People & Culture team to focus on the structural changes needed within our organisation and the mechanisms by which to measure and report on the changes we need to make in our organisation to advance gender equity.

Our values include the value of Courage. We need to have the courage to face up to structural hurdles, to set long term goals for gender equity and to break down those goals into smaller objectives that are achievable in the short, medium and long term.

Another of the firm’s values is Collaboration. This journey requires the collaboration of the Partners, the Executive and all staff to implement new policies, to ensure that there is adequate training in relation to those policies and then report to Partners and staff on the progress the firm is making in implementing those policies.

As at October 2023, across our organisation we have the following mix of female to male participants:

Total staff: 67% female 33% male

Solicitors: 56% female 44% male

Associates: 54% female 46% male

Senior Associates: 71% female 29% male

Special Counsel: 64% female 36% male

Executive: 33% female 67% male

Partners: 44% female 56% male

Capital Partners: 11% female 89% male

All of our staff deserve access to equal opportunities and to be empowered to succeed irrespective of gender. Whilst, we strive to achieve best practices in the workplace, including offering flexible work opportunities; providing support for staff who are carers; preventing discrimination, harassment or bullying, building awareness about gender equity and working towards gender balance in our workforce, it is clear that our policies and procedures in these areas need to be clearer. There is a need for these policies to be more accessible to our staff, we need to have better training for our leaders to support these policies and most importantly we need to set goals that we want to achieve as an organisation and then measure our progress on a regular basis and report this progress back to all of our staff.

Our goal moving forward is to prioritise systemic changes through a clearly articulated roadmap to attain the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) Citation (Citation).

The changes needed in our organisation requires advocacy and a shift in focus from the top of the organisation.

As Managing Partner, I am committed to driving gender equity and gender balance within the firm to enable all of our people to thrive in a safe and inclusive environment where everyone has equal opportunities to be successful.

We understand at Lavan that we have more to do and that this process is about continuous improvement. The organisation is determined to improve for the benefit of our people, future employees and the community generally.

I’ve committed to joining CEOs for Gender Equity to help accelerate solutions on gender equity through connecting with like-minded peers across various industries.

My Partners and I understand ‘why’ more needs to be done throughout the community to obtain gender equity and part of this journey is focusing on what needs to be done in our own organisation.

I’m excited by the opportunity to join CEOs for Gender Equity.


CEO Conversation.


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