b'COMMUNITY| LEGAL SECTOR| 2020SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHTRECONCILIATION IN AUSTRALIAChallenges and Opportunities Participation in business and employment is a key element that drives sustainable self-sufficiency for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander individuals, families and communities. Indigenous people, like many minority groups, are underrepresented in the legal profession and its supply chain. The National Profile of Solicitors 2018 Report conducted by the NSW Law Society found that the percentage of the profession nationally self-identifying as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people reduced from 1.2 percent only 0.7 percent compared with 3.3 percent in the general population. This may be a factor of fewer graduate lawyers, inequality in recruitment or perhaps because fewer Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyers self-identifying. Law forms should consider increasing cultural learning, safety and awareness within organisations to increase First Nations employees to self-identify as well as encouraging First Nations peoples to want to choose law as a career.Law firms investments in nurturing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander legal talent can be improved to provide more attractive opportunities for First Australian Lawyers. Deeper more immersive programs that include more continuous and progressive pathways including scholarships, vacation placements, internships, clerkships, graduate programs and Lawyer development programs, will lead to higher levels of engagement by participants.Firms can increase the opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to apply for and serve firm internships and other programs, by holding ongoing recruitment and staggering program, rather than the narrow peak recruitment windows and set programming. Promotion for these intakes should also be reviewed to ensure that they are effectively reaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students at times and places where they are best received.Increasingly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses are providing supplier diversity through competitive goods and services that are used by law firms and other businesses. But for these businesses to grow and to increase their range of products and services further they need the increased demand and support from businesses like law firms. Supply Nation is the leading directory for Indigenous owned businesses and is endorsed by the Australian Government. Reconciliation Action Plans have a positive effect in workplaces and improve a firms chances of achieving the objectives of relationships, respect and opportunities and implementing and measuring practical actions. While RAPs can be useful in any organisation, those firms that feel they are too small to benefit sufficiently from the RAP program should still identify the best opportunities to contribute to reconciliation that align with their skills and capacities with a focus on impact. Examples of useful initiatives include working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lawyers to create training and employment pathways in their business, searching for appropriate Indigenous owned businesses to supply required goods and services, awareness and inclusion training for staff and pro bono and other support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander NGOs and peoples. Having plans and policies is an important part of the challenge but strong leadership, commitment, and transparency are possibly more important to changing established beliefs, behaviours and outcomes. In businesses this requires deeper engagement with leadership, employees, stakeholders and more meaningful connections with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. One-to-many types of engagement events are common in many law firms but can be superficial if they are not part of a deeper set of engagements. This year the Closing the Gap report on targets set by governments to achieve progress for basic equality for First Australians showed that progress on many of the most important targets including; child mortality, life expectancy, numeracy and literacy, school attendance and employment are continuing to be missed in Australian states and territories. These disappointing results suggest the current strategies to increase the inclusion and equality of opportunity are failing or at least are insufficient. This has led to the development of a new national agreement on Closing the Gap which was negotiated with inclusion of First Nations representatives for the first time and is intended to be implemented as a partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.48'