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Clutz partner scoops misogyny award
21 October 2011
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Clayton Utz Chief Executive Partner Darryl McDonough has won the Judicial Ernie Award, for a comment deemed misogynist. That's one piece of perspex which probably won't be taking pride of place on his mantelpiece.

The Ernie Awards are designed to draw attention to boorish comments made by public figures about women, and are named after Aussie Union Secretary Ernie Ecob who allegedly uttered the immortal line "Women aren't welcome in the shearing sheds. They're only after the sex". The awards are given at a dinner attended by 400 women, who determine the winners by the volume of boos each receives.

This year, McDonough won the hotly contested judicial category, with his comment: "Certainly they are all females but each of them are [sic] extremely competent lawyers". Granted, this doesn't initially sound like the smartest thing to say by a firm currently fending off a lawsuit alleging it is "a hostile place for women to work". But read with the full quote - which was made in relation to Clutz's all-female partnership promotion round this July - the only thing McDonough seems guilty of is slightly unfortunate phrasing.

  Some misogyny yesterday

McDonough is unsurprisingly not at all happy about the award, telling RollOnFriday that his comment: "was mischievously and deliberately taken out of the context....I was responding to an observation by a journalist that Clayton Utz had appointed a large number of females as partners. My response noted that while each was indeed female, they were extremely competent lawyers - the point being that gender was irrelevant to their promotion....It is disappointing that my comments were deliberately taken out of context in order to cause embarrassment to me and the firm"

Embarrassing indeed as he now joins the likes of Melbourne barrister Paul Reynolds, a previous Ernie Award winner, who scooped his award for asking a female client who refused his sexual overtures to "just let me feel those puppies, then".


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