Ross McFarlane

“At Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick, our goal is to create an inclusive workplace where we embrace diversity, and our people thrive. Inclusion is embedded in our firm’s strategy, and we are committed to making systemic changes and taking everyday actions to ensure that everyone who works here feels like they belong and can bring their whole selves to work every day”.

Ross McFarlane, Managing Principal

Strategic Commitment

Our strategic Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) commitment is to provide a diverse and inclusive workplace where all our people experience a sense of belonging and thrive. Through encouraging and promoting diverse perspectives, and by embracing a culture of inclusion, we will attract and retain the best people and enable them to perform to their full potential.

Inclusion Pillars

We have identified five strategic Inclusion Pillars with leadership sponsorship supported by employee led networks to provide our people the opportunity to contribute to our inclusion work

Cultures and Communities

Cultures and

Recognise the wide range of cultures, faiths and communities across our team and support cultural diversity including engagement with First Nations People.

Disability and Accessibility

Disability and

Remove barriers to meaningful employment, tap into neuro-diverse talent and provide dignified access for all people who access our buildings.

Gender Balance


Reflect the gender representation in our communities in our Board, Management Committee and Leadership roles.

LGBTQIA+and Allies

and Allies

Provide safe and inclusive workplaces where people can bring their whole selves to work every day – regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Life Ages and Stages

Life Ages and

Support all life stages, share knowledge across generations, facilitate flexibility and care when people need it most including parental, elder, family and domestic violence support.

Our Statement of Reconciliation

We declare our commitment to working towards achieving reconciliation between indigenous and non-indigenous people. We share the vision of Reconciliation Australia, that reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians.

We acknowledge and recognise:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the first peoples of Australia.
  • The loss and grief held by Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait Islanders caused by alienation from traditional lands, loss of lives and freedom, and the forced removal of children.
  • The customs and traditions of Indigenous Australians and their spiritual relationship with the land.
  • The right of Indigenous Australians to live according to their own beliefs, values and customs, and the vital importance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people’s contribution to strengthening and enriching the heritage of all Australians.
  • The need for a partnership approach with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as part of addressing the needs of communities.

Our focus areas and actions

Systems and Structure

Our governance and organisational frameworks, policies and practices deliberately support inclusion.

  • Diversity and Inclusion strategy and action plans endorsed by Management Committee
  • Leadership champions where each inclusion pillar is uniquely sponsored
  • Policy reform including
    • Diversity and Inclusion Policy: to outline our purpose, scope and guiding principles for how we value and manage diversity and inclusion.
    • Public Holiday Substitution: provides employees the option to work on a public holiday, and take a different day as leave to observe any cultural or religious days that are important to them.
    • Reasonable Workplace Adjustment Policy: to establish effective mechanisms for responding to the individual adjustment needs of existing and potential employees.
    • Family Violence and Domestic Leave Policy: to provide support and resources to employees facing situations of violence or abuse in their personal lives
    • Flexible Working Arrangements Policy: to support employees to balance their personal circumstances with work responsibilities
    • Parental Leave Policy: paid and unpaid gender-neutral parental leave, with 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all carers, flexible paid parental leave taken any time during 24 months and superannuation contributions for the full 12 month parental leave period
    • Pro-bono Policy: includes a focus on supporting organisations which support low income, disadvantaged or marginalised members of the Australian community
  • Systemically building inclusion into everyday communication including pronouns and First Nations land details in our emails and Acknowledgement of Country protocols for events
  • Employing a dedicated D&I Specialist to guide our strategies and actions
  • Recognise and commemorate an annual calendar of inclusion dates with events, guest speakers and education sessions
  • Use First Nations’ suppliers for event catering, firm celebrations, stationery and corporate gift procurement


Identification of inclusion metrics and goals aligned to our business strategy.

  • Leadership gender equity: applying a gender lens to our leadership pipeline, conducting annual gender pay gap analysis, focusing on inclusive leadership behaviours and developing leadership skills through our talent pipeline
  • Experience of inclusion and belonging:
    • Phillips Ormonde Fitzpatrick is the first Intellectual Property firm to be awarded as an Inclusive Employer as part of the Diversity Council of Australia Inclusion@Work Index
    • Retesting our people’s experience of inclusion via the Inclusive Employer Index to measure our progress towards our goals.

Capability Uplift

Increase diversity, equity and inclusion awareness and capability across our workforce.

Comprehensive learning and development program including:

  • D&I Awareness
  • Unconscious Bias
  • Inclusive Leadership
  • Cultural Awareness
  • LGBTIQA+ Inclusion
  • First Nations Awareness
  • Disability Confidence
  • Deep dive self-directed learning resources