60-second interview with Kelly Gatehouse
What does your firm or employer do?
Turner Freeman Lawyers is an Australian firm specialising in injury compensation law and wills and estates.
What has STEP done for you, individually, or as an organisation?
STEP has provided me with an opportunity to form valuable networking relationships with like-minded colleagues in the legal and financial services industries.
What is the most important thing STEP does, in your opinion?
STEP provides exceptional educational events, resources and networking opportunities for members. Our branch is often approached by government bodies to provide important feedback on proposed legislative changes that impact trust and estate laws.
What made you decide to volunteer at STEP?
I became a member of STEP early in my legal career. My experience as a member was extremely beneficial to advancing my knowledge and networking skills. I joined the STEP Queensland committee as I wanted the opportunity to help other early-career professionals (Nextgen) to become involved in STEP.
What would you say to other members considering volunteering?
Volunteering as a committee member has given me the opportunity to improve our profession, particularly for early-career professionals. The committee has been very supportive of new ideas and we formed a new sub-committee that developed events targeted at the Nextgen group. I’ve also found that my work on the committee has given me the opportunity to expand my skills and meet other like-minded professionals.
Your branch has run some online events recently. How did they go, and do you have any recommendations to share?
After COVID-19 prevented us from holding our events in person, we quickly adapted to online webinars. The webinars were well received with high participation rates. Although we miss our face-to-face events, we found that webinars enabled regional practitioners to participate, so it was great to expand our offering.
Do you have any upcoming events to look out for?
The branch recently held a planning meeting for our 2021 events and, with much excitement, we are planning to hold our annual conference in person in September 2021. Given that we had to cancel last year’s, the conference will be extra special for us and we’re looking forward to having attendees able to network face to face over drinks and canapés (if all goes to plan).
What do you most like about your job, and what do you feel is most worthwhile?
I am able to help people when they are dealing with the loss of a loved one and at some of the most difficult times in their lives. Each case is different and challenging - mentally, emotionally and intellectually - because of the facts, the parties involved or the legal issues. I get immense satisfaction from finding effective solutions and strategies for clients that provide a real, positive impact on their lives.
What would you say to a young person thinking of a career in this industry?
Go for it! If you want to advance in your career, soak up as much knowledge as you can in your area of practice, attend networking events whenever possible and seek out mentors.
What do you feel are the main challenges facing your organisation/practitioners at the moment, and how will you deal with them?
COVID-19 is a major challenge as we are not able to offer face-to-face events, and so members are missing out on networking opportunities. The committee is exploring online and scaled-down face-to-face events to enable members to network within a COVID-safe environment. Do feel free to contact the committee if you have any suggestions on how we can network in the current environment.
Which social media channels do you use?
I’m on LinkedIn.