Kimberley Martin, Director at Worrall Moss Martin, is a lawyer on the rise. She had recently won the STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) Young Practitioner of the Year award, a global award which featured five other finalists.
Prior to this, she won the Law Society of Tasmania’s Young Lawyer Award in 2016. She has served as a director on multiple philanthropic and not-for-profit organisations, been interviewed by ABC’s 7:30 Report, and appeared in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald. Insights spoke to Kimberley about her career to date, how it feels to be recognised for the STEP award, and her advice for lawyers looking to achieve early career success.
Honoured to be recognised
“Looking at the caliber of the other finalists, it is a privilege to have been recognised. I feel extremely honoured,” said Kimberley. She is the only representative from Australia for the award, which is open to members and non-members of STEP.
“I strongly support awards that recognise young emerging leaders. This is especially the case where the award criteria require a component of community service, as I believe it is the responsibility of all professionals to ensure that they support and contribute to their communities. I encourage all young practitioners to apply for awards like these.”
An active contributor to the legal profession and community
“When I look at all the things that I have done in the six years since admission, I wonder where I had the time to sleep and maintain a social life. I have been very active, not only at a state level, but also on a national and international level through my involvement on committees, through my published work, professional and community presentations, and media exposure,” said Kimberley.
Her career highlights include being interviewed by ABC’s 7.30 Report and being quoted in The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald about the emerging legal field of digital assets. She also played a key role in establishing the STEP Digital Asset Global Special Interest Group Steering Committee.
“I prepared detailed submissions (on behalf of STEP Australia) in response to the NSW Law Reform Commission review on digital assets,” said Kimberley. Until late 2017, she was also Director, Chair of the Governance Committee and deputy Chair of the Board of the Glenorchy Community Fund, a perpetual philanthropic fund for the Glenorchy community.
“I assisted the Fund with the transition to a corporate structure and was the driving force behind the organisation establishing its own charitable trust structures,” said Kimberley.
In addition, she is also the Secretary and Deputy-President of the Tasmanian Committee of Women Chiefs of Enterprise International (WCEI), playing a key organising role for the upcoming WCEI Forum, ‘Women on Top – Getting There and Staying There.’
Kimberley is a current Director and the Chair of the Board of Montagu Community Living, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support to children, young people and adults with disability, helping them to live a valued and meaningful life and remain connected to their chosen community. She also speaks to high school and university students about her career in law.
Creative solutions for difficult issues
“It seems cliché, but in performing legal work I really feel satisfied when I am able to genuinely help someone resolve a difficult issue,” said Kimberley. “I am committed to my clients, and to helping them find peace of mind with issues that affect everybody, such as incapacity and death. I do this by helping them put a proper estate plan in place or helping them to find solutions when there is no (or an inadequate) estate plan. With each client’s circumstances being different, I find it to be a rewarding challenge to develop and implement solutions for those clients, and I am known for creating bespoke and creative solutions to achieve this purpose.”
Kimberley finds the collegiality and camaraderie of law to be immensely satisfying.
“This profession attracts perfectionists, and it is rewarding to have those traits valued and recognised.”
Finding the resources and drive to become a lawyer
“The greatest barrier to my becoming a lawyer was me,” said Kimberley. “I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a lawyer, and whilst I would not necessarily describe my childhood as underprivileged, I had limited access to the kind of resources a young person may need in order to achieve that goal.”
In her late adolescence, Kimberley had a moment that crystallised her drive and determination to become a lawyer.
“I realised that if I wanted to achieve my goals in life I needed to start to work for them, and never to stop. That motivation and drive has remained with me and striving for excellence in everything I do is ingrained.”
Kimberley is inspired by ambitious goals.
“A quote I often recite is, ‘The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark.’”
Learn, listen and grow from constructive criticism
From her early career, Kimberley said she was fortunate to have many talented lawyers mentor her, offering their knowledge, connections and practical legal expertise.
“I learned to listen to constructive criticism, and from that was able to develop the areas where I was less strong to become a well-rounded practitioner. I believe that most people who become lawyers are accustomed to being recognised as high-achievers, so the best advice I can give young practitioners is to listen, learn and grow, because being a lawyer is all about constantly developing and improving your knowledge, your practices and yourself.”
While she recognises the value of work-life balance, she personally found it beneficial to invest extra time towards her career goals in her early professional life.
“I was prepared to do what was necessary, including sacrificing other pursuits which were less important to me than the law,” said Kimberley. “However, it is important to have a plan, and to be effective and efficient with your time, and to chart your expectations and achievements. It is important to stay present and to stay focussed not only on your career goals, but your life goals, and to allocate a balance to both.”
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