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15 July 2019

Helping people in difficult times: a discussion with lawyer Kelly Gatehouse

Published on 15 July 2019

Helping people in difficult times: How the College’s Master of Applied Law helped Kelly Gatehouse rank among the best lawyers in Australia

Kelly Gatehouse is a rising star of wills, trusts and estate law. A recent graduate of the College’s Master of Laws (Applied Law) majoring in Wills and Estates, Kelly has been listed in the Best Lawyers in Australia 2020 for her Trusts and Estates expertise. She also serves on the Queensland committee of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). 

Insights spoke to Kelly on what drives her to excellence as a lawyer, what attracted her to the College’s LLM, and what she enjoys most about her role as a Senior Associate with McInnes Wilson Lawyers.

Not just a job but a profession

“Being a lawyer is not just a job, it’s a profession,” said Kelly. “I’m fortunate to do a lot of things I love and feel passionate about.” 

Kelly works in estate litigation, an area of practice which brings her into contact with people from all walks of life.

“It’s an opportunity to help them when they are dealing with the loss of a loved one and are dealing with one of the most difficult times in their lives.” Kelly said. “Each case is different and challenging - mentally, emotionally and intellectually - because of the facts, the parties involved or the legal issues.”

Kelly derives immense satisfaction from finding effective solutions and strategies for clients that provide a real, positive impact on their lives. 

“I am also lucky enough to work with and be surrounded by highly intelligent, honourable and stimulating people, within my firm and in the broader legal profession, who offer up their time to provide support and mentorship to me,” she said.

Relevant, practical and an impressive path to promotion and designation as a Trust and Estate Practitioner

Kelly was attracted to the College’s Master of Laws (Applied Law) majoring in Wills and Estates to assist her in filling a knowledge gap.

“It is the only master’s program I am aware of that is directly relevant to my area of practice,” she said. “It was really a ‘no brainer’ to complete the Master of Applied Law to advance my knowledge and skills.”

“I was also impressed by the calibre of lecturers who are ‘real’ and respected solicitors and barristers who practice in wills and estate,” Kelly said. Others in her area of practice also encouraged her to complete the Masters as preparation for attaining a specialist accreditation.

“I intend to complete specialist accreditation sometime in the near future,” Kelly said.

“The Master’s allowed me to rapidly expand my legal and practical knowledge in wills and estates,” said Kelly. “I would otherwise not have been able to achieve this as quickly solely through the practice of law.”

The benefits to her career were significant; she was promoted from Associate to Senior Associate following completion of the Master’s.
“The College of Law is an education partner of STEP,” Kelly said. “By completing WEP1 and WEP2 in the program, I obtained full membership with STEP. I am now a designated Trust and Estate Practitioner. Throughout the program I also strengthened and gained professional relationships with other students and lecturers.”

For lawyers considering a Masters with the College, Kelly was encouraging.

“Go for it! There is nothing to lose by commencing a Master’s,” she said. “I enjoyed the program so much and have benefited significantly from the program that I’m considering completing other applied law subjects.”