Appearances sometimes deceive, says this KWM partner
The past year has taught Kirsten Bowe that appearances can be deceiving.
The Brisbane-based partner wants fellow lawyers to remember this lesson. An opportunity to help could go unnoticed otherwise, she says.
In this interview, the large IT and commercial transactions specialist also talks about the challenges she expects to face in her practice this year and what she thinks law firms and lawyers should focus on moving forward.
What made you choose a career in law?
I couldn’t choose between IT and law, so I did a double degree. It was definitely an unusual combination at the time, and one that has given me an interesting and ever-evolving practice.
What do you love most about your job?
The people. I work with great people, both at the firm and at clients. We do interesting and challenging work and I enjoy working with great people to help clients meet their objectives.
What is going on at the firm? Are there any new programs and initiatives that you’re particularly interested in?
Innovation and diversity are both a big focus within the firm and are both of particular interest to me. We have a strong diversity program, and I am heavily involved in the “engaging women” program. We are also rolling out an innovation program engaging with lawyers at all levels, and I love seeing the ideas, enthusiasm and empowerment this gives junior lawyers.
What has been your proudest accomplishment in 2017?
I’m proud of a number of things I achieved last year – big and small – but my professional highlight would be making partner. The confidence my clients and colleagues have shown in me is humbling, and I am very proud to be made a partner of KWM.
What should the profession and law firms focus more on?
Diversity and innovation. These are two areas that interest me, but I also think they will continue to impact on the law and how lawyers operate, in the same way they have been and will continue to impact clients and our daily lives. I also think we will see an increasing overlap between these issues. The more diverse the people, the more innovative you have the potential to be.
What’s the biggest lesson you learned in the past year and what advice can you give to fellow lawyers about it?
Just because people seem to be strong, doesn’t mean they aren’t struggling or don’t need help. No matter how busy or stressed you are, keep an eye on the people around you and make sure they are okay. It can be so hard, but it is so important.
What are the challenges you expect in your practice, and in the business of law in general, going forward? What challenges are particularly pressing in the country’s legal industry?
In my practice, I will be focused on how we innovate within our business and how we help our clients innovate and manage legal risks associated with new technologies. It is a fun and interesting challenge, and one I’m looking forward to. In terms of the broader legal industry, I think diversity is a pressing issue for the legal industry. Women are still underrepresented at the bar, on the bench and in partnerships (and that’s just gender diversity).