“Studying law is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” says Kate Gibbons, a solicitor with top-tier law firm, Minter Ellison. “At first, I thought I was doing it because my parents wanted me to – and I dropped out.
When I was 23, I enrolled in graduate school at UNSW. The motivation was there. I wouldn’t have felt complete if I didn’t do it. I worked three jobs – at boarding school, as a maths tutor and at Minter Ellison – and there was blood, sweat and tears (especially tears) around exam time. You want to know what you are capable of.”
Kate ended up with Minter Ellison through a chance meeting over drinks while she was still working for the Australian Stock Exchange. “I said I might want to get into securities law. She said she would speak with a partner about a job. It all rolled from there – summer clerkship season came around and I was asked if I wanted to put my name forward. It was such an organic process.”
Intelligent and keenly self-aware, Kate Gibbons is also actively involved in NSW Young Lawyers, helping to organise ‘How to Have it All: Health, Happiness & the Law’, a series of seminars focusing on improving the mental and physical well being of young lawyers. “A lot of people talk about where they are in life, and what they need to achieve by a certain age. I think this is an illusion. The law usually attracts high achievers, perfectionists – the very ambitious,” observes Kate. “You need to know why you are doing what you do. You need to put up boundaries and be realistic and ask, 'Do I really need to get everything done tonight?' There are a lot of people who try to be heroes and work all night. You have to work smarter – not harder.”