Young Guns 2010: The Young Guns Of Private Practice
Article courtesy of LexisNexis – LAWYERS WEEKLY
Oct 6, 2010
The future of the legal profession lies in the hands of today’s young lawyers. They are the thought leaders, the drivers of change and the people who have the vision and ambition to excel in the profession and deliver something positive to their clients, their firms and society at large.
So who are today’s best young private practice lawyers and what makes them tick? Lawyers Weekly sought out seven outstanding young lawyers, all within their first five years of practice and all showing immense promise in their chosen fields of practice. They are a mixed bunch, working within some of Australia’s best law firms, with most also leading on social, political and pro bono issues within and external to their workplaces.
Talking to these young lawyers, whose interests and outlooks on life and work vary, it is clear that they all share a passion for what they do, and it is this passion which has driven them to achieve early success in their careers.
It is also clear that the priorities of today’s young lawyers are not solely work-oriented, with pro bono work, social conscience activities, extra-curricular pursuits, world travel and the ability to have a good laugh also high on the agenda.
|Young Guns 2010: Jnana Gumbert, Stacks/Goudkamp|
With lawyers as parents, Stacks/Goudkamp director Jnana Gumbert says she was destined to become a lawyer from a very young age. And although she once contemplated life as an actress, Gumbert followed her “sensible side” and chose to pursue a career as a lawyer after joining Stacks/Goudkamp as a paralegal in 2001.
“At the time that I started working for Stacks, I hadn’t decided to study law but after several months of working there I knew that it was something I wanted to do long-term,” she says.
Revealing a strong work ethic at an early age, Gumbert completed her legal qualifications while working full-time as a paralegal at Stacks, before being admitted as a solicitor in 2006, becoming an associate director in 2008 and then a director of the firm in July 2009.
Adding to an already impressive resume, Gumbert completed a Master of Laws at the University of Sydney in 2009 and was appointed as the New South Wales branch president of the Australian Lawyers Alliance (ALA) – an organisation she joined when she first started at Stacks.
“I have gained great satisfaction from my role as ALA president as it has enabled me to do a lot of things that I wouldn’t ordinarily be able to do as a solicitor,” she says. “Being involved with ALA allows me to get involved in the policy side of the law and we spend a lot of time making submissions for law reform.”
At Stacks/Goudkamp, where she has remained since her admission, Gumbert specialises in compensation law and administrative law, particularly major and catastrophic injury claims arising from motor vehicle accidents, public liability and medical negligence cases for individuals.
“The thing I like most about my job is the feeling that I am helping people and making a difference,” Gumbert says. “Personal injury law is not very popular but the fact is that our clients – injured accident victims – are desperately in need of help and are probably going through the most difficult experience they’ve ever had to go through.
“Being able to assist them and ensure that they receive the compensation that they need to look after them in the future is very rewarding,” she says.
While admitting that managing the demands of work and study has been difficult at times, Gumbert says she wouldn’t have it any other way.
“At this stage I am really enjoying what I am doing and I guess I will just keep going along and seeing what opportunities come my way,” Gumbert says, reflecting on what’s next on her agenda.
The self-confessed shopaholic divides her time between work and her “very large” family, her friends and overseas travel – which she tries to squeeze in once a year – but a busy schedule hasn’t ruled out further study for Gumbert, who hints at another Masters or PhD some time in the future.