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Partner Profile: Kirsten Fish

Partner Profile: Kirsten Fish

We ask a law firm partner a series of rapid-fire questions about their career. This time: Clayton Utz's Kirsten Fish.

Which firm are you with?

Clayton Utz.

When did you join that firm?

August 2005.

When were you made a partner of that firm?

January 2008.

Which firm were you at most recently prior to this?

I began my career as a summer clerk at Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst) and remained there until moving to Clayton Utz as a senior associate.

What practice group are you with?

Taxation

What has been the most significant change to your practice area during your career?

The GFC resulted in a significant shift in the focus of my practice, and has opened up new opportunities to use my skills in different areas.  Prior to 2009 I was occupied full-time advising on structured retail investment products, primarily equity derivatives and lending products, and wholesale structured lending transactions between international investment banks.  With the decline in opportunity in that area, I have been able to expand my practice into other areas of investment and financing, in particular focusing on investments in the property and infrastructure sector, and a focus on foreign government and pension fund investors.

What has been a major career highlight for you?

I am lucky enough to be part of one of Australia’s leading tax practices. This has meant that much of the work I undertake for clients is cutting edge. Being able to work on innovative structures and financial products is a real highlight for me. I work with some amazing clients.  I also get to work alongside and in teams with partners who are leaders in their field. No doubt the highlight for me is delivering an exceptional outcome for the client in respect of a complex problem.

What do you like about being a lawyer?

I like working with clients to help them achieve a commercial outcome. No two days are the same and I really enjoy the intellectual challenge that comes with the role. I also enjoy working as part of a team, working with exceptional and intelligent partners within tax and across multidisciplinary teams, and ensuring the ongoing development of lawyers and senior associates with whom I work. Seeing young lawyers develop over years is a rewarding experience. I am lucky enough to have had (and continue to have) great mentors during my career and I want to provide the same opportunity to others.

What do you find challenging?

Like many new mums returning to work, the biggest challenge I have currently is finding the right balance between building and maintaining a practice, supporting and mentoring staff, and devoting quality time and energy to my family and friends.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not working?

Spending time with my family and friends, and in particular entertaining my one-year-old son. I also enjoy interior decoration, cooking and reading.

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