RISING STAR: Selena Cartwright
Cartwright heads up Baldwin Cartwright Lawyers, a regional firm based in Gympie, Queensland. She was nominated as a finalist at last week's national awards, after winning the Queensland Commonwealth Bank Business Owner award early this year.
While Cartwright didn't take out the national Telstra award, she has certainly achieved wonders for her hometown of Gympie by becoming one of the youngest ever female partners of a law firm - a position she entered into at just 24. "I always saw myself as being a partner at the firm," she told Lawyers Weekly. "I was 23 when I was admitted as a solicitor. At 24, I became an equal partner in the firm. And by 25, I became the sole principal."
Cartwright came to the attention of the Telstra awards not due to her youth, but rather the fact that she's managed to achieve extraordinary growth in the firm - which stands on the cusp of being a multi-million dollar practice.
"When I took over the firm, I had a different vision for it just like all business owners have their own personal goals - financially and also what you want to achieve," she said. "I certainly wanted a firm that could help clients no matter what life would throw their way and a big focus for achieving that was through diversification. I realised that we lost clients simply because we didn't have the expertise to be able to provide advice on things like personal injuries."
In order to address this challenge, Cartwright employed a number of like-minded professionals with diverse experience to ensure the firm could offer more broader services to clients, and avoid having to refer valued clients on to other firms.
Cartwright is also adamant about providing opportunities for young aspiring lawyers and businesspeople, and especially about assisting in the advancement of women in regional firms. "I'm proud of what we built and I must say we have a fantastic team of staff," said Cartwright. "We have a whole range of staff but really it's together that we've been able to do what we've done."
For a full profile on Selena Cartwright, see next week's edition of Lawyers Weekly.