Financial services law doesn't have to be boring, and Kemp Strang partner Vicki Grey is proof of that. Australasian Lawyer finds out how a former professional ballerina found herself writing the first bank lending policy for SMSFs
How would you sum up lawyers in three words?
Usually incredibly determined
What made you decide to become a lawyer?
Best not to ask. It had to do with a family law matter that saw me in court for over 80 appearances - needless to say, I don't practice Family Law!
What do you love most about the job now?
Building relationships with clients across Australia
You recently moved from Gadens to Kemp Strang – is the grass greener?
Different law firms suit different people - for me, it is great to be a part of what we are building here at Kemp Strang
Was being a financial services/banking lawyer during the GFC fallout a) stressful or b) fortuitous? Why?
My experience during the GFC was very fortuitous. I was lucky enough to be involved in developing the first lending policy offered by a major Australian bank to self-managed superannuation funds - and I am now well-known in this niche area. This means that my practice now has two dimensions - a financial regulation advisory and product development side as well as my work as an adviser to many major Australian lenders in the SMSF lending space!
What do you think is the single biggest issue facing banking/financial services lawyers in Australia in 2014?
The ability to provide commercial, practical solutions to questions posed by clients - many lawyers with purely private practice experience find this difficult. I would love to be able to send all my junior lawyers on secondment to a client so they can see what it is like to work in the businesses they are advising
What’s the strangest and/or most interesting matter/deal you’ve ever been involved with as a lawyer?
There is plenty about financial services and credit regulation that is strange - but only a handful of people actually find this work interesting! (a challenge when trying to entice young lawyers away from the glamorous world of big ticket transactional banking matters or M&A work!)
What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
Believe in yourself!
What would you change about the legal industry if you could?
Hmmm - where to start…
Complete this sentence: If I wasn’t a lawyer, I would be…
Well, so far I have been a professional ballerina, a financial markets dealer and now a lawyer - so as you can see I have followed a very clear, (normal) career path! I am sure any other career would be similar to (at least) one of my former roles (not!)
How do you take your coffee?
I gave up drinking coffee over 20 years ago as the result of a bet with my (now very) ex-husband (refer Family Court comments above!) - however, most people that know me well will tell you that I drink tea constantly - black, no sugar!