Toowoomba family lawyer, mediator and relationship coach Kym Briese has great advice for junior lawyers: “be true to yourself”.
The owner of Briese Lawyers was one of four Queensland Law Society (QLS) members recognised for reaching their 25-year milestone at the Downs South West Queensland Law Association (DSWQLA) Awards and Ball at the Annex at the weekend.
Kym, who was also a finalist for the DSWQLA Lawyer of the Year Award, said: “You will be challenged by both clients and colleagues throughout your career, hold firm to your moral compass and conduct yourself with integrity, always.”
Kym Briese is congratulated.
Kym studied law as an external student through Queensland University of Technology, graduating in 1996. In January 1990, she started as an Articled Clerk under Peter Shannon at the firm Shannon Nicholson in Dalby. Her Articles later transferred with Peter to Peter Shannon and Associates, which became Shannon Donaldson and Kym was admitted to practice in January 1996.
“I actually started doing work experience in a law firm when I was in grade eight, after meeting a lawyer at my sister’s wedding back in 1985,” Kym said.
“That became a regular holiday job throughout my high school years. As I didn’t have financial support to attend university, I needed to ‘earn and learn’, so law became an easy option, as it allowed for external study while I completed my Articles of Clerkship.”
In 2000, Kym joined Murdoch Lawyers in Toowoomba where she remained until the end of 2006. In 2007, she established her own firm, Briese Lawyers, which has since celebrated its 16-year milestone.
“Establishing my own firm has allowed me to practice law my way, including setting and upholding the values that are important to me and surrounding myself with a like-minded team. Attracting and retaining the right team members is always a challenge and being a Principal means that ultimately, everything stops with you. The pressure of managing a business and assuming the financial responsibility for your team is a whole other layer of stress on top of file work and client management.”
Kym has continued to study during her years of practise and holds a Certificate of Mediation and Collaborative Law Training, a Diploma in Child Psychology, a Post Graduate Diploma in Human Studies (Family and Relationship Counselling), and is a Licensed Relationship Coach with RCI.
“I am passionate about people and relationships, hence my attraction to family law and estate work. I am non litigious in my practice so enjoy working with people to resolve their issues through alternate dispute resolution methods, allowing them to make informed decisions for themselves, while maintaining dignity,” she said.
Briese Lawyers regularly sponsors a variety of community charities and causes as part of the firm’s commitment to community contribution. Kym has served on various boards, and is currently a Member of the Toowoomba arm of Queensland Community Foundation.
“Hitting the 25-year mark reiterates my tenacity and determination. Like many others, I have often entertained the idea of leaving the profession but on the most difficult of days, I remind myself that I have a 100 per cent success rate of surviving, so I put on my big girl panties and deal with it.”
Fellow 25-year recipient Barry Chappell also set his sights on law as a school student.
Barry Chappell with QLS President.
“At school, I did some tests and the career recommended to me was the law. I have lived in many places, but mostly Queensland. I spent a lot of time in Brisbane. Toowoomba attracted me because it is a very pleasant regional centre in which to live and work. The work in a regional centre is diverse,” Barry said.
“Commercial litigation was the first job for which I applied, and I stuck to it. A litigator considers many areas of law, and court work is a demanding exercise from which one can derive some satisfaction.
“I have worked in other jurisdictions, but 25 years in Queensland is a milestone that did not occur to me until it happened. I am grateful to be recognised by the QLS.”
Barry studied Law at Australian National University graduating in 1985 and was admitted in Canberra in 1986. He started his career at the firm, Steven Jaques Stone James in Canberra, and in 1987 the firm merged with Mallesons. Barry was admitted as a practitioner in Queensland in April 1993.
Across his career, Barry has worked at various law and accounting firms in Canberra, England, Brisbane and Toowoomba, specialising in insolvency, maritime disputes and practising in commercial litigation and dispute resolution.
Most recently he was Senior Associate at Murdoch Lawyers for five years before joining Clifford Gouldson Lawyers earlier this year, as a Senior Associate in the firm’s litigation and dispute resolution team.
Barry complements his wealth of practical experience with a passion for continuous learning. He has accumulated graduate and post-graduate university-level qualifications in economics, accounting, history, politics, law, policing, intelligence and counter-terrorism. He also holds a Master of Laws from the University of Queensland.
Barry credits litigating maritime law in Northern England is one of his most memorable career highlights.
Barry has held committee positions at junior AFL clubs, baseball clubs, and Jaycees.
Brooke Pugh also was awarded her 25-year pin and certificate but unable to attend the weekend function.
Brooke holds a Bachelor of Laws (Hons) from QUT and a Bachelor of Business from USQ, graduating with this combined degree in 1998. She started her Articles of Clerkship in 1994 at Dan Creevey and stayed on with the firm until 1999.
Brooke worked at Clewett Corser & Drummond from 1999–2005 and Rees Law from 2005-2010, at which time she established Condon Charles Lawyers where she is a Director with her husband, Chris Neville.
In 2013, she went on to establish the Toowoomba Family Law Centre, an alternative dispute resolution venue offering a range of non-litigious, holist and collaborative family law services.
Brooke has been a QLS Accredited Specialist in Family Law since 2005 and has also attained certificates in mediation and Family Dispute Resolution from Bond University, both completed in 2013.
Brooke is President of the Toowoomba Children’s Contact Centre. She is a past Committee Member of the Toowoomba Community Legal Service, the Victims of Crime Association, and Young Woman’s Place.
In 2015, Brooke was the recipient of the Downs Woman in Business of the Year Award.
Ben Gouldson, a Director of Clifford Gouldson Lawyers, was also recognised for 25 years but unable to attend. Born and raised in Toowoomba, Ben advises on corporate and export law, as well as wills, estates, planning and structuring, and intellectual property.
He is well known in the community and volunteers on many committees and boards.