Katherine Manby, an experienced and understanding local lawyer, is rapidly building a business and a reputation for making a real difference in her client's lives.
My name is Kath Manby. My firm is VM Family Law, and we're located at Brookwater just near Ipswich.
We are an experienced and knowledgeable domestic and family law firm, with our mission to provide affordable legal advice in a casual and friendly manner for all our clients.
I myself have been through a domestically violent situation so I think I've got that connection in terms of what people have gone through, and I'm happy to sit down and tell my clients that I found myself in that situation too, and I think that helps create some sense of security in relaying their story and seeking help from us.
I enjoy the freedom and I enjoy choosing the jobs I want to do. I enjoy the fact that I can help people if I choose to, rather than having to seek somebody else's approval and often being told, no, you can't help that person, and for me it's just a lifestyle.
I was successful in obtaining a grant just recently to allow me to have a business coach, which has been so helpful at this stage in my business, so I'm constantly on the look out for grants and the work that the government do in supporting small businesses with those grants is fantastic.
Prior to establishing VM Family Law, Katherine was a senior lawyer specialising in the area of violence prevention and women's advocacy. When her father unexpectedly passed away, she decided it was time for a change, and time to make a real difference with her legal knowledge, skills and experience.
Katherine knew her local area was in desperate need of a law firm which understood the needs of women and children who had been exposed to domestic violence. With her own experience of overcoming a challenging upbringing, and armed with her Legal Aid knowledge and skills, VM Family Law opened its doors - to no clients but a strong desire to help. While other legal firms were withdrawing from Legal Aid and pro bono work, VM Family Law embraced it.
In its first year of operation, VM Family Law assisted over 150 clients and provided free legal advice to even more. The business has grown rapidly, based largely on word of mouth, and now employs 5 staff.
Working closely with domestic violence support services and legal partners, Katherine is able to undertake an extensive amount of Legal Aid and pro bono work. VM Family Law is now helping clients from all over Queensland and is planning to open a second office in Toowoomba in the near future. Katherine also hopes to be able to further build her client base to support a legal clinic offering free advice, similar to a local community legal centre.