We caught up with Tanya Herbertson, Director at Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers as part of our #WomenLawyersoftheACT series, to chat about finding joy in practice and finding a work-life balance.
Where do you currently work and what is your position?
I am a Director at Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers. I specialise in Personal Injury and Wills & Estates.
What is the difference between being a lawyer and a Director?
Being a Director allows me to see the firm as a business and develop skills regarding the management of the practice. It gives you a different perspective to working as a practitioner. There are no fixed rules around director time and lawyer time but it is important to be mindful of the competing priorities.
What made you go into Personal Injury and Wills & Estates as your primary practice areas?
Before becoming a practitioner I worked at NRMA. Through this position, I had a relationship with Richard Faulks, who was often on the other side of matters. Richard lured me across to the plaintiff side and when Snedden Hall & Gallop Lawyers merged with Stacks I took on that client base as my primary Personal injury clients. I wanted some different experience and exposure and moved into the Wills & Estates practice area. It is a nice balance between Personal Injury and Wills & Estates as I find that they are both quite different but still client focused. The wills work is often quite transactional, whereas I have a long term relationship with a lot of my personal injury clients and it is quite a privileged relationship where I get to know them and their circumstances really well. It’s a privilege to build the trust and relationships with these clients.
What aspect of your work do you find to be most enjoyable?
The work is all about the clients and about problem solving. For me, I would not enjoy working in an area, say, reviewing contracts. Some clients or situations can be really difficult at the outset of the matter but that to me can be the most enjoyable work. I enjoy being able to take a difficult and challenging situation and find a resolution and have a satisfied client by the end of the matter.
Having said that, it can be quite stressful.
What are some techniques you use to deal with that stress, to “switch off” and to relax?
Keeping work and home separate. Being healthy also helps me manage stress. The big ones for me are reformer pilates and boxing. I attend 5 – 6 classes per week at Lucas Studio. It’s a must for me and I just make this time happen no matter what is going on with work and/or family. For me, the time I spend at the gym is my me time.