Kathryn C. Carter, Senior Associate, Solomon Harris
How long have you been working for your current company?
Briefly explain your career history and what led you to your current position.
I worked as a tax lawyer in the Canadian oil and gas industry for over 20 years before moving to a more generalised corporate commercial, tax and resource law practice. In 2009 an opportunity to practice law in the Cayman Islands came up and I decided to move to the Cayman Islands and expand my horizons again.
What is your proudest professional achievement and why?
My proudest professional achievement is settling over two dozen open tax years for a client that resulted in a billion-dollar tax refund. It took over five years of work by a team to make this settlement happen. My next proudest professional achievement is having my legal work in the Cayman Islands recognised as being of significant benefit to my clients.
What are the greatest challenges that you face in your current role and what do you do to overcome them?
Client development is my greatest challenge as I prefer to let my work speak for itself instead of soliciting work.
How difficult is it for you personally to attain work-life balance and how do you endeavour to do this?
It was extremely difficult to achieve work-life balance as a tax practitioner which is why I stopped practicing tax exclusively. I subsequently developed some interests outside the practice of law which I pursue very enthusiastically outside of working hours. These interests are entirely portable.
Did you have a mentor or role model in your career or while you were studying law? Who were they and how did they help you?
I did not have a mentor or role model in either my career or my legal studies. I have an absolutely fabulous spouse, who is not a lawyer, who supports me mentally and emotionally in my career endeavours and acts as my sounding board. I would not be the practitioner that I am today without him.
How effective do you think corporate diversity initiatives are? What methods do you think are most effective and why?
I am not a strong believer in the effectiveness of initiatives, if for no other reason than because I have had personal experience with corporations utilising various initiatives (mostly tax ones) to their own advantage without changing their underlying philosophies. The bottom line is what counts for corporations, so I am a strong believer that corporate diversity will be successful as corporations realise that it improves their bottom lines.
Were there any points in your career when you felt you were at a disadvantage or at an advantage because you were female?
I never felt at a disadvantage (or advantage) because I was a woman, but I definitely made decisions that affected my career because I am a mother.
What do you think have been the most significant changes for women in the legal industry over the past five years?
I think the most significant recent change in the legal industry is that both men and women are working towards work-life balance and are not willing to accept that the practice of law must continue to be the same as in previous years (or generations).
"The bottomline is what counts for corporations, so I am a strong believer that corporate diversity will be successful as corporations realise that it improves their bottomlines."
Kathryn Carter is a ranked lawyer in the Chambers Global Guide. More on her profile