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Courtney Bowie, founder and CEO of Her Lawyer, was recently crowned the winner of the Emerging Leader category at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards. Passionate about women in business, Bowie opened her own virtual law firm and continues to give back to the community during COVID-19.

Why did you pursue a career in business law?

I started off on a traditional legal career path, working my way up in a firm. Early on I worked at Gadens in their financial services recovery, doing the backend of business law. This involved dealing with the recovery for banks when businesses had gone bust. It was just heart breaking. My bosses used to call me a “bleeding heart” because I felt so sorry for people and thought this really could have been avoided if they’d got good advice up front. One day I realised I have this background in law and all these people need help, so why don’t I combine my skill set with what I’m really passionate about.

What prompted you to create Her Lawyer?

I feel like women are underserved by traditional law as clients and as employees. The traditional practice of law is very male dominated and could be done better in a way that’s more accessible for women. I created Her Lawyer as I wanted women to feel empowered in getting legal advice and feel like their lawyer was on their team. We focus on women who are bringing in money and ensure they have access to legal services to make that a reality. When I started the firm, I told my family and friends, “I’m going to have a virtual firm and I’m going to get most of my clients through social media.” They said I was insane and that it’d never work, but it did.  

How did you feel when you won at the Telstra Business Women’s Awards?

I was so excited I did a little dance. Also, this might be a strange response, but [I felt] validated. Even though my career has taken a non-traditional path and people have questioned me along the way, winning this award showed me there is value in the work I’m doing. It’s such a joy working with women and it has made working in the law all the more satisfying.  

How has your life changed due to COVID-19?

It is a little bit more hectic being at home with my husband and eight-month-old son. It is challenging trying to be good business owners and good parents at the same time. I thought I’d be less busy during COVID-19 but I’m actually busier. I’m interested to see how this period of remote working changes attitudes around flexibility and whether this will affect female lawyers’ pay and promotion. 

What is the Coronavirus COVID-19 Business Support Group?

This is an online support group I created to provide Australian business owners with reputable information about COVID-19 and business. We mainly cover changes to legislation, JobKeeper, the Fair Work Act and leasing. My role is to give updates on the legislation as it changes, help decode it and give some plain English summaries. 

What do you do in your spare time?

I’m spending quite a bit of time being a mum at the moment, which is a big learning curve. I’m doing a lot of walking but normally I like to vintage shop. I love recycling furniture, doing up things from Facebook marketplace, and putting together outfits. I’m very interested in sustainability in my work and private life.