I truly enjoy helping each of my clients create an estate plan that adequately addresses all the unique issues each one is facing

A Conversation On Leadership & Life In The Law With Katie Callaway

Attorney Katie Callaway helps to lead our Trusts & Estates practice group where her vibrant practice focuses on estate planning and probate matters.

We recently had the pleasure of interviewing Katie about lessons learned, and her hectic life in the legal profession.

You’re one of our Trusts & Estates practice group leaders here at Fennemore, and during our ongoing pandemic, your team has been of the busiest at the firm. How is 2022 unfolding – and are you seeing any trends?

We are still very busy, and I expect that will continue through 2022. 

Without naming your clients, are there any intriguing current matters that you’re working on? And what’s your working life like, as you often become a trusted counsel to families – and their next generation?

All of my clients are intriguing to me.  All of them have their own unique personalities, family dynamics, and challenges.  I truly enjoy helping each of my clients create an estate plan that adequately addresses all the unique issues each one is facing.

What would you tell your younger self – or a 1L at ASU’s College of Law or NYU now contemplating a career in the legal profession?

Ask a lot of questions – even the “dumb” ones.

Who is your hero – or the person who has had the greatest impact on your life and career?

My husband has had the greatest impact on my career.  He has always been my biggest encourager and supporter.  He encouraged me to go to law school when our oldest child was only a year old.  After I graduated from law school, he supported the decision to move our family to New York so I could obtain my LLM in tax law.  He has always encouraged me to take every opportunity to grow in my career even if it meant putting his own goals on hold so I could achieve mine.  His constant willingness to support and serve our family has allowed me to achieve what I have today.

Talk about your biggest failure. What did you learn? And how did you pick up the pieces and move forward?

I do not know what I would consider my “biggest failure,” but I have certainly had my fair share of failures – from not doing as well on an exam as I knew I could have to overreacting to a situation with my children. 

I have learned to not dwell on my failures.  I believe it is important to allow yourself to focus on a failure just long enough to learn from it, but then to let go of the failure and move forward.  I have learned to not allow my failures to define me.

I am also learning to not be afraid to fail. Although I really hate to fail, I am learning to be mindful to not allow my fear of failure to cause me to miss opportunities for growth in my career and as an individual.

What’s the best – and worst – piece of career advice that you’ve ever received?

One of the best and more recent pieces of career advice I received was given to me by Fennemore’s President and CEO, James Goodnow. I was offered a great career opportunity, and James had taken the time to discuss with me whether the opportunity was one I should accept.  During our conversation, James said (something to the effect of) “Just because an opportunity is a great opportunity, doesn’t mean it is the right opportunity for you.”  

Because Fennemore has such a strong reputation, I have been offered many excellent opportunities in my short career, every one of which I have felt incredibly blessed to have been given.  However, I tend to say “yes” to every opportunity even when I know my answer should be “no”.  As a working mom, I have had to learn that it is okay and even necessary to say “no” at times to create a balance between being a mom and being a lawyer.  James’ advice was a much-needed reminder to me that I have the freedom to accept only those opportunities that are right for me.I do not recall being given any bad career advice.  I am very fortunate to work for a firm with a culture that encourages the attorneys to collaborate with and support each other, and that encourages the senior partners to take the time to mentor the junior partners and associates.

During our ongoing pandemic – the NEXT normal, what are you listening to (podcast or music); reading; and watching/streaming?

I love all music, but I mostly listen to music with lyrics that I consider uplifting.  If the door to my office is closed, it is usually because I am singing along with bands/artists like Needtobreathe, Hillsong United, and Lauren Daigle.

I do not get to read for pleasure as often as I would like to, but when I do find the time, I usually select a book from Reese Witherspoon’s book club.

I love true-crime documentaries.

Okay, you and your family are hosting a lavish dinner party. Name the three people (from any time in human history) who you would invite to join you.

This may seem boring, but I would invite a couple of my closest friends.  I have some of the most interesting, kindest, compassionate, and generous people that I get to call my friends, and I would love to host a lavish dinner party for them.

Many thanks to Katie for her inspiring answers – and to all the attorneys in our Trusts & Estates practice group who impact our clients and their families on a daily basis!

For more information on the range of sophisticated trust, estate, litigation, business and tax matters counsel that we provide, please visit: https://www.fennemorelaw.com/services/practices/trusts-estates/