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In conversation with Tamsen Kempster

Property & Development
Tam award night

Tamsen Kempster, a lawyer in Arnold Bloch Leibler's property & development practice, has been recognised as a finalist in this year's People in Property Awards. We spoke to Tamsen about what she enjoys as a property lawyer and how much she has achieved in the early years of her career.

You are the only lawyer to have made the finals for this year’s Victorian People in Property Awards in the category of Rising Star. What do you think the judges were looking for?

I think the judges are looking for people with a keen interest in the industry and its future direction, who strive to make a significant and positive impact that extends beyond just their organisation.

From the very start of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to play an active role as part of a market-leading team here at ABL. I’ve been trained, supported and trusted to advise clients at each point in the lifecycle of a project. The experience has allowed me to develop my technical and practical skills alongside the strategic commercial acumen needed to work with our sophisticated client base. I’m very fortunate to be given the opportunities I have, which ultimately allow me to develop and be recognised in this way.


In the nomination, property partner Gia Cari noted that you started with ABL just a week before Melbourne’s first COVID lockdown, requiring you to undertake the vast majority of your graduate year (and first couple of years as a lawyer) working from home. That must have been challenging?

It was challenging, of course, but I was provided with a lot of support and I think the pressure and steep learning curve allowed me to grow as a lawyer more quickly and independently than I would have otherwise. I feel it made me become more resilient and confident in my abilities.


Why did you choose to practice in property?

I chose property, and continue to love the sector, because of the ever-evolving nature of the work, which is both influenced by, and impacts on, so many other areas – in a legal and commercial sense (taxation, environmental and planning matters, financing and more general commercial matters) but also on a much broader and more practical level (considering its impact of the economy and it being an asset class and industry which impacts people’s day-to-day lives).

I enjoy collaborating on projects with a broad range of other professionals, and the sense of accomplishment we all get when a project comes to fruition makes the hard work worthwhile.


The Property Council, who runs the Awards, also looks at the contribution nominees make to the sector overall, as well as the vision you have for the future. Are you conscious of these things in your day to day work?

By virtue of the transactions I’m involved in and the clients I advise, much of the work I do is helping to shape the housing outcomes for the future of the country. It’s enormously rewarding to be a part of these projects that continue to break new ground in the industry.

As for the future, I think we need more creative and collaborative approaches to ensure that sustainable and liveable housing is available for all sectors. As our rapidly growing population focuses the industry on this issue, the time is ripe to embrace newer asset classes like BTR.

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