Kim Rybarczyk, originally from Tasmania, embarked on her legal career at Blake Dawson Waldron (Blakes) in Melbourne with a keen interest in the technical side of the law. Looking back, she admits, "I may have been somewhat academic in those days, maybe even a touch geeky." Finding black-letter law just as engaging as its commercial aspects, she now thrives on cutting-edge legal work.
Starting as a banking trainee, Kim quickly realized the key to a successful legal career was in depth engagement with her clients. Her time at Blakes eventually took her to Shanghai, where she first encountered Linklaters. "Linklaters was a recent entrant in China at that time, and they made a positive impression straight away," Kim says. She'd always planned on working in Europe, so she interviewed with numerous firms. Linklaters stood out because of its flexible culture, breadth of legal work and, most importantly, its people. The team was hardworking, first class lawyers, and approachable, which made her decision to join an easy one.
Kim joined the London banking practice when it was relatively small and looking to grow its size and reputation significantly. "It was a very exciting and challenging time, everyone pitching in and feeling a real sense of pride and achievement as the practice expanded and enjoyed success after success." Kim moved into the structured finance side of banking at an early stage, preferring the variety and challenge of this type of work, particularly working with clients on a number of major structural reforms in the UK banking market.
Ultimately Kim had planned a different path for her future, not seeing it tied to a law firm. "I had plans to retire at 50," she shares. However, having always had an in interest in the environment from her Tasmanian upbringing and convinced that ESG was an area that was set to become integral to not only finance but the economy as a whole, she found herself having a discussion with colleagues, Rachel Barrett and Vanessa Havard-Williams, senior members of Linklaters’ ESG team. She was so inspired by these discussions and the group, she decided to stay on for a period.
Consequently, Kim became Counsel in the ESG team, applying her financial and regulatory expertise to all aspect of ESG work. She appreciates how the team is structured, a small but dynamic group, adept at moving with this constantly evolving area of the law. Despite the challenges, Kim exudes professional satisfaction, saying, "When your personal passions align with your work, it fills your life with satisfaction and interest."
As a true Australian, Kim loves outdoor activities. She agrees, "I’m an outdoor, swimming, walking nature enthusiast. As long as I’m outside, preferably doing something energetic, I’m pretty happy." This balance between professional dedication and personal passions clearly defines Kim's journey, making it as fascinating as it is inspiring.