Updated: Nov 11, 2022
There's no doubt Oumaru Kamara is a compassionate lawyer with an incredible story. As a former refugee from Liberia, where he witnessed many injustices within his community, Sydney-based Oumaru is passionate about helping people navigate their legal issues in family law, criminal law, immigration law, and conveyancing as Principal Solicitor at Kamara Lawyers & Advisors.
FamilyProperty sat down for a chat with Oumaru about how he came to the law, why he is passionate about his work in family law, and what feature within FamilyProperty he just can’t be without!
Tell us about your career in family law. What is your “why”?
The short answer is my intuition to solve problems. My nature and heart put me on the frontline eager to help people to find a way around their legal problems. I am a suburban solicitor located in Bankstown, New South Wales. In that locality, you will see the common legal problems that people often come and knock on your door are criminal law, family law, immigration law and conveyancing matters. When I started my legal career in 2015, criminal law matters accounted for the overriding majority in my client ledgers. By 2017, criminal law and family law matters were almost in equal proportion because of the demand of the local community, especially those in the CALD community (Cultural and Linguistically Diverse Backgrounds).
I had to broaden the scope of my career to delve more into family law. I went on to study a Graduate Diploma in Family Dispute Resolution Practice at The College of Law. In finding a place to do my practicum, I met an incredible, loving, and exceptional human being in the person of Ms Fiona Kirkman who accepted me to undertake my required practicum hours. My meeting with her provided me with a total reflection of how a proper legal practitioner should carry themselves which was far beyond family law or family dispute resolution. I can go on for hours. I am eternally thankful and grateful to her.
Therefore, my “why” for choosing family law derives from my innate ability to solve problems and by meeting the demand of my local community where I practice.
What led you to start Kamara Lawyers & Advisors?
Much of what I currently do stems from my past. As a former refugee from Liberia, I witnessed so many injustices and challenges not only in the case of other people, but also in my own family. My overarching objective to become a legal practitioner was to make myself available for people who may need me. This could have been in other disciplines, but you may ask why to become a lawyer; the simple answer is that this is where the difference lies. I started with many other firms as an employed solicitor, but I soon realised that my employment would hinder my ability to serve my purpose. This is the reason why Kamara Lawyers & Advisors was founded. This has nothing to do with ego, but to free up my willingness to do more.
What has been the most rewarding and testing aspect of being a family lawyer?
The most rewarding and testing aspects of being a lawyer is trust. The community puts trust in you to carry out a duty. One must do whatever to uphold that sanctity of duty – to be an officer of the court and then represent the best interests of the client. If he honours that duty, he can be elevated to a high level within the community.
What do you think the most common challenge is for family law clients at the moment? What is the underlying theme?
The common challenge for family law clients in my view is the virtual courtroom. The court was designed to allow physical human contact among the judicial officer, legal representatives, witnesses, and the public, but with the emergence of Covid-19 and the social distancing measures adopted to curb the spread of the virus, court users are required to use virtual means to hear their cases. This is confronting and challenging for most clients that I know.
Has COVID-19 presented your practice with any challenges? If so, what are they and how do you plan to overcome them?
Every business in Australia including legal firms was impacted and disrupted by Covid-19. The question then becomes what can I do to allow me to continue to operate? I had to make use of the available technologies including MS Teams and Zoom to continue to see clients without physically meeting them. Thankfully, the court adopted virtual means in conducting directions hearings, particularly in the federal jurisdiction. Also, signing up to FamilyProperty helped to streamline my virtual space in continuing to serve my clients.
What do you think everyone involved in family law matters can do better?
From a lawyer’s standpoint, we must do better to reduce tension and conflict in every case. It is understandable before meeting the client, tensions are high, but we must constantly deescalate the tension and make the client see from a logical and reasonable standpoint in moving their matter to a final settlement, whether by mediated settlement or final hearing.
You use FamilyProperty in your practice. What is it about FamilyProperty that makes your life easier? What features do you like the most? What do you think is the best part of FamilyProperty for family lawyers?
Every feature in FamilyProperty is a life saver. However, my favourite feature will be the working balance sheet which seamlessly calculate the assets and liabilities of the parties, and above all, you can propose something!
What other technology do you use in your business?
I use Leap software in my practice for document management. I have been using the software since 2015. It does the job for me!
What are you most looking forward to in the next year? Professionally and personally?
Professionally, I look forward to growing my business, particularly in family law; and, personally, I hope to be spending more valuable time with my family.
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