Lynette Margaret Allen was born in 1942, to parents who were High School Teachers. Whilst her family background was basically rural, she had an eminent association with law, through her great uncle, C. Kennedy Allen, who was the Chief Justice of Queensland and responsible for the writing of the Queensland Criminal Code.
Lyn attended Mullumbimby High School and then went on to Sydney University where she initially studied for a Bachelor of Arts. Not satisfied with her academic achievement, she then studied for an independent degree in Laws and graduated as a lawyer in 1964.
At this time positions for female lawyers were very difficult to obtain for her and her contemporaries, who included Justice Mary Gaudron and Sue Schreiner (who become the second female to be appointed as a Magistrate in NSW, who pursued their legal careers as Barristers.
Lyn’s ambition was, however, to become a Solicitor and she was encouraged in this respect by her parents, which was a considerable advantage in days where females were expected to end up in more flexible roles such as teaching and nursing. She obtained Articles of Clerkship with a firm of Solicitors in Sydney where, unfortunately, she did not advance her knowledge of law due to the rudimentary tasks which she was required to undertake.
Lyn found it impossible to get a position with any law firm, but not for want of trying. It appeared that there was conscious discrimination against hiring female lawyers. Lyn, nonetheless, continued to be encouraged by her parents to stick with it. Eventually an opportunity arose when a Patrol Officer from New Guinea, qualified in law, and on leave in Sydney at the time, leased an apartment from Lyn’s mother. The mother had a number of conversations with the Patrol Officer and finally persuaded him to resign from his New Guinea post and go into private practice of law with Lyn. There were issues to his obtaining admission as a Solicitor in NSW and Lyn was the major force in the business. However, the business was established principally on the basis of long service leave due to the Patrol Officer, who had 12 years experience in dealing with legal issues in New Guinea in addition to his routine job requirements.
Lyn’s business grew but only because of the patronage of her cousin, who was a practising Barrister and Clive Evatt, QC, who encouraged her and provided opportunities for her. Her practice grew mainly through Lyn’s willingness to undertake work which other firms of solicitors did not want to undertake, such as matrimonial causes. In the early years of the businesses’ growth, Lyn acted in one matter involving a race horse and another matter involving a greyhound, both of which were referred to her because other firms thought it unseemly to deal with such matters.
In the end analysis, there were a number of factors which attributed to Lyn’s success as a Solicitor:
<!–[if !supportLists]–>1. <!–[endif]–>Ambition
<!–[if !supportLists]–>2. <!–[endif]–>Resolution, Perseverance and Determination
<!–[if !supportLists]–>3. <!–[endif]–>Parental encouragement
<!–[if !supportLists]–>4. <!–[endif]–>Self-Belief
<!–[if !supportLists]–>5. <!–[endif]–>Encouragement of people who believed in her ability
<!–[if !supportLists]–>6. <!–[endif]–>Commitment and resolve to succeed
<!–[if !supportLists]–>7. <!–[endif]–>Taking career opportunities which presented themselves
As a sideline, during the 10 years or so years that Lyn was in business as a Solicitor, she had 4 children (having married the Patrol Officer) – one of whom unfortunately passed away at a very young age. Nonetheless, she was able to handle the running of the legal office and raise a family with equal amounts of proficiency, love and dedication.
Lyn sold her profitable practice in 1979, and in 1984, set up an Industrial Employment Relations advisory business with her husband. Lyn deceased in 2002.