Ten days after clearing out his office at the beginning of August and handing over responsibility for his remaining clients – and so bringing to a close 123 years of history – Dunedin lawyer Fred Duncan died quietly at home.
The firm known these days as Frederick L Duncan was started in 1878 by Fred’s grandfather Peter Duncan and John McGregor, with a clientele of gold mining companies. Fred Duncan’s father, also Fred, and his brother Alec went into the firm in 1908 and 1909 respectively and Fred Duncan became the third generation to join after his admission as a solicitor in 1949. He was admitted as a barrister in 1951.
He was a somewhat reluctant recruit, turning to law after an injury during World War Two put an end to his ambition to be an engineer.
Despite it being his second choice, Fred Duncan said on his retirement that he had had great enjoyment from his legal career. Even at 82 he was not ready to give it up entirely – he had planned to remain in touch with his former clients via a consultancy with Solomons in Dunedin.
This obituary was first published in LawTalk 568 3 September 2001, page 2.