Life member of Otago Women Lawyers’ Society (OWLS), Marion Thomson, died on Thursday 1 March 2007 aged 95, the day before the Ethel Benjamin Commemorative Address, which she had hoped, as usual, to attend.
Although she had retired from practice some time before OWLS was formed, Marion Thomson was a great supporter of the group, always attended its functions and was a mentor and inspiration to women practitioners in Otago. Members of OWLS spoke at her funeral service and acted as pallbearers.
Having left secondary school reluctantly after just two years, Marion worked as a legal secretary and studied at night school to qualify for entry to university. She commenced her law studies in 1932 while working full time and won several prizes as she completed her degree (1936), becoming just the third woman law graduate from Otago University.
She then married and had a family so did not practise law until she was offered a position and admitted in 1960, making her the fifth woman to be admitted in Dunedin, only two others having been admitted in the 24 years since Marion had graduated.
“Mrs Thomson” (as she was known to clients and staff) worked in the firm of Rutherford McKinnon and Neil (now McKinnon Aitken Martin) throughout her legal career until she retired in 1979. She practised in a variety of fields but developed special expertise in matrimonial and children’s issues.
This obituary was first published in LawTalk 684, 2 April 2007