this product is unavailable for purchase using a firm account, please log in with a personal account to make this purchase.

Former LIV president mourned


Cite as: (2007) 81(3) LIJ, p. 17

Italian-born Tina Millar lost a long battle with illness on 4 February after a life of commitment to her family and career as a lawyer, and most recently a conciliator.

The legal profession farewelled one of its most vibrant female members at St Joseph’s Church, West Brunswick, last month.

More than 600 people attended the funeral of Concettina (Tina) Millar, 62, on 8 February.

The legal profession representation included the judiciary, current Law Institute of Victoria (LIV) president Geoff Provis, current LIV CEO Michael Brett Young, two former CEOs, several former presidents and LIV Councillors and staff.

In 2000, Ms Millar became the second female president of the LIV in its 148-year history.

Mr Brett Young said after migrating to Australia from Sicily, to become the second woman president of the peak body for Victorian solicitors was an admirable achievement.

“When English is your second language, to study the articled clerks course [completed at RMIT in 1978] and go on to run your own successful firm and be president of the LIV, just shows it’s not about where you start, it’s how hard you work at it,” Mr Brett Young said.

“Tina was a dynamo with a remarkable presence.

“She was always willing to help people and most notably she was able to communi-cate on the same level as young lawyers, which meant they didn’t feel intimidated or excluded.”

Concettina Adorno was born in Cassaro, a small mountain town in Sicily, on 15 April 1944.

When she was five, her father Rosario came to Australia, leaving behind his wife Sebastiana, Ms Millar and her brother Salvatore.

The family was reunited in Australia in 1953, when Ms Millar was nine.

She began her legal career as a receptionist in city firm O’Phelan & Co.

She worked her way up to become managing clerk and studied the RMIT articled clerks course at morning and night, while working during the day.

Admitted to practice in 1979, Ms Millar joined her husband Bruce as a partner in the firm, which was renamed O’Phelan & Millar.

Four years later, the partnership opened a general practice in East Keilor called Millars, which attracted many Italian clients.

Speaking with the LIJ in 2000 Ms Millar said; “I love being a lawyer. I love the interaction with people and I love going to court. I love seeing people getting a fair go.”

During her eight years on the LIV Council beginning in 1995, Ms Millar strongly advocated for greater access to justice, support for indigenous people in the legal profession and for law firms to become more flexible.

Mr Provis described Ms Millar as a dear friend, a wonderful colleague and an adornment to the legal profession.

“The brightness of her red hair matched the enthusiasm she brought with her to all of her endeavours, whether they were of a strict legal nature, during LIV business or of a social nature,” Mr Provis said.

“I admired her single-minded devotion to the advancement of women in and out of the profession.”

One of Ms Millar’s most important professional achievement was in 2003 when she won the inaugural Victorian Women Lawyers’ (VWL) Achievement Award.

The award recognised professional excellence and efforts to promote and encourage other women.

At the same awards ceremony Ms Millar’s daughter Natalie Bannister, now Gadens Lawyers’ planning, environ-ment and resources law partner, won the encouragement award.

Speaking at the funeral, Ms Bannister said she had always been in awe of her mother.

“She was a wonderful paradox: on one hand she was a gentle soul, a loving and compassionate person, a devoted mother and wife ... On the other hand, she was a vivacious extrovert, a fierce adversary who commanded respect without demanding it,” Ms Bannister said.

VWL founding member Kriss Will said Ms Millar’s support for women at both a political and personal level was commendable.

“Tina was a woman of great style and substance, and her contributions to VWL and her friendships with many individual members leave a wonderful legacy for the women of today and the future,” Ms Will said.

Ms Millar is survived by husband Bruce and daughter Natalie. [See the obituary on page 30 of this edition of the LIJ.]



Leave message

 Security code
LIV Social