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Cite as: September 2012 86 (09) LIJ, p.104

In this special LIJ series practitioners reveal how they balance the demands of their professional and personal lives.


Dean Cinque


Cinque Oakley Senior



Hours worked and where:

Mostly in the office, some at home. Two afternoons on a golf course.

Why did you seek a flexible work arrangement?

I commenced my practice in 1984 as a sole practitioner sharing office space with a local dentist. Some 25 years later the practice had grown considerably as had my overall responsibilities. I found it increasingly difficult to work full-time and decided to break up my week by taking Tuesday and Thursday afternoons off to indulge in playing golf and real tennis, and spending time with my grandchildren.

How did you convince your colleagues?

I discussed my need for more flexible work arrangements with my colleagues and staff who were all sympathetic and it has now become my regular routine to the point where clients by and large accept it and even joke about me being a part-time lawyer.

What are the challenges of working flexibly – for you, colleagues and clients?

My overall philosophy was to achieve as good a balance between the commitments of running a medium-sized practice, the expectations of staff and clients and my mental and physical health. I had seriously entertained the sale of my practice and retirement some years ago but either by circumstance or design it never came to fruition. It occurred to me that my years of experience would be lost and that would not serve the interests of loyal clients and junior solicitors and staff in the practice. If I were to offer advice it would be to discuss the need for flexibility with all interested parties and then implement your resolve with conviction.

Have flexible hours kept you practising law?

I have no doubt that if the choice had been full-time work or retirement, it would have been the latter. The practice of law, especially litigation, is stressful and what follows is depression and health problems. I am no less of a lawyer for working flexible hours. To the contrary I feel almost enthusiastic about working again and having the comfort of knowing that my years of experience have not been retired.

What is your proudest moment in the law?

I have had the honour of moving the admission to practice of three lawyers. The first was my younger brother Anthony Cinque, the second was my articled clerk Melanie Senior who is still with the firm, and third my daughter Michelle Cinque. Without detracting from the significance of the first two I admit that the third was my proudest moment both as a parent and as a lawyer passing the baton so to speak to the next generation and knowing that it is in good hands.

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