Trust honours pioneer lawyer

Elinor Barker (left) and Debbie Ericsson celebrate the launch of the Marion Thomson Trust. Photo...
Elinor Barker (left) and Debbie Ericsson celebrate the launch of the Marion Thomson Trust. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Marion Thomson had an interest in family law that lasted well past her professional career, so having a trust named after her was a fitting tribute, her daughter Elinor Barker said.

Last night, at a gala dinner, the Otago Women Lawyers Society (Owls) launched the trust in front of members, family and guest speakers Prof Mark Henaghan and Family Court Judge Rosemary Riddell.

Owls' convener and trust trustee Debbie Ericsson said Mrs Thomson, who died last year aged 95, was one of the country's earliest law graduates, graduating in 1937.

She was admitted to the Bar in 1961, the fifth woman in NZ to qualify to practise as a lawyer.

She also became one of the first women to practise law in New Zealand, while also bringing up a family.

Much of her career was spent working in family law and she always maintained an interest.

"This honours her. She was a very special Owls member."

The trust would provide opportunities for Owls members to extend their knowledge in family law, which would not only further their education but benefit their clients, she said.

Mrs Barker, who was also a trustee, said the trust was a lasting memorial to her mother and a very appropriate one.

"The family is very appreciative of the Owls for suggesting and setting up the trust. I feel very privileged to be invited to be part of it."

A silent auction was held throughout the function to raise money for the trust.

The total was not known last night.

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