Secretary, typewriter but no clients

Michael Kenny received his 50-year QLS pin and certificate at the CRS event in Brisbane last night. Photo: Supplied

Property lawyer Michael Kenny is the epitome of the expression starting from scratch.

The Queen Street Legal Group Principal was one of six 50-year Queensland Law Society (QLS) members to receive gold membership pins last night at the Celebrate, Recognise, Socialise event in Brisbane.

Michael completed degrees in Commerce and Law at the University of Queensland, graduating in 1973, and was admitted as a solicitor in Queensland in December that year.

He was articled to John Barry of John Barry and Co., the forerunner to Barry Nilsson Lawyers.

After his admission, Michael worked in the property team at Morris Fletcher & Cross before moving to London in 1975 where he spent two years working in-house at the European office of a US multinational corporation.

Michael returned to Brisbane in 1977 and a chance encounter changed his career path.


“After two days back in town, I had the good luck to run into Ken Macdonald in Queen Street, who after a five-minute chat on the footpath, told me to report to Feez Ruthning to start work with him the next day,” he recalled.

“After a very instructive 18 months, I decided to commence on my own account which I did at age 29, with no clients, a secretary and a typewriter.”

Over the years that followed, Michael built up a significant property practice having acquired two other firms.

A decade later, at age 39, he sold his firm to Carter Newell and took a short break from practice.

When he returned, he started in practice “once again with no clients, but this time a secretary and a word processor”.

“I have enjoyed my legal career but after I retire next I won’t be starting up again from scratch, although I have no doubt that I could!”


Michael has been Principal at Queen Street Legal Group since 2009.

Another 50-year pin recipient Peter Challen also worked at Feez Ruthning.

Peter completed degrees in Arts and Law at the University of Queensland, graduating in 1972, receiving a half blue for hockey, and was admitted as a solicitor in 1973.

Peter was clerk to His Honour Vaux Nicholson of the District Court for two years, and completed articles at Feez Ruthning in 1972.

He joined Hawthorn Cuppaidge & Badgery in 1974 where he made Partner in 1975.

He acted for Ice Skating Australia in the Court of Arbitration for Sport in London and Lausanne, Switzerland, in a major test case in international sports law.


Since 1998 Peter has been the sole principal of both Hawthorn Cuppaidge & Badgery, and Kenmore Lawyers.

The other 50-year members to receive pins on the night were John de Groot, Richard Rylands, Brian Bartley and Michael Klug.

Those who couldn’t attend but who also reached the milestone are Bruce Dulley, James Noble and Stephen Gray.

Keep an eye of Proctor for more CRS feature articles on 25-year and 50-year pin recipients in coming days.

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