As with most success stories there are humble beginnings. 30 years ago, Charlie Marino started a Law Firm in Grafton Street, Cairns with a University colleague in nothing more than a 30m2 office. Our first receptionist did everything, legal documents, accounts and the cleaning! My mother used to give me cut flowers to put in reception. Now the reach of Marino Lawyers is over 125 kilometres up the Far North Queensland Coast from Babinda to Port Douglas with 3 offices and 2 visited offices and a staff of over 20 people (once 50).
I had just returned home to Cairns from a 9 month overseas experience and at the ripe old age of 28 decided to “hang my shingle up” (the brass plate that solicitors once had outside their office – although I never had one!)
I have been fortunate to have some of the best Lawyers to be mentors after having completed my Articles with John Covacevich as my Master in the late 70’s early 80’s. Finishing my degree in Brisbane I was again fortunate to have great mentors in Peter Cox at McCullough Robertson and Geoff Fynes-Clinton at King & Co.
Whilst working in Brisbane and seeing many places in the world I felt it was always my destiny to come back to Cairns where I grew up and was educated. My Father had just finished a major Court case and after paying for Brisbane Solicitors and Barristers he said “You better come home Son!”
I feel that to reflect on a legal career of 40 years and having my own law Firm for 30 years still makes me pinch myself. All of this before reaching 60. My sons don’t believe it!
There have been many highs and lows. The highs have been, being involved in some of the most signature developments in the Cairns area today. Obtaining the approval for Hartley Creek Crocodile Farm, the acquisition of Great Adventures, the development of the Redlynch Central Precinct would be some standouts but the lows have left a fairly deep scar in one’s mind and that was the loss of many good people from the Firm during the GFC years.
To provide employment for hundreds of people during the 30 years has been gratifying. The team work and dedication to achieving client’s goals and needs have always been paramount to the Firm’s success. I still have clients that started with me 30 years ago and am now seeing the second and third generation of some families.
During the life of the Firm I have also had the ability to give back to the community, to spend 15 years on the Cairns Show Association many as Vice President and 10 years on the Board of the Far North Queensland Hospital Foundation. Both being corner stones in the Local Community. To be involved in the sponsorship of local events like the annual Pyramid Race, the inspirational Business Liaison Association and the annual Cairns International Club Futsal Tournament have seen a giving back to making sure the community remains strong.
We are told the future will see all industries change, even the legal profession. I doubt that trust, integrity and honesty, will ever be replaced by a artificial intelligence. It has been an honour and privilege to have provided legal services from Mums and Dads to Corporate clients. Who knows what the next 30 years will bring let alone the next 12 months, but I want to take this opportunity to thank all Clients and Staff over the last 30 years.