Extracts from an article which appeared in the Warrnambool Standard on 2 August, 2005 best describes Pat and Tony and their divergent backgrounds.
“One’s a former blue collar migrant who worked his way into the legal professions at the age of 38, the other breezed through Law School … with an extensive legal experience.
Their backgrounds couldn’t be more disparate but Irish-born Patrick McComish and his Australian friend and colleague Tony Brown have found common ground with the establishment of Warrnambool’s newest law firm Brown McComish Solicitors.
Together, with their small two man operation, the partners are aiming to add a human touch to a profession with a reputation among clients as being somewhat intimidating and inaccessible.
With a dress code that tends more to jeans and open-necked shirts than suits and ties, a genuine interest in their clients and an easy rapport based on shared philosophies and philosophies they are rapidly carving a niche among the city’s legal providers.
“We are not portraying ourselves as a big firm – we’re a small firm and what we aim is to provide good client services in a friendly way.” Tony said. “We are trying to break down the barriers and de-mystify the law to make people realise that access to legal services is affordable.”
“Fundamentally Pat and I are lawyers for the people and we enjoy the client contact and doing our best for people.”
In just over two months since opening for business the partners have enjoyed a steady flow of clients and the support of the local fraternity.
“We have a very good client base but the support we have had from people in the community, including the legal community, has been phenomenal. It’s been very promising.” Patrick said.
While catering to a broad range of legal requirements, the partners have a special interest in personal injury law, a field they believe their small firm is better positioned to handle than larger ones where clients can become a “cog in a wheel.”
“The clients we see have pretty high needs. Often their lives have been shattered because they’ve gone from being employed with a future, a regular income and a social network to a situation where they’re home, often depressed and in pain, and their social and economic fabric has changed, if not fallen apart, Tony explained.
“They’re people we feel we can offer a more personalised service. Either of us will handle their case personally.”
An experienced litigator dealing in areas from will disputes to general litigation, conveyancing, total and permanent disablement claims and mediation. Tony’s passion for the law is perhaps strongest in the field of personal injury.
“I just love doing personal injury work,” said Tony, a Law Institute-accredited specialist in the field.”
“I love law, I love the mechanics of it, the intellectual stimulation. Law is a dynamic thing, changing all the time he enthused. Tony practised as a barrister in Melbourne for five years before moving to with his wife Julia and family to Warrnambool in 1993, working first with Maddens Lawyers for five years and more recently Stringer Clark.
For Patrick, his interest in personal injury law was influenced by his own personal experiences.”
“Injured whilst employed as a porter in 1988, one of a string of manual jobs, Patrick gained an intimate appreciation of the battles of injured workers during his own struggle for compensation.
Although already studying part-time to complete his high school education as a means to self improvement, ironically it was his crippling back injury – … that provided the motivation for a career in law.
Realising that his injury would preclude him from a life of manual work, Pat switched his focus to academic pursuits, first studying an arts degree majoring in criminology and history before switching to law”
“For Patrick, who maintains a strong empathy with his personal injury clients, the new partnership is the latest in a series of stepping stones in his career.
“I’m just taking each one as it comes.”