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Jacobs, Clifford Samuel (Cliff) (1920–2005)

by Gordon Jacobs

Clifford Samuel Jacobs was born in 1920, a son of Agnes Lilian Jacobs and the eminent barrister and author Philip Acland Jacobs. His siblings included Charles Jacobs (who will be remembered by members of the profession as Master Jacobs) and Peter Jacobs, whose career in the law was sadly ended when he died as a prisoner of war during World War II. It was, accordingly, always likely that Cliff would have a career in the law.

Cliff was educated at Scotch College and served in the RAAF during World War II. It was during the war that he met his future wife of 60 years, Cynthia Mary Eatock.

At the end of the war, Cliff completed a law degree at Melbourne University and commenced work at Russell Kennedy & Cook. After a few years it became apparent to him that his future did not lie with that firm and he was offered a junior partnership by Duncan Mackinnon, who at that time ran a practice at 379 Collins Street, Melbourne. Mr Mackinnon subsequently died and Cliff continued to run the practice of Duncan Mackinnon & Co as a sole practitioner until 1971, when he admitted (over a period of years) three of his sons and Brian Irving as partners. In the meantime, he relocated the practice to 77 Bridge Road, Richmond and opened a branch office at Boronia.

Cliff denied having any great knowledge of the law; however, he was always able to provide answers to the most complex legal questions. He had a vast amount of common sense, and a great ability to analyse and resolve problems. He was scrupulously honest and moral, and was generally regarded by the profession as being a gentleman. He oversaw all correspondence arriving at and leaving the office, and was aware of all matters being handled by his staff at any time. He was loved and admired by his staff and by his clients, all of whom he was able to make feel special and important. Cliff continued to practise until 1990 when he retired at the age of 70. He was a good and honest lawyer and this is how he would wish to be remembered.

Cliff loved sport, and was involved in many sports during his life. He was a playing member of Camberwell Glen Iris Lacrosse Club for many years, and after his retirement as a player he continued his association with the sport both as a referee and a coach. He was also a fine golfer, and for many years was a member of Box Hill Golf Club.

Cliff also believed that it was important to contribute to the community in a direct way, and to assist groups within the community. To this end he served for many years as an honorary board member of Box Hill Grammar School (now Kingswood College), and at Alkira Box Hill Incorporated (which provides services to people with intellectual disabilities).

It is, however, safe to say that Cliff's family was the major focus of his life. He was married to Cynthia for 60 years and he leaves seven children (several of whom have followed him into the law), 20 grandchildren and two great grandchildren, all of whom have been deeply affected by his passing.

Cliff was a role model and mentor to the many lawyers and articled clerks who were employed by him over the years in which he practised. He was a fine example of how lawyers should practise and conduct themselves. He is sadly missed.

Original publication

  • Law Institute Journal (Vic), vol 80, Sept, 2006, p 30

Additional Resources

Citation details

Gordon Jacobs, 'Jacobs, Clifford Samuel (Cliff) (1920–2005)', Obituaries Australia, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://oa.anu.edu.au/obituary/jacobs-clifford-samuel-cliff-21548/text31789, accessed 22 November 2017.

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