In the corner of the boardroom at Shine Lawyers on Elizabeth Street overlooking Hyde Park, a garbage bin is piled high with empty pizza boxes.
It’s a cliché for law firms where long hours are often the case, but Lisa Flynn, who leads the firm’s abuse law practice, laughs as she guarantees they weren’t from her team who work around Australia.
With 500 cases on the go nationally, Flynn spends about half her work life away from home, in meetings with the 10 other lawyers working for Shine in one of the toughest areas of law, or with clients who are counting on Shine, with its strong brand statement “Right Wrong”, to get them justice often decades after they have been sexually abused.
Flynn, 38, has worked at Shine for her whole legal career, moving to Cairns to expand the practice, then taking on senior management roles including National Legal Partner when she was 38 weeks pregnant with the first of her three children.
In 2016, she moved away from pure management and went back to doing more with clients as she missed working with people for whom she could make a difference.
With the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse wrapped up and advocates waiting for the bill on the redress scheme to pass in Federal Parliament, Flynn explains why now is a critical time for lawyers working with survivors of child abuse.
“I will never forget the first abuse case I dealt with. The client was a 35-year-old man who had been sexually abused for almost three years at Brisbane Grammar School. It was so sad.
A paedophile, Kevin Lynch, was the school counsellor and my client went to him for help because, as a 12-year-old in boarding school, he was suffering terrible homesickness. It took my client many decades before he spoke about what had happened.