Dean Cinque (LLB 1986)

4 February 2014

  • Principal
    Cinque Oakley Senior Lawyers

Sitting in an office surrounded by the works of local artists, the bow-tied Dean Cinque (LLB 1986) expresses deep gratitude for all the opportunities living and working in country Victoria have given him.

Migrating from Italy at the age of eight, Dean Cinque had (in his own words) the "typical migrant" childhood. Law was not something Cinque ever contemplated growing up. At 16, he left school. His Catholic education had been basically free and his parents couldn't have afforded to entertain the idea of University.

After several careers, including a longish stint in insurance, Cinque landed in Ballarat as a "crash and bash" law clerk in search of a better life for his young family.

Gratitude is a theme that runs throughout our conversation. Cinque holds a fundamental belief in giving back. He has just done this for the Law School.

In 1976 when he moved to Ballarat he struck his own gold in the form of a mentor when he went to work for Morrow & Morrow. Michael Morrow (LLB 1972) saw potential in Cinque and encouraged him to study law. After a start at RMIT, which ended when the course dissolved, Cinque enrolled at Melbourne to study as an articled clerk. In the mid '80s, with the support and encouragement of his mates Ivan Ciardullo and Rodney Jacobs (LLB 1986, LLM 1990), he completed his law degree. Being given a chance and this support are what made a difference to Cinque's life.

The Dean A. Cinque Scholarship will be presented for the first time at the Law School's annual awards ceremony in May. Cinque is hoping that his contribution will give a chance, annually and in perpetuity, to a Melbourne Law School (MLS) student in financial need to embrace their own opportunities. This scholarship is the culmination of a long history of giving to the Law School's annual appeal.

Cinque, like many in the MLS community, has always contributed to the community in which he lives. His history of giving started in his first days in the small town of Buninyong, outside Ballarat. He has contributed to the fabric of this community, having volunteered his time in setting up the Buninyong Kindergarten; spent 30 years as the Buninyong Golf Club pro bono solicitor (in between games); held several roles with his local Rotary and Lions clubs as president, secretary and treasurer; and, served as honorary solicitor to the Ballarat Writers Inc. and the Italian Club.

Cinque was the first in his family to graduate from University. In 1984 he set himself up as a sole practitioner, sharing space with the local dentist. His practice grew substantially over the years. He is immensely proud that, from being the first degree holder in his family, he has been able to move the admission of first his brother, Anthony Cinque, and then his daughter, Michelle Cinque, to practise law in Victoria.

Dean Cinque's burning desire to contribute has given him a good life in Ballarat. In between playing Royal Tennis and golf, delighting in grandchildren and running a busy practice, he has found time to share and inspire others. He says he "couldn't have picked a better town if I'd had a choice of anywhere".