Dorothy Catherine Somerville

AM, BA (Hons), LLB

12 May 1897
Unley, South Australia, Australia
Lawyer and Solicitor

The daughter of Archibald and Seca (née Lewin) Somerville, Dorothy Somerville was educated at Brownhill Creek School in Mitcham, the Methodists Ladies College (now Annesley College) and the Adelaide Law School. She was the third woman admitted to practice law in South Australia in 1922. Mary Kitson, the first woman admitted to the Bar, joined with Somerville in 1925 to form Australia's first women's legal partnership: Kitson & Somerville. Kitson later went to Sydney to work in publishing, and in 1950 she moved to New York to take charge of the United Nations affairs on the Status of Women. Somerville, who continued with the legal practice, became an honorary solicitor to a number of women's organisations.

Sources used to compile this entry: [Biographical cuttings on Dorothy Somerville, solicitor]; National Library of Australia; Interview with Dorothy Somerville [sound recording] Interviewer: Yvonne Abbott, c. 1986, SRG 438/29/12; Somerville, Dorothy Catherine (1897 - 1992); State Library of South Australia, Mortlock Library of South Australiana; Kerwin, Hollie and Rubenstein, Kim, 'Law', in The Encyclopedia of Women and Leadership in Twentieth-Century Australia, Judith Smart and Shurlee Swain (eds), Australian Women's Archives Project, 2014,; Lofthouse, Andrea (ed.), Who's Who of Australian Women, Methuen Australia, North Ryde (NSW), 1982, 504 pp; National Council of Women of South Australia, Greater than their knowing: a glimpse of South Australian women 1836-1986, Wakefield Press, Netley, SA, 1986, 310 pp.

Prepared by Anne Heywood and Robin Secomb