The Law Society is governed by a Council, comprising elected and nominated members of the profession. The purpose of the Council is identified in the Charter of 1852 as “for the better rule and government of the Society, and for the better direction and management of the concerns thereof”. The statutory functions of the Society, as set out in the Solicitors Acts 1954 to 2008, are exercised by the Council or by Committees to which the Council delegates those statutory functions. The Council represents the Society and its members both in the interests of the public and of the solicitors’ profession generally.
Composition of the Council
The Council comprises 35 solicitor members elected by the membership throughout the country and 13 nominated members from the Law Society of Northern Ireland, the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association and the Southern Law Association. Past Presidents are entitled to attend Council meetings for three years following their year of Presidency.
Fifty per cent of the elected Council are required to retire annually and elections are held to fill the vacancies arising, with successful candidates serving for a two-year period. The nominated members of the Council are appointed on an annual basis. View a list of current Council members.
Functions of the Council
Under the Solicitors Acts, “the functions vested in the Society by or under this Act shall be performed by the Council”. These functions can be divided into three broad categories:
- Education and admission
- Regulation and discipline, and
- Protection of clients
The Act provides that the Council may appoint a Committee for any purpose which the Council believes would be better effected by means of a Committee and may delegate, with or without restrictions, the exercise of the functions of the Council. This has been done by the Council in relation to a variety of matters, e.g. Education, Finance, Professional Indemnity Insurance, Regulation of Practice and Complaints and Client Relations.
The Council has also appointed committees to monitor and advise its members on best practice in a range of legal areas, eg arbitration, conveyancing, family law, litigation, taxation, probate etc.
Members of the Law Society can login to the members' area to access more information on issues worked on by the various committees and related resources.
The President and Vice-Presidents
Under its legislative framework, the Council of the Society is empowered to elect a President and Vice-Presidents from among the Council members elected in the annual national election. This is done at the Council meeting immediately following on the Annual General Meeting in November of each year. Officers serve for a period of one year.
Council of the Law Society - for the year ending 7th November, 2014
President: John P. Shaw
Senior: Kevin O'Higgins
Junior: Michael Quinlan
Liam A. Kennedy
Martin G. Lawlor
Simon J. Murphy
Michelle Ní Longáin
Gerard O’ Donnell
Brendan J. Twomey
Donald P. Binchy
John E. Costello
Gerard J. Doherty
John D. Shaw
Leinster: Andrew J. Cody
Munster: Richard Hammond
Ulster: Garry Clarke
Connaught: David Higgins
Dublin Solicitors Bar Association Representatives
Southern Law Association Representatives
Mary C. Keane
Law Society of Northern Ireland Representatives
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