The Law Society of Ireland is governed by a Council, comprising elected and nominated members of the solicitors’ profession. It also delegates statutory functions to a range of Committees.
The purpose of the Council is identified in the Charter of 1852 to act “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 2015, 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.
The functions performed by Council can be divided into:
- Education and admission
- Regulation and discipline, and
- Protection of clients.
Visual representation of Council & Committees
The Law Society has produced a useful infographic explaining the structure of the Council and Committees, and the process for the Council election. Click on the image to view:
You can also view the Council and Committees infographic here.
Know Your Council
The 2020/21 Council of the Law Society of Ireland took effect from 13 November 2020.
The Act provides that the Council may appoint a Committee for any purpose which it believes would be better served by means of a Committee. They may also delegate, with or without restrictions, the exercise of the functions of the Council. Examples include 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 such as alternative dispute resolution, conveyancing, family law, litigation, taxation, probate etc.
Law Society members can login to access more details of committee activities and resources.
President and Council Membership
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 the Annual General Meeting in November of each year. Officers serve for a period of one year.
The Council comprises 31 elected members, four provincial delegates 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.
Council of the Law Society - for the year ending 6 November 2021
President: James Cahill
Senior: Michelle Ní Longáin
Junior: Barry MacCarthy
Liam A. Kennedy
Brendan J. Twomey
Leinster: Martin Crotty
Munster: Shane McCarthy
Ulster: Garry Clarke
Connaught: David Higgins
Dublin Solicitors Bar Association Representatives
Southern Law Association Representatives
Law Society of Northern Ireland Representatives
Rowan White (president)
Suzanne Rice (senior vice-president)
Brigid Napier (junior vice-president)
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