Speaking at an Irish Women Lawyers’ Association (IWLA) gala evening, chair Maeve Delargey (pictured above with Justice Catherine McGuinness) said that Irish women lawyers should look out for each other, and look to assistance when required from the many talented women in the Irish legal sphere.
The IWLA gathered at the Stella Cinema in Rathmines, Dublin, on 25 February for a showing of On the Basis of Sex, a biopic about pioneering US Supreme Court judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
The IWLA should help women lawyers be visible to each other, Delargey said, so that “when we’re looking for someone to help us, whether it’s with a project for a client or filling a committee role in one of our organisational bodies, it’s the face and name of someone in this room that comes to mind.”
The night was attended by representatives from the Law Society and Bar Council, the offices of the Chief State Solicitor and the DPP, senior counsel, partners and managing partners from various law firms, as well as legal academics.
The IWLA's goal is to be the foremost public voice on behalf of women lawyers in Ireland.
The body has commissioned research from barrister Ann Conlon into article 41.2 of the Constitution on women’s role as homemakers. It has also met the Association of Female Lawyers of Liberia and made a strategy submission to the Courts Service, as well as approaching the King’s Inns to explore opportunities for collaboration.
The IWLA is also continuing its involvement with the Law Society’s Law and Women mentoring programme, which is now accepting applications. It is also working on an internship programme with members who are in-house counsel.
In addition, it has begun a ‘Wise Women's Network’, drawing on the experience of senior figures in the legal profession.
The IWLA is also about to incorporate as a company in order to apply for research funding on gender diversity.
It is preparing sponsorship offerings and working to amplify female voices in the media.
A corporate membership proposal is also in the pipeline.
The event was attended by Children and Youth Affairs Minister Katherine Zappone, Ms Justice Marie Baker and Ms Justice Caroline Costello (both Court of Appeal), Ms Justice Úna Ní Raifeartaigh, Ms Justice Teresa Pilkington and Mr Justice Seamus Noonan (High Court), DPP Claire Loftus, Chief State Solicitor Maria Browne, State Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane, Judge Pauline Codd (Circuit Court), and Justice Anne Watkin and Justice Patricia McNamara (District Court).
Also enjoying the gathering were Law Society President Patrick Dorgan and director general Ken Murphy.
Ms Justice Catherine McGuinness shared stories of her acquaintanceship with Justice Bader Ginsburg, whom she met in Galway some years ago.