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Law Society retirements

07 Jul 2021 / Law Society Print

Colleagues retire after over 120 years’ combined service

Three long-standing Law Society employees are to retire this year, having clocked up more than 122 years of service between them. Colleagues and practitioners will miss the familiar faces of librarian Mary Gaynor, IT’s Veronica Donnelly, and the Four Courts Office’s Paddy Caulfield.

Closing the book

Head of library and information services Mary Gaynor is retiring at the end of July, after 42 years.

Mary started in the library in 1979 and has held a variety of responsibilities, culminating in her current role in 2010. Mary also acted as executive editor of the Gazette from 1981 to 1991, recalling editorial board meetings with Michael V O’Mahony, Charles Meredith, John Buckley, William Earley, Geraldine Clarke, Gary Byrne and Eamonn Hall, some of whom, sadly, have passed away in recent years.

Library services have changed vastly over the past four decades, including the move to an online catalogue and the digitisation of the judgments collection, as well as the Society’s institutional archive.

This project provided opportunities to investigate its history, and we all learned more about the first president, those who died in World War I, and the first women to qualify as solicitors. “It was a joy to work on these projects and to engage with members and their families,” said Mary.

The core of the library work is legal research, and Mary owes a huge debt of gratitude to her predecessor, Margaret Byrne, who generously shared her knowledge and expertise.

Mary is immensely proud of her library team, and paid tribute to director general Mary Keane and Teri Kelly (director of representation and member services), both of whom have been unwavering champions of the library.

Her future plans are fairly loose, Mary says, but they include more family time, travel when COVID permits, enjoying the English classics, discovering more new authors, and learning French.

“Whatever else freedom from work throws up, bring it on!” joked Mary.

Bolt from the blue

Computer services manager Veronica Donnelly is logging off in July, after an incredible 47 years. Veronica has had a variety of roles. She worked in education and has been secretary to several Society committees. When she joined the education section, it only had a staff of two, dealing with apprentices, helping with exam and related queries, and with admission to the Roll.

Veronica moved into the IT section in 1981, with the computerisation of the membership database at the Society. In 1989, Blackhall was struck by lightning and the servers were blown out. This led to a new database, which served the Society for 25 years. Veronica was very involved in the specification, implementation and monitoring of this database and in processing the annual practising certificates. This information was vital in the production of the Law Directory.

“I have enjoyed greatly working in the Law Society with all of the many colleagues, some of whom have become friends for life. I have enjoyed it, but I’m looking forward to my retirement, to having more free time, and to spending more time travelling when the restrictions are lifted,” she told the Gazette.

Need that room back

After almost four decades, Four Courts manager Paddy Caulfield will finally lock up on 26 August, when he turns 65.

Paddy is a familiar face to the more than 12,000 annual users of the Four Courts’ consultation rooms. He joined the Society in 1977, doing clerical support work. He took a couple of years out and then rejoined in 1988, working at the Four Courts.

Known for his courteous and efficient manner, he was always very clear on when he ‘needed a room back’! Paddy oversaw the extensive renovations and upgrading of the Four Courts’ facilities to its modern format in 2012.

The Society’s computerised booking system never could quite match Paddy’s knowledge: “I almost knew which room each solicitor wanted before they booked it!” he quipped.

After a total of 53 years in the workforce, Paddy is looking forward to the break: “I will miss the people and the interaction, but not the work!” he joked. “I would like to thank all of the members of the profession for their constant courtesy in all our dealings,” he said.

“Thanks, too, to the secretaries who do the room bookings, for all their help and cooperation over the years.”

We wish our retiring colleagues a happy, healthy, and long retirement.

Read and print a PDF of this article here.

Gazette Desk
Gazette.ie is the daily legal news site of the Law Society of Ireland