The Law Society of has awarded grants worth a total of €250,000 to ten trainee solicitors and small practices to boost the growth of legal services in local communities throughout Ireland since 2020.
A further five grants worth a total of €125,000 are available to smaller solicitor practices based outside of the main urban districts of Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway. The application deadline is Friday 10 June.
Chair of the Law Society’s Education Committee Richard Hammond SC said: “Having set up my own small practice in Mallow 15 years ago, I understand the value and opportunities for local communities when there is access to a solicitor who understands local matters.
“The Small Practice Traineeship Grant helps to cover the cost of employing a trainee solicitor, representing a win for local communities, a win for the trainee solicitor and practice, and a win for the solicitors’ profession.”
Supporting local communities
“Ten trainee solicitors have received the grant since 2020, many of whom represent the first ever trainee hired in their respective practices. With a total of €250,000 awarded through this grant since 2020, the Law Society views this as a significant investment in the sustainability and growth of much needed legal services in rural communities in Ireland,” he said.
Hammond said that the grant was now in its third year, with encouraging emerging trends in that grant recipients were training as solicitors on the flexible PPC hybrid model.
This blended learning course allows trainees to work and study close to home, instead of having to relocate to Dublin for extended periods.
The combination of the grant and the PPC Hybrid provides an opportunity for aspiring solicitors who, due to family circumstances or other personal commitments, may not otherwise be able to train as a solicitor.
“The Law Society is making strides to improve access and reduce barriers to solicitor training. The solicitors’ profession in Ireland has never been more diverse or accessible. This grant is one of our most important initiatives helping to achieve these milestones,” said Mr Hammond.
Increasing access to training in Wexford
Eileen O’Neill was successful in the Small Practice Traineeship Grant round in 2021. She is currently a trainee solicitor on the PPC Hybrid, and works in Coghlan Kelly, New Ross, Co Wexford.
“I would not be training as a solicitor without the PPC Hybrid and this grant. Taking my own personal life situation into account, I could not have stopped working and relocated to Dublin to undertake the full-time course.
“The PPC Hybrid allows me to work and study simultaneously, and the Traineeship Grant has taken a financial burden off me.
“This grant is a huge initiative for students who may find themselves in difficulty meeting the costs of the training course. The same is true for small firms, who will have the opportunity to train a new solicitor and share their knowledge. My advice is to go for it and apply!
“The Law Society is such a diverse organisation and, by enabling solicitors to remain in their local communities, more trainees have the opportunity of training in small practice and can bring their own fresh ideas.
“Also, city life is not for everyone, and this grant will allow prospective trainees, who otherwise may not have considered this career, to train locally.”
Grant applications should be submitted on the Law Society website, by the 10 June deadline.