The Law Society of Ireland’s annual Solicitors of the Future programme recently allowed 40 transition-year (TY) students across Ireland to explore a future career as a solicitor.
The programme aims to show students how the law can be relevant to their daily lives, and to promote awareness of the legal processes, constitutional principles, and values that underpin the rule of law in Ireland.
With over 280 schools applying each year, the Solicitors of the Future scheme is highly sought-after, and offers spaces through a nationwide lottery system.
Insights into law
Hillary Walsh (16), a TY student at Coláiste an Phiarsaigh, Glanmire, Co Cork, attended this year’s programme, which took place from 22 to 25 February.
“I have a keen interest in law, and I took part in the Solicitors of the Future programme to broaden my knowledge and understanding of how the legal profession operates in Ireland,” explained Hillary.
“The course provides a great insight into the legal profession and the opportunities available. I listened to various speakers throughout the course, which included solicitors, barristers, lecturers and judges. This gave me a better understanding of the numerous career pathways in the legal world,” she said.
“The highlight of the course was definitely the mock trial. I was nervous to present my case at first, but I got great satisfaction speaking in front of the other participants.”
“Another highlight of the programme was completing a case study. We were given facts about a case and discussed the evidence as a group,” she said.
Richard Hammond SC (Chair of the Law Society’s Education Committee) said: “The Law Society is committed to making the solicitors’ profession more diverse and inclusive. Encouraging an interest in law at a younger age, for all members of society, is one way to do this.
“The Solicitors of the Future programme invites TY students to consider a career in law, and offers an insight into the role of a solicitor in practice.
“Importantly, it helps foster a greater understanding of our basic legal rights and responsibilities as citizens, and provides an important life lesson on how to exercise our rights and access justice.”
Access to education
Following a successful switch to online delivery in 2021, the programme retained its virtual format for 2022, making it easier for students throughout the country to participate.
“By offering the Solicitors of the Future programme online again this year, we have broadened access to the course, and have facilitated and encouraged participation by students across the country,” said Mr Hammond.
The programme offers a comprehensive schedule of guest speakers and interactive activities – including, a human-rights lecture, a presentation from a criminal-defence lawyer, and a panel discussion. It also offers a career seminar, and finishes with an engaging mini mock trial.
“I enjoyed every minute of the course, and I would definitely love to pursue a career in law in the future,” concluded Hillary.