The Law Society of Ireland has congratulated Eileen Roberts after she last week became the second woman solicitor to be nominated for appointment as a judge of the High Court.
The nomination arose because of a vacancy due to the nomination of Mr Justice Senan Allen to the Court of Appeal in April.
Roberts, a partner in A&L Goodbody’s disputes-and-investigations practice, told Gazette.ie: “This appointment to the High Court is a great honour and privilege. I owe so much to my many colleagues, mentors and friends, both in the solicitors’ profession and at the Bar, who I’ve worked with and learned from over the years.
“I am joining a judiciary that we can be rightly proud of, and I look forward to working with them and all court users in my role,” the Carlow native added.
Eileen Roberts is the second female solicitor to be nominated for the High Court, following the appointment of State Solicitor Eileen Creedon in May 2017.
President of the Law Society Michelle Ní Longáin said: “On behalf of the solicitors’ profession in Ireland, I am honoured to congratulate our esteemed colleague Eileen Roberts on her nomination to the High Court.
“We are immensely proud of this recognition of Eileen’s experience, knowledge and legal expertise gained over 30 years of practice.
“This nomination demonstrates what the Law Society has long known: that solicitors have the skills and expertise necessary for the highest judicial appointments in the State. We would like Eileen’s appointment to be a catalyst for progress towards a more diverse judiciary that reflects Irish society.
“Solicitors possess a unique perspective on the administration of justice gained through our direct work with the public navigating the legal system.
"Increased solicitor representation among future judicial appointments would contribute to an acute understanding of the needs of court users in the pursuit of access to justice,” the president said, adding that she also looked forward to many more women solicitors Eileen Roberts in the ranks of the judiciary.
Eileen Roberts lectures on the Law Society’s diploma course in commercial litigation.
Roberts has been with A&L Goodbody for over 30 years, starting as a trainee with the firm, and served as the firm’s chair between 2019-2022.
She has represented clients in all jurisdictions of the Irish courts in international disputes, tribunals of inquiry, and regulatory investigations.
Eileen Roberts is also a CEDR-accredited mediator, and is one of only 11 Irish mediation lawyers listed in the ‘Who's Who’ legal directory 2017. She was accredited as a mediator by the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution in 2010.
She is also a council member of the Irish Commercial Mediation Association, and a committee member of the Irish Commercial Litigation Association.
In that role, Roberts chaired the group that produced the ‘Good Practice Discovery Guide for Commercial Litigation in Ireland’.
David Widger (managing partner of A&L Goodbody) said: “We’re incredibly proud that Eileen has been nominated to the High Court. It is fitting recognition of her tremendous experience, legal expertise, knowledge and wisdom.
“She has made a significant and lasting impact on our firm during her 34 years with us, both with the lawyers that she has helped develop and the clients that she has advised.
“While she will be missed by everyone in A&L Goodbody, this nomination is an honour, both for Eileen and the firm. We wish her every success for the future.”
Eileen Roberts was educated at Trinity College Dublin and was admitted to the Roll of Solicitors in Ireland in 1991.
Judicial appointments are made by the President of Ireland, acting on the advice of the Government.
New President of the High Court announced
Meanwhile, Mr Justice David Barniville is to be the next President of the High Court, after Ms Justice Mary Irvine retires next month.
The Government agreed to nominate him for appointment at its Cabinet meeting in Dublin Castle on 21 June.
Mr Justice Barniville is currently a judge of the Court of Appeal where he moved from the High Court. He is a former barrister who also served as Chair of the Bar Council.