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‘Unprecedented level of change’ flagged in annual report
Law Society President Michelle Ní Longáin Pic: Jason Clarke

02 Nov 2022 / law society Print

'Unprecedented change’ flagged in annual report

The Law Society’s director general has highlighted the opportunities and challenges created for the legal profession by “an unprecedented level of change”.

In the Law Society’s Annual Report 2021/22, Mark Garrett (small picture) says that much of that transformation will be mandated and regulated by changes in the law. “We can see all around us that businesses, consumers, and employees want to operate in a society and an economy with world-class governance, reputation, and legal system – these will be the competitive advantages of the future for Irish society,” he states.

He adds that this is a real opportunity for the legal profession and the Law Society, “because we promote and advocate for high standards in these areas”.

In the report, Garrett lists the main challenges facing the profession:

  • Increased regulation and the increased role of government,
  • Technology,
  • Changing workplace and workforce,
  • Changing expectations on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues,
  • Competition and structural shifts in the profession, and
  • Reputation and trust, and their impact on the profession.

‘Embrace wellbeing’

Also writing in the report, President Michelle Ní Longáin says that the continuing fall-out from COVID-19 and Brexit make it important for the Society to support the profession in every way, and embrace wellbeing and diversity.

She highlights the launch of the Law Society’s Psychological Services earlier this year, stating that it has the potential to transform the profession in Ireland, to change the culture, and to safeguard its integrity and future.

On promoting gender equality, diversity, and inclusion within the profession, the president says the Society is actively working to improve access to the profession in the broadest sense.

Spending cut by 9%

The report shows that there are 11,306 practising solicitors across the country, of which 52.3% are female and 47.5% male. Dublin has 2,760 solicitors, and Cork 950.

During the year covered by the report, the Law Society gave up €6-million-worth of income in order to ease the burden of the pandemic on practices.

Overall, the Society recorded a surplus of €5.9 million for 2021, though total income fell by 7% to €29.2 million. Spending, however, was reduced by 9% to €16.5 million. The figures were boosted by higher-than-expected investment gains of €1.2 million.

Gazette.ie continued to attract a significant number of readers, with total page views reaching 1.09 million readers. The number of unique page views was 742,374.

The hard-copy Gazette magazine (with roughly a 13,000 print-run per issue) was supplemented by 10,523 downloads of the soft-copy magazine in PDF format during the year.

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