The Government has approved the granting of patents of precedence and the title of senior counsel to six solicitors and 28 barristers.
For the first time, the number of women solicitors named is greater than the number of men.
The Law Society has congratulated the six solicitors and President Michelle Ní Longáin said, “We are proud to congratulate our six colleagues who have been recognised for their in-depth knowledge of a specialised area of practice.
“The four women solicitors granted the patents of precedence this year have made history. For the first time, the number of women named is greater than the number of men. Women are currently in the majority of practising and training solicitors in Ireland, and this diversity in our profession is reflected among the latest senior-counsel list.
“Solicitors’ close connectedness with clients as trusted advisors is unique in the legal profession,” she said. “We are pleased that their many contributions to the administration of justice in the State has again been recognised.”
- Deborah Spence (consultant and former partner at Arthur Cox),
- Terence McCrann (partner and head of McCann FitzGerald's employment group),
- Sinéad Kearney (ByrneWallace partner and head of health services team),
- Aisling Gannon (partner, Eversheds Sutherland),
- Helen Kelly (Matheson partner and head of EU, competition and regulatory law),
- Alastair Purdy (managing partner, Alastair Purdy and Co).
- Nuala Egan,
- Jane Hyland,
- Michael O'Connor,
- Elva Duffy,
- Michael Hourican,
- Sinead McGrath,
- Garrett Baker,
- Leesha O'Driscoll,
- Gerardine Small,
- Fiona O'Sullivan,
- Mellissa English,
- Lorna Lynch,
- Jennifer O'Connell,
- Padraic Lyons,
- Bairbre O'Neill,
- Sara Antoniotti,
- Joe Jeffers,
- Tony McGillicuddy,
- Reg Jackson,
- Imogen McGrath,
- Mairead McKenna,
- Ailbhe O'Neill,
- Moira Flahive,
- Glen Gibbons,
- Gerard Meehan,
- Daniel Cronin,
- David Leahy,
- Garvan Corkery.
Patents of precedence are granted under the terms of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015 by the Government, on the advice of the advisory committee on the grant of patents of precedence.
The advisory committee consists of the Chief Justice, President of the Court of Appeal, President of the High Court, Attorney General, Chair of the Bar Council, President of the Law Society and a lay member of the Legal Services Regulatory Authority nominated by the Minister for Justice.
This is the third time in the history of the State that solicitors could apply for patents of precedence.
In June 2021, a total of 25 barristers and 12 solicitors were granted patents of precedence, while in September 2020, 17 solicitors were named, along with 20 barristers.
Capacity for excellence
The change that allows solicitors to be granted patents of precedence follows commencement of provisions of the Legal Services Regulation Act 2015.
Solicitors in Ireland can apply for appointment on the basis of proven excellence.
The criteria include a requirement for the candidate to demonstrate a proven capacity for excellence as an advocate or litigant, or specialist knowledge in a particular area of law, or that he or she is otherwise suitable.
The applications were considered by an Advisory Committee chaired by the Chief Justice, which made its recommendations to Government, under section 174(4)(a) of the act.