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Earning money and helping clients ‘not incompatible goals’
Antoinette Moriarty of Law Society Psychological Services

07 Sep 2023 / law society Print

Earning well and helping clients ‘not incompatible'

A total of 466 incoming Law Society PPC trainees were introduced to The Complete Lawyer Psychological Services module at Blackhall Place yesterday (6 September).

The event coincided with the launch of the Law Society Psychological Services Festival, which runs until Friday 8 September.

Antoinette Moriarty (head of Psychological Services) told the incoming trainees that earning money and helping people were not incompatible goals, after hearing from trainees that they desired to help bring clients “from darkness into light”.

One trainee said that her goal was to change the world, one day at a time, while another wants to prosecute crimes, and another to serve clients in general practice.

Of the 466 PPC trainees this year, 80% are under the age of 30.

'Big questions'

Moriarty (pictured) told the PPC trainees that ‘time-concentrated therapy’, which is on offer to all Blackhall Place students, will help them to answer the ‘big questions’ of what they want out of life, and out of their future legal careers.

Such therapy would cost up to €600 in the ‘outside’ world and would help them grapple with imposter syndrome, which is extremely common in highly demanding careers, such as the law, she added.

She cautioned the incoming trainees against losing touch with their authentic selves on the “pulverising journey” of professional life.


The head of Psychological Services advised against trying to emulate other people, and said that personal identity must be preserved in transitional periods, such as traineeship.

Moriarty urged the trainees to be well-informed on current affairs and to follow the daily news, as a small but important step along the road to becoming “high-impact professionals”.

She reminded them of the remark of the Law Society Director General Mark Garrett that a mere 20% of people globally live in “high rule-of-law states”, and encouraged them to use the privilege of their training courageously and wisely.

Psychological muscle

‘The Complete Lawyer’ toolkit for professional wellbeing, developed specifically for trainees, helps build the psychological muscle needed for legal practice.

Antoinette Moriarty encouraged trainees to learn the practice of  ‘mentalising’. This is the ability to know ourselves well, to understand how other people experience interactions with us, and to know others, such as clients and colleagues, so that we can serve them optimally.

As well as mentalising, high-impact lawyers must also know how to:

  • Contain the complexity of client work,
  • Regulate their stress levels and those of clients,
  • Think deeply and reflect carefully, and
  • Perform at peak levels.

Lawyers grapple daily with other peoples’ “stress and mess”, Moriarty said, and must at all costs maintain their own personal relationships in the face of such situations.

She urged the trainees to maintain strong social connections, to be physically active, and to be creatively and intellectually stimulated by their work.

“Know yourself from the outside, and know other people from the inside,” she suggested, acknowledging that there is deep skill involved in acquiring this knowhow.


This new group of trainees is the youngest at the Law School for several years, witnessed by their palpable energy!

After the introductory session, the incoming PPC trainees made their way through the buildings and gathered, in time-honoured tradition, in the rose garden.

In bright sunshine, they received further induction to 'The Complete Lawyer’ module, marking the start of their professional journeys.

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