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New solicitors told of ’vital role’ in society
Ms Justice Eileen Roberts at the Law Society (Pic: Jason Clarke Photography)

29 Jan 2024 / law society Print

New solicitors told of ’vital role’ in society

Newly qualified solicitors have been told that their success will come not just from knowing the law, but also from being able to apply it with empathy, integrity, wisdom, and honesty on behalf of their clients.

Ms Justice Eileen Roberts of the High Court told graduates at a parchment ceremony in Blackhall Place (25 January) that they would be challenged by clients “every day” – and generally with good reason.

“Some of the hardest skills that you will acquire will be how to explain complex concepts in a simple way; how to give advice to clients that they don't want to hear or accept; how to manage difficult discussions, and disappointments about the outcome of particular negotiations or cases,” she added.

‘Fundamental role’

The 56 graduates were also welcomed to the profession by Law Society President Barry MacCarthy, who told them that they had a vital role in civic society that they should treat with the utmost respect.

“The fair, independent, and efficient administration of justice is central to any democracy,” he continued, adding that the legal community that they were joining had a fundamental role in protecting the rule of law.

The president described the solicitors’ profession as “thriving”, as demand for legal services grows, especially in emerging areas like intellectual property, aviation law, mediation, and arbitration.

He added, however, that this was not the case for all solicitors, nor for all parts of the country.

“Remember that the Law Society is your Law Society. We are here to help at every stage of your career,” the president told the new solicitors.

‘No place for bravado’

Ms Justice Eileen Roberts told the new solicitors to always display integrity in their interactions with clients, and warned them that there was no place for bravado or ego as a solicitor.

“If you demean a colleague, or you renege on your word, you will have a short career,” she said.

“Always display integrity in your interactions with clients, and in your dealings with colleagues and the courts,” she urged.

Ms Justice Roberts told the graduates that true success as a solicitor was measured not by clever manoeuvring, but rather by commitment to fairness and justice.


“You can fight incredibly hard for your client without engaging in personalised, overly aggressive, or self-serving correspondence with your counterpart,” she continued.

“I'm often disappointed at the unnecessarily aggressive and dismissive tone of correspondence between solicitors, and this is very evident to judges who review this correspondence as part of their role,” she added.

Concluding, the judge urged the new solicitors never to underestimate the impact of their words and actions, and to be the advocates for those who could not speak.

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