Long-standing Law Society Director General Ken Murphy is to retire on 22 March next year, when he reaches his 65th birthday. By then he will have completed 26 years in the role.
Leading tributes to Mr Murphy, Law Society President Michele O’Boyle said: “Ken has, as director general, led the Society with distinction for 26 years. In that time, he has represented the solicitors’ profession with integrity, dedication, wisdom and tremendous skill. I am certain that Ken’s contribution will leave a lasting legacy.”
Describing him as “a gifted communicator”, she added: “Ken has always had the profession’s obligations to the public interest at the forefront of his mind.”
Ken Murphy’s term as director general was preceded by 12 years as a Law Society Council member, to which he was first elected in 1983. Prior to that, he spent two years on the Younger Members Committee – evidence of his long and devoted service to the Society and the legal profession.
The director general said today that, after almost 40 years of service, he was profoundly grateful for the “enormous honour and opportunities that the Law Society has given me.
“Most importantly, my various roles have enabled me to serve the solicitors’ profession, which I love and of which I am so very proud to be a member, and through this the public interest,” he said.
“I have worked with wonderful colleagues, and I often remarked that I knew no one who enjoyed their job as much as I enjoyed mine,” he said.
“That was certainly true up to the arrival, in March 2020, of the constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic which, for me, as for so many people, deprived working life of many of its most enjoyable dimensions.”
He commented that he and his wife, Yvonne, who is also due to retire next year, had decided that the time was now right to pursue the great many other things that interest them in life, while they were still healthy and young enough to enjoy them.
Ken continued: “I recognise fully that the timing, in the circumstances, is far from ideal. The COVID-19 crisis in the country, from which I know a great many of my colleagues and friends in the solicitors’ profession are suffering, will create considerable challenges for the profession in conducting a proper and professional recruitment process preceded, no doubt, by some serious strategic thinking.”
He added that, if it were the Society’s wish that he continue in office for a limited period of “weeks or even months” to bridge a gap before his successor was appointed and available to take office, he would be willing to do so, and would “not leave the Law Society in the lurch”.
Concluding, he said: “Next year’s president, James Cahill, like all of his predecessors since the late Paddy Glynn in 1995, will have available to him my complete loyalty, support and guidance until my successor can take over from me.
“In any case, he will have available to him the support and advice of the Law Society’s superb staff, of whom I am so proud, who are led brilliantly by my senior management team colleagues.”
Period of change
Mr Murphy has guided the Law Society through a period of great change and expansion, from approximately 5,000 solicitors on the Roll of Solicitors when he took up office in 1995, to over 22,000 today.
“I wish Ken, his wife Yvonne and their children Gavin, Charlotte and Rebecca continued good health and an abundance of happiness in this exciting new chapter in their lives,” President O’Boyle concluded.