A new cohort of 456 aspiring solicitors filled up the halls at Blackhall Place in recent days, with numbers rising to those seen before the financial crash.
The new students were welcomed in speeches from the Law Society’s director general Ken Murphy and the director of education TP Kennedy.
Ken Murphy told the new students that Blackhall Place would offer them a warm and friendly environment.
He said that people were becoming lawyers in record numbers, undeterred by the sometimes negative public image of the legal profession.
20,000 on the Roll
The Roll of Solicitors in Ireland now contains nearly 20,000 names, in a remarkable sign of the health of the profession.
“The demand for legal services continues to grow, and long may that last,” he said.
He congratulated the new entrants on their excellent timing in seeking a career in the law.
“You are on your way to joining a profession which is dynamic, expansive and international,” he said.
One of the great strengths of the profession is that it is universal, with law firms in small towns and villages all over Ireland, Murphy added.
'Ryanair to business class'
The new students have arrived in time to enjoy much-improved facilities at the law school, and especially in the main lecture theatre.
The director general quipped that this year’s first occupants of the new lecture theatre seats were enjoying an upgrade from “Ryanair seats to business class”.
Lawyer-type skills of negotiation, advocacy and drafting were invaluable and irreplaceable, he said.
The legal profession was not an arm of Government, he said, adding that the legal system existed to protect the individual from the over-reaching power of both powerful organisations and the State.
He encouraged the new students to enjoy mooting, debating and all of the other activities available to them.
“This is a special period for you. There are many social activities. Meet other people because these will be your colleagues for the next 40 years of your careers,” he advised.
His final advice to the students was to “enjoy it”!
Education director TP Kennedy congratulated the new entrants on their success in achieving training contracts, adding that they would soon cease to be students and start to become lawyers.
New hybrid course
This year, males are in a slight majority on the course, and 87% of trainees are working in offices in Dublin.
As recently as 2008, the figures were split evenly between the capital and the rest of the country.
The law school at Blackhall Place will launch a new hybrid PPC course in spring 2020. Applications for this optimised blended learning course will close on Friday 20 September.
This innovative new offering from the law school combines online lectures with face-to-face tuition, using the most up-to-date technology.
The hybrid course also offers a more flexible route to becoming a solicitor, which will suit those who can’t commit to full-time learning.
The new students heard about the many activities on offer at Blackhall Place. Trainee solicitors benefit from extensive psychological services, including free one-to-one and group therapy, during their studies.
The Law Society’s approach is to put in place practices that will optimise good mental health at all stages in their legal careers, the students heard.