As 17 solicitors from across Ireland successfully applied for patents of precedence, granting them the title of senior counsel, the Law Society has highlighted the vast breadth of experience and expertise they will bring to their new roles.
President of the Law Society Michele O’Boyle said: “I am proud to be standing at the helm as 17 solicitors make history this week, as the first in the State to be granted the right to use the title of senior counsel.
“The solicitors come from a wide variety of practices right across the country, spanning urban and rural, large practices and small, as well as sole practitioners.”
“It is clear that the depth and breadth of experience and expertise these colleagues collectively possess is of enormous value to the Irish justice system.”
Solicitors named as SCs
The 17 solicitors granted patents of precedence are:
- Éamonn Conlon (Éamonn Conlon, Solicitors, Shankill, Dublin 18),
- Paul Egan (Mason, Hayes & Curran LLP, Dublin 4),
- Patrick Groarke (Groarke & Partners, Longford),
- Richard Hammond (Hammond Good, Solicitors, Mallow, Co Cork),
- Bill Holohan (Holohan Lane LLP, Cork),
- Áine Hynes (St John Solicitors LLP, Dublin 7),
- Liam Kennedy (A&L Goodbody, Dublin 1),
- Rory Kirrane (Mason, Hayes & Curran LLP, Dublin 4),
- Cormac Little (William Fry, Dublin 2),
- James MacGuill (MacGuill & Co, Solicitors, Dundalk, Co Louth),
- Roger Murray (Callan Tansey Solicitors LLP, Sligo),
- Helen Noble (Noble Shipping Law, Arklow, Co Wicklow),
- Bernard O’Connor (NCTM Studio Legale, Brussels, Belgium),
- Vincent Power (A&L Goodbody, Dublin 1),
- Dara Robinson (Sheehan & Partners, Dublin 8),
- Michael Staines (Michael J. Staines & Co, Dublin 7), and
- Damien MP Tansey (Damien Tansey Solicitors LLP, Sligo).
The president commented that she hoped and expected that many more solicitors with the necessary skills, knowledge and experience would apply in the future.
Ms O’Boyle added: “In particular, I look forward to seeing a balance of male and female solicitors applying for, and being granted, patents of precedence, to reflect the modern legal profession and 21st century Ireland.”
Barristers named as SCs
A total of 20 barristers have also been named senior counsel. They are:
- John Breslin,
- Nessa Cahill,
- Eoin Carolan,
- Maurice Coffey,
- Catherine Donnelly,
- Marcus Dowling,
- Stephen Dowling,
- Michael Duffy,
- Emily Farrell,
- Brian Foley,
- Damien Higgins,
- Dean Kelly,
- Brian Kennelly,
- Suzanne Kingston,
- Darren Lehane,
- Anthony Moore,
- Bernadette Quigley,
- David Sharpe,
- Derek Shortall, and
- Kelley Smith.
The Cabinet approved the names at its meeting on Tuesday, 1 September.
Capacity for excellence
The historic move allowing 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 on the Grant of Patents of Precedence, chaired by the Chief Justice, which made its recommendations to Government, under section 174(4)(a) of the act.
The committee consists of:
- The Chief Justice (chairperson of the committee),
- The President of the Court of Appeal,
- The President of the High Court,
- The Attorney General,
- The Chairperson of the Bar Council,
- The President of the Law Society, and
- Dr Don Thornhill, a lay member of the authority (and its chair) nominated by the Minister for Justice and Equality.