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‘Shrink Me’ psychological service to be extended to entire profession
Past-president of the Law Society Michelle Ní Longáin Pic: Jason Clarke

18 Feb 2022 / law Society Print

Psychological service to be available to all solicitors

The Law Society’s ‘Shrink Me’ psychological service will now be extended to all solicitors as they move through their careers, President Michelle Ní Longáin said last night.

The decision was taken by the Law Society Council at its most recent meeting, and the move will support the health and wellbeing of members of the profession, the president said.

President Ní Longáin was speaking as over 50 newly-minted solicitors received their parchments at the Law Society last night (17 February).

The Law Society President congratulated the new solicitors on their achievement, and said she hoped they would have long, satisfying, useful and rewarding careers.

Vital role

“Your role is a vital one in civic society, and it’s a role that you should treat with the utmost respect,” she said. 

“This isn't an easy career, but it’s an endlessly interesting and diverse one, full of opportunities.”

Lawyers can meet real challenges and make a difference in society, in business, and in public life, she added.

Professional integrity was key to a successful career as a solicitor – “I can’t overstate the importance of ethical boundaries as a solicitor,” she stated. “The word of a solicitor is that solicitor’s bond, and we are trusted advisors.”

President Ní Longáin encouraged the solicitors to seek advice and guidance as they progressed in their careers, and to always feel confident to be themselves. 

“There is no one who can’t benefit from consulting with another person,” she added.

Fascinating career

Many professionals flounder because they don’t seek help, she warned. “Invest in yourself and protect yourself as you start out on this fascinating career.”

The ceremony was also addressed by Ms Justice Nuala Butler of the High Court. She told the newly-qualified professionals that they should always keep learning, if possible, but that the lessons learned would not always be the obvious ones.

“If you admire somebody, think about how they do their job well,” she advised. 

There is something to be learned from each and every position occupied in a career as a solicitor, Ms Justice Butler added.

“Be open-minded to the possibilities, and learn from each experience. Your ultimate skill and ability as a solicitor will be informed by the variety, as well as by the depth, of your experience,” the High Court judge said.

Most members of the public would only visit a solicitor once or twice in their lifetimes, she added, but they would be making life-changing decisions – whether that was in buying a house, or making a will.

Never a routine transaction

“For the client, it’s never going to be a routine transaction,” she said.

Clients should be given the time and support necessary to understand the nature of the transaction they were about to enter, she added, and should be satisfied that their interests were being fully protected. 

Outside of non-contentious work, visiting clients might be at a crisis point, and vulnerable, she warned. How those clients were treated and spoken to would shape their perception of the legal profession as a whole, the High Court judge said.

While not every situation could have a good outcome, the mark of a great solicitor was that clients left the office genuinely satisfied that the best available outcome had been achieved for them, Ms Justice Butler concluded.

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