220 Cork solicitors gather for major legal conference

Law Society highlights value of legal services and supports for Cork solicitors.

  • Almost 220 solicitors will attend the Practitioner Update Cork 2019 today, Friday 15 November.
  • The value of legal services and business supports for smaller firms will be discussed.
  • The conference is organised by the Law Society Finuas Skillnet in association with the Southern Law Association.

Almost 220 Cork solicitors will attend the Practitioner Update Cork 2019, an annual legal conference, at the Kingsley Hotel, Cork taking place today, Friday 15 November.

The conference is organised by the Law Society Finuas Skillnet in association with the Southern Law Association. It provides Cork solicitors with updates on essential areas of law and practice including practice supports, advising the elderly, limited liability partnerships (LLPs) and more.

Smaller practices in Cork

This year the Practitioner Update Cork 2019 has a particular focus on smaller practices and sole practitioners. It comes as the Law Society provides special supports for local solicitors and their businesses through the Small Practice Support Project.

The project, which was launched in February this year, makes 11 strategic recommendations to help sole practitioners and smaller firms in rural and urban Ireland grow their businesses and achieve greater success for their clients, their firms and their local communities.

The project is particularly relevant to the hundreds of solicitors that work in one of the 238 firms in Cork with five or fewer solicitors.

Solicitor Robert Baker of O’Donovan Baker, Cork, is Vice-President of the Southern Law Association and is chairing today’s event. He said the conference was an opportunity for Cork solicitors to update themselves on practice changes, and raise concerns solicitors may have relating to different areas of practice.

“Almost a quarter of Cork’s solicitors are attending today’s event and we are at full capacity. The Practitioner Update Cork 2019 is the perfect opportunity for solicitors from across the county to come together, collaborate and discuss relevant changes to the law,” said Mr Baker.

“A large number of solicitors here work as sole practitioners  or in smaller firms; they are vital to the sustainability and success of Cork’s local communities and provide effective legal solutions to their clients in all of life’s major events,” he said.

Value of legal services

“Local solicitors engage daily with their communities and act as legal experts on business, employment, family and conveyancing matters, among others,” he said.

“It is important that solicitors can adapt when challenging circumstances arise. As part of this, we must be able to communicate the value of our legal services to our clients and potential clients.”

“The Small Practice Support Project provides tools that solicitors and sole practitioners can use to ensure we are running our practices as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

Limited Liability Partnerships

On 1 November 2019 the Law Society welcomed the availability of LLPs as an option for partnerships of solicitors in Ireland. The move comes following a 20 year campaign by the Law Society to Government.

“Earlier this month the Government introduced Limited Liability Partnerships as an option for partnerships of solicitors in Ireland,” said Mr Baker.

“Until now, partners in solicitor firms could be personally held responsible for the debt accrued by an employee of the firm. This put solicitors at great financial risk while providing much needed services for their clients and communities."

“LLPs will now give similar protections to solicitors’ practices as those enjoyed by limited companies. While this is open to small firms, it does not yet extend to sole practitioners,” he explained.

“This change will provide a new level of protection that is welcome amongst solicitors not only in the Cork area, but throughout the country.”

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