International Women’s Day 2019

Law Society of Ireland reflects on landmark gender balance milestone and plans for equality and diversity into the future.

In 2014, the Irish solicitors’ profession became the first legal profession in the world to reach gender parity, when the number of practising certificates issued to women equalled the number issued to men. Since then, female solicitors have been in the slight majority, currently making up 52% of the practising profession.

“The theme for International Women’s Day 2019 is “balance for better” – something which the Law Society is actively striving towards. As a Society and a profession we have not rested on our laurels since reaching that milestone in gender balance.”

“We recognise that a balanced, modern profession that reflects and represents the businesses and clients we serve is more effective on all fronts,” said Law Society of Ireland Director General Ken Murphy. “We are constantly working towards higher standards of gender equality, diversity and inclusion.”

“We are five years on from reaching gender parity across the practising profession and 96 years since the admission of the first woman to the Irish Roll of Solicitors in 1923. It is rewarding and energising to reflect on what we have achieved and what we can still achieve in terms of gender balance for Irish solicitors and the clients we serve.”

Gender balance at the top of the profession

34% of partners in the largest seven law firms in Ireland are women, and in one firm this figure reaches 44%.

“Developing structures to improve gender balance at the very top of the profession is a serious focus for the Law Society, and we have taken a number of steps to make that happen,” Mr Murphy outlined.

“For example, since 2016 the Law Society has run its Law and Women Mentoring Programme, designed to help more women reach partner and managing partner level and continue to grow their careers.”

Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force

The Law Society recently launched a Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. It comprises sixteen members from various minority, disability, LGBT+ and socio-economic backgrounds, and will make recommendations to encourage more female solicitors and solicitors from diverse backgrounds to seek leadership roles in the Law Society’s Council and committees.

The Task Force will also create useful tools solicitors can use to help achieve equality, diversity and inclusion within their firms.

Return to previous press releases