Ms Ní Longáin becomes the fifth woman to serve as Law Society President.
The Law Society of Ireland has announced the appointment of employment, equality and administrative law solicitor, Michelle Ní Longáin, as President of the Law Society for the year 2021/2022, with effect from Friday 5 November 2021.
Ms Ní Longáin is a senior partner in one of Ireland's largest full service law firms, ByrneWallace LLP. She becomes the 151st President of the Law Society and fifth woman to serve in the role.
Ms Ní Longáin will serve a one-year term as president of the 22,500-strong Irish solicitors’ profession until November 2022 while continuing to practice as a solicitor with ByrneWallace LLP.
Commenting on her appointment, Ms Ní Longáin said, “It is a privilege to serve as President of the Law Society, and as the fifth woman to lead the Irish solicitors’ profession, this too is a privilege. I am particularly mindful of the importance of representation for our future female legal leaders and look forward to building upon the progress made in this area by my predecessors.”
Outlining core priorities for her term in office, Ms Ní Longáin highlighted a focus on continuing to progress gender equality, diversity and inclusion in the solicitors’ profession.
“Looking ahead, we know that the future of this profession is more diverse and more inclusive at all career stages. A key priority for me over the coming year is promoting gender equality, diversity, inclusion and increased access to the profession, including at leadership levels. I believe that this is very important to ensure that there are more diverse voices in the room.
“As chairperson of the Law Society’s Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force, I have worked with my colleagues to position diversity as a cornerstone of the profession. Significant progress has been made in recent years and I am committed to driving this agenda forward during the next 12 months.”
Wellbeing and leadership
“Health and wellbeing is another key area I am committed to enhancing during my term. It is vital that our members are empowered to access available supports that will help to protect their personal mental health and wellbeing.
“How the Law Society responds to the urgent priority of climate justice will also be an important focus of mine during the year ahead. We will focus on supporting our members to help them become more sustainable in their practices.”
“Society and the economy have been dealing with extensive challenges during the past 18 months. Leading the profession through these challenges, business recovery and what follows will be a priority for me.”
About Michelle Ní Longáin
Michelle Ní Longáin is a senior partner in ByrneWallace LLP. Ms Ní Longáin heads the firm’s public sector group, is compliance partner and is a partner in the Employment Law team. Ms Ní Longáin advises public and private sector clients, primarily employers, on complex areas of employment, equality and administrative law.
Ms Ní Longáin attended school in Loreto Convent Letterkenny, County Donegal and studied law in Queens University Belfast. Ms Ní Longáin qualified as a solicitor in Northern Ireland in 1994 where she practised employment and equality law in McClure & Co. She moved to England in 1996 and practised employment and equality law in Thompsons Solicitors, before returning to Ireland in 1999 where she joined ByrneWallace LLP.
Ms Ní Longáin has been a member of the Council of the Law Society of Ireland since 2004 and was also a member of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Ireland from 2007 to 2013. Ms Ní Longáin has chaired the Law Society’s Education and Finance committees, Audit subcommittee and Gender Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Task Force.
Ms Ní Longáin’s experience of practising in three jurisdictions and her membership of the Councils of two professional regulatory bodies and many of their committees has helped to inform her advice to clients, particularly in the public and regulatory sector.
Ms Ní Longáin has strong experience in advising and representing clients in internal and external matters and across legal fora and in providing specialised training in her practice areas. Ms Ní Longáin won the Lexology International Law Office Client Choice Award for Employment and Benefits in 2016.
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