First Chinese-born barrister called to the Bar of Ireland
Fei Liang moved to Ireland in 2008 after completing her law degree in China
Fei Liang outside the Four Courts after being called to the Bar. Photograph: Crispin Rodwell
History was made on Thursday morning when Fei Liang, a graduate in law from King’s Inns, became the first Chinese-born barrister to be called to the Bar of Ireland.
Ms Liang described becoming a barrister as a “dream come true”, and said she felt very proud of her achievements after many years of hard work.
“I’ve had lots of difficulties along the way and there were hard times, but I don’t want to focus on them. I just feel so happy seeing myself in the robe.”
The 35-year-old barrister was born and brought up in Shanghai, and moved to Dublin in 2008 after completing her law degree in China. She came to Ireland to improve her English skills but also to train as an accountant, graduating in 2009 with a postgraduate diploma in accounting.
She completed her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants exams in 2014 . Meanwhile, she completed a diploma in legal studies and went on to study for a part-time two-year degree of barrister-at-law at Kings Inns while also working full time as an accountant.
Ms Liang, who became an Irish citizen earlier this year, does not plan to practise as a barrister straight away, and wants to take time to focus on her personal life after 12 years of studying. However, she hopes to use her legal expertise in the future to help support Ireland’s Chinese community.
“China has a totally different legal system and many Chinese people misunderstand the law here. I have seen people end up in trouble because of this and it’s not fair on them. I’d like to help them understand the system.”
Lord Mayor of Dublin Hazel Chu was the first Irish-born person of Chinese heritage to be called to the bar in 2007 but never practised.