Law Society defends €2,200-per-week pay for part-time president

Director general says role is highly demanding and subvention is justified

The Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

The Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place, Dublin. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Director general of the Law Society, Ken Murphy has defended the more than €2,200 per week paid to the organisation’s president for the part-time post.

The 2016-17 Law Society annual report and 2016 accounts show the annual subvention for the post of president increased in 2016 by €5,000 to €115,000 per annum – or €2,211 per week.

The €115,000 in pay compares to an annual stipend of €35,000 for the president of the Irish Medical Organisation which comes with a much smaller membership and revenues.

Dublin-based solicitor Michael Quinlan was elected president of the Law Society last November.

Mr Murphy said the role of president was highly demanding and the subvention was well justified.

“It allows the president to take the considerable time away from his/her practice that the office requires, including the employment of an additional solicitor in the firm, to cover the president’s absence, if necessary,” he said.

“The role also involves considerable travel throughout the 12-month term. The hours involved are quite frequently outside normal working times, so apart from the professional commitment to the role, there is an enormous personal commitment required as well.”

€2.53m to key managers

Total pay to key management personnel at the Law Society in 2016, including the society president, totalled €2.53 million.

The pay was made to the president, seven directors and 11 managers and includes salary, security costs and pension costs.

Separately the report also shows there was a 23 per cent drop in the number of complaints made against solicitors last year, from 1,829 to 1,407.

Mr Murphy describes the drop as “dramatic”. Some 1,146 complaints were deemed admissible in 2016-17 and they were made up of 95 complaints concerning excessive fees, 691 complaints of alleged misconduct and 360 concerning allegations of inadequate professional services.

There were six solicitors struck off in the 12 months to the end of June last and this followed 13 solicitors struck off in the previous year.

On the impact of Brexit, Mr Murphy confirmed that to the end of November last year, 511 solicitors from England and Wales were admitted to the Irish Roll of Solicitors, and this follows 806 in the 12 months of 2016.