New solicitors ‘lucky’ to be entering profession currently

Law Society president Stuart Gilhooly speaks of former ‘tough times’ at ceremony

 Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place: the society’s president, Stuart Gilhooly, told  newly qualified solicitors they should always try to get on with colleagues and always be humble.   Photograph: Eric Luke

Law Society of Ireland, Blackhall Place: the society’s president, Stuart Gilhooly, told newly qualified solicitors they should always try to get on with colleagues and always be humble. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

Newly qualified solicitors are “lucky” to be coming to the profession at present as the boom times are close, if not already back, in Ireland, Law Society president Stuart Gilhooly has said.

Speaking at a ceremony for newly qualified solicitors in Blackhall Place in Dublin on Thursday, he said: “I saw tough times in the law profession – you guys haven’t worked through the tough times yet, 2008 and 2009 were really hard in our profession and a lot of our profession really struggled to survive but we did. We made it work.

“The country is in a much better state,we’re back in Dublin. We’re in a boom or close to a boom anyway and even in the country things are picking up. You’re lucky to be coming to the profession when you are.”

It was the final parchment ceremony to be overseen by Mr Gilhooly, who completes his presidential term next month.

Imparting advice to the newly qualified solicitors, he said said they should always try to get on with colleagues and always be humble.

“If you can, always pick up the phone. It’s much harder to have a row with someone when you’re on the phone or speaking to them face to face. Email can lead to a series of nasty messages sometimes,” he said.

Artificial intelligence

“Try and just get on with each other; it’s less stressful and it makes work get done more efficiently . . . Complaints; everyone gets complaints at some stage. If you don’t get a complaint at some stage in your career, you’re not doing it right. It just happens and it’s all about how you deal with it.”

Looking ahead, Mr Gilhooly said artificial intelligence would “disrupt” the legal services market and that solicitors must always be prepared to adapt and change.

“There is no doubt artificial intelligence is going to become a big disruptor so we need to adapt. My experience in the legal profession is that we always adapt. We have adapted in the past and we will adapt again,” he said.

Chief Justice Mr Justice Frank Clarke said judges in higher courts needed better support and more assistance in order to increase efficiency

“One of the problems most judges identify in Ireland is the lack of back-up we have,” he said. “One is often embarrassed at international judges conferences to realise that countries that aren’t as wealthy as Ireland have two or three assistants per judge, when even on the Irish State boards, an assistant is shared between two.”

Mr Justice Clarke also announced plans for newly qualified solicitors to take on a 13-month contract working as judicial assistants in the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal from next September.

“The pay won’t be great but the opportunities will be great and will provide a great opportunity to see how these courts operate,” he said.