Twelve solicitors granted ‘patents of precedence’ lifting them to senior counsel status

Ex-Law Society president Stuart Gilhooly and child protection expert Geoffrey Shannon recognised

The former president of the Law Society, Stuart Gilhooly, and the former special rapporteur on child protection, Geoffrey Shannon, are among the latest solicitors to be granted "patents of precedence" by the Government.

The decision means that the 12 solicitors can now use the term “senior counsel”, a title that up to recently had only been available to barristers who had been called to the “inner bar”.

Other solicitors who can now use the title are Raymond Bradley, the managing partner of Malcomson Law, and Geraldine Clarke, a partner in Gleeson McGrath Baldwin solicitors, who was also president of the Law Society.

Mr Bradley played a prominent role in the Lindsay Tribunal inquiry into contaminated blood products.


Mr Gilhooly has played a leading role in the ongoing debate about the reasons for high motor and public liability insurance premiums, while Dr Shannon is recognised as an expert in child and family law.

Also on the list of those granted patents of precedence is Nicola Dunleavy, a partner with Matheson who is an associate of both the Irish Taxation Institute and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.

The other solicitors who can now use the senior counsel title are; Alison Fanagan, Larry Fenelon, Damien Keogh, Conor Linehan, Rachel Minch, Helen Sheehy, and Keith Walsh.

The Government also announced the latest barristers to be called to the inner bar. They are: William Abrahamson, Ray Boland, Conor Bourke, John Byrne, Dermot Cahill, Oisin Collins, Ruth Fitzgerald, Robert Fitzpatrick, Tom Flynn, Ted Harding, Ronan Lupton, Elizabeth Maguire, James McGowan, Barra McGrory, Brian McInerney, Yvonne McNamara, Seamus McNeill, Suzanne Murray, Tom O'Malley, Aillil O'Reilly, Philipp Rahn, Cathy Smith, Fintan Valentine, Andrew Walker, and Carsten Zatschler.

A committee chaired by the Chief Justice, Frank Clarke, makes recommendations to the Government on who should receive "patents of precedence".

Colm Keena

Colm Keena

Colm Keena is an Irish Times journalist. He was previously legal-affairs correspondent and public-affairs correspondent