Shatter assures legal firms on laws

 

LEGISLATION BEING introduced to regulate the legal profession will ensure law firms can continue to compete internationally, the Minister for Justice has said.

Speaking at the inaugural Irish Law Awards, sponsored by National Irish Bank, Alan Shatter said the legislation was not meant in any way to undermine the legal profession.

“It is to provide new business opportunities and to ensure that our excellent law firms and those firms currently doing business, not just domestically but internationally, can continue to properly compete in an international environment, in a world that’s rapidly changing,” he said.

He told 370 guests at the awards in the Shelbourne Hotel, Dublin, that the Legal Services Regulation Bill, which is before the Oireachtas, would ensure independent oversight of the profession and allow the Bar Council and the Law Society, “to truly and properly represent the professions and that there isn’t a confusion between representation issues and regulatory issues”.

He also said he had met law firms in New South Wales where multidisciplinary practices and limited liability practices had been introduced and “the world hasn’t caved in or collapsed”.

He congratulated the recipients of the awards, which were announced by broadcaster Miriam O’Callaghan. Some 27 categories were recognised.

Veteran solicitor Moya Quinlan was among the winners, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award for her outstanding contribution to the legal sector. The 92-year-old began practising at her father’s firm, Joseph H Dixon, in 1946. In 1980 she became the first woman president of the Law Society and continues to attend regular council meetings.

Law Firm of the Year was William Fry solicitors and Sonia McEntee, of Sonia McEntee Solicitors in Dublin, was awarded Sole Practitioner Law Firm of the Year.

Senior Counsel of the Year was Ross McGuire SC and the award for Junior Counsel of the Year went to Michael Lynn BL.

The Irish Law Awards were introduced to “recognise and celebrate excellence in the legal profession” in Ireland. The 11-member judging panel chose from individuals nominated online by themselves or others.

Judges included chairman Dr Eamon G Hall, Maurice Gaffney SC, solicitor Kevin O’Higgins and legal academic Dr Elaine Fahy.

For further details of the winners see irishlawawards.ie