Solicitors and senior counsel
Sir,– Recognising the knowledge and achievements of solicitors by granting them the title of senior counsel is a welcome and appropriate development in our nation’s legal history. However, the suggestion in your article (“Solicitors can now become senior counsel after 300-year-old law is overturned”, News, July 2nd) that applicant solicitors must “have excellent advocacy skills and a knowledge of specialist litigation” is misleading. The legal basis and published guidelines regulating the admission of solicitors to the title of senior counsel require only that one of three criteria are met by applicant solicitors, namely: excellence in advocacy, excellence in specialist litigation, or specialist knowledge in an area of law.
Solicitors with vast experience in niche areas of legal practice have been commonplace in Ireland for decades and, resulting from the final criterion at least, a multitude of those solicitors are qualified to apply for patents of precedence and to be admitted as senior counsel.
My view is that suitably qualified solicitors should be quick to apply and that our legal services landscape will be greatly enriched by the diversity and inclusivity that will result from this long overdue and hardly ground-breaking development (the UK has admitted solicitors to the equivalent rank of queen’s counsel since 2004). – Yours, etc,