Irish Law Awards 2013 – a thoroughly enjoyable event!


Brian O’Neill presenting Noeline Blackwell of FLAC

the Pro Bono & Public Interest Team of the Year award

I really enjoyed our day at the Irish Law Awards. There was a great sense of occasion in an atmosphere that was formal and yet relaxed. And as for Miriam, well what can you say except that her comfortable charm enhanced the experience, an excellent choice for the job! I must admit to having been torn when faced with the choice to sit with our guests at the Documatics table or the celebs and other sponsors at the top table.


It’s always nice to relax with clients and friends and ‘chew the fat’ or ‘share a yarn’ rather than having to be polite and dust off the formal table manners for the top table. And although I missed the fun at the Documatics table when our outstanding client Flor McCarthy won an antique globe, and our Chairman John Brooks won an antique occasional table (lucky devils), on this occasion I was rewarded for my choice with the warm and humorous company of Sabina Horgan from Expd8 and Doug Hargrove from IRIS legal. Two really nice people to spend an afternoon with.


We are proud to be associated with the Irish Law awards. It raises the bar for the standard of professionalism to which lawyers and barristers entering the profession can aspire. It recognises excellence in the different spheres of legal practice through peer review, and it encourages and recognises selfless social and humanitarian contributions from very able and admirable practitioners at home in Ireland and abroad. There was a strong sense of admiration in the room for the charity partners, the Peter McVerry Trust, The Barristers’ Benevolent Society and the Solicitors’ Benevolent Association, but particularly for the courageous and amazing young women from Irish Rule of Law International, Eithne Lynch and Ruth Dowling who won the Bar Council’s Human Rights award. Their work in providing access to legal representation for the poorest of the poor in Africa, who have been incarcerated without trail (in some cases for many years) is truly inspirational.

We are particularly delighted to sponsor the ‘Pro Bono & Public Interest Team of the Year’ award, and send our warm congratulations to Free Legal Advice Centres (FLAC), who do such important and amazing work. The very gracious Noeline Blackwell received the award on behalf of FLAC who are funded by Atlantic Philanthropies. FLAC works tirelessly to make access to justice possible for the marginalised and under privileged in our society. As a society we owe a great debt of gratitude to all those in the legal profession who strive to make a positive impact on the lives of others through their pro bono work. I would also like to offer our congratulations to the other finalists in this category. They are:

Ballymun Community Law Centre Ltd. – Frank Murphy
Bar Council of Ireland – Voluntary Assistance Scheme of the Bar Council of Ireland

Immigrant Council of Ireland – Independent Law Centre – Hilkka Becker

KOD Lyons
• James Lucey & Sons – Deirdre O’Callaghan

Cahir O’Higgins & Co.

Sean T. O’Reilly & Co.

They are worthy and exceptional contributors in their area of legal expertise, and to be admired for their contribution to social justice. We look forward to next year’s event and another afternoon of good wine and good company.

Brian O’Neill


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