Law Society Council Account 2016 – 2018

When I ran for Council in 2016 I made two promises in the context of my election campaign, I said that I would:

  1. Commit to working for you: I said that I would work hard on your behalf for the two years of my term as effectively as I could as a Council member, making a contribution wherever I could do so productively.
  2. Be accountable to you: I said that I would send you a brief email report after each Council meeting with a request for your input on any issue that you may wish to have raised at the next. I said that I would be your voice. At the end of my term I said that I would provide you with a full account of my experience and activity during my term with any recommendations that I may have.

So, here I am at the end of my term and the time has come to provide you with that account.

First of all, how did I do on what I said I would do for you?

Well, in terms of working for you, I have attended every Council meeting for which I have been present in the country.  I have missed a few due to absences abroad on holiday or on business, but, if I’ve been here, I’ve been there. 

I live in west Cork and the round trip to Council from my home is 626km from my home, usually involving a 4am start if I need to do it the same day or, failing that, an overnight stay.  So, I submit that I have done the work I said I would do for you in just showing up.

I have also continued to work on committees since joining Council, albeit less actively than I would have liked to because of commitments to Council.  The main committee I had been involved on before joining Council was Guidance and Ethics which was my first experience of the Law Society and which I must say I enjoyed immensely.

Last year on the recommencement of the Council term in October, I was asked to join the Complaints and Client Relations Committee.  This was something that I considered with some reluctance I must say as I have always felt that there was an inherent conflict between the Society’s representative and regulatory roles and I certainly felt myself strongly of the view that we should be acting primarily in the former capacity.  However, until the implementation of the LSRA takes full effect, the Society has the function that it has and this function has to be performed in the interests of those who use legal services and have complaints about their experiences.  So, I decided to accept that role and have been a member of the CCRC since October 2017.

Again, I have attended every meeting for which I have been present in the country with similar travel commitments.  However, unfortunately, CCRC meetings tend to happen on different days and in different weeks to Council meetings so the volume of travel and time out of the office increased dramatically as a result.  There is also a very large volume of paperwork to be considered as part of the role.  The role is not one that I would have necessarily chosen to do but it seems to be work that needs to be done and, like much of what goes on at Council itself, it is part of the quiet and necessary administration of the profession that no one is likely to get very enthusiastic about but that somehow just needs to get done.  The only reflection that I can give to the doubters and knockers of the Society and its bona fides is that if this work were being done by anyone other than volunteers from the profession (some with extraordinary domain expertise and experience), your contribution to it all in the form of your practising certification would have to be unrecognisably astronomical by comparison.

Overall, I think that I have made a valid contribution in the process.  In terms of the Council chamber itself I have not really made any contribution and I think I have only spoken once.  I don’t make any apologies for this.  The Council chamber is like a magnified projection of the solicitors’ profession, where there is no shortage of ego or willingness to speak in the first place.  In general, I take the view that unless there is something that needs to be said, it is far better to keep your mouth shut and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.

So that is my account to you on my first promise and on the work that I have done for you over the last two years.

On the second one, I hope that you will find my email reports self-evident in terms of my accountability to you.  Indeed, I have no doubt that many find the emails irritating, if that is you, the only comment that I can make is (a) you are reading this! and (b) there is an unsubscribe link in every email, please use it if you do not want to continue receiving them.  I will not be offended, on the contrary, I do not wish to send email to anyone who does not want to receive them.  On the other hand, if you have found the emails useful and you know of any others who are not on the list but would like to join, please tell them to go to where they will be able to subscribe during the course of this election campaign.

I have put links to each of my Council reports that I have posted as blog posts below, so that you can go back over them, if this is of any interest.

Finally, I said that I would give you a full account of my experience and my activity over the course of my term at the end of it.

Well, this is it!

My two years on Council have not been earth-shattering or life-changing; I have not done much to change anything.  Then again, I never said that I would.  I said that I would do two things, as I have set out above.  I think that I have done what I said that I would do.  You can decide.

Over the summer I gave a lot of thought to whether I was willing to put in another two years and I decided that I was, if, and it is a very big if, you would be willing to support me.   

Therefore, I have put myself forward again for re-election this year and my name, Florence McCarthy, which will appear at number 10 on your ballot paper.  When you do vote, please place an X beside my name.  All that I am promising is more of the same.

Apart from that, the only other thing that I said that I would do at the of my term was to provide you with whatever recommendations that I might have.  My only recommendation to you is this: whatever you do, and whoever you wish to support, please just ensure that you exercise your vote in the current elections.  You have a voice but it only counts if you vote.  The deadline to have your voice heard is 1 November 2018 at 5.00pm.  Please ensure that your completed ballot is received at Blackhall Place before then and please encourage your colleagues to do likewise.

Thank you for taking the time to read this and best wishes for success in your legal career, wherever you practice.

All the best, 


P.S. Links to my Law Society Council updates over the last two years of my term are below for ease of reference:


Law Society Council Update November 2016


Law Society Council Update December 2016


Law Society Council Update January 2017


Law Society Council Update March 2017


Law Society Council Update April 2017


Law Society Council Update June 2017


Law Society Council Update September 2017


Law Society Council Update November 2017


Law Society Council Update January 2018


Law Society Council Update June 2018


Law Society Council Update October 2018