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10 March 2010

New Book Celebrates Legal History

Senior members of the judiciary and the legal profession were among guests at the launch this week of a new history of the Law Society of Northern Ireland.

In photo - Mr Norville Connolly President of the Law Society (left), Mr Alan Hewitt , Author Middle) and Alan Hunter, Chief Executive of Law Society(Right)

The book, which was launched at Law Society House, presents an authoritative account of the history of the Society from its birth in 1922 in the turbulent circumstances of the partition of Ireland, through the inter-war years, the Second World War, the ‘Troubles’ and the momentous changes and initiatives of the last thirty years. There is also a prologue dealing with the development of the profession from the earliest times and a chapter about the Northern Law Club, founded in 1861.

It chronicles the events which have defined and shaped the Society as well as providing an insight into the very significant contribution which the Society and its members have made to legal, social and economic life, both in Northern Ireland and further afield.

In championing legal education, legal aid, access to justice and legal publications, as well as acting as regulator of the profession, the Society has always acted in the interests of the public and the profession alike.  

Written by Alan Hewitt, former Senior Partner in L’Estrange and Brett, Solicitors, and a past President of the Law Society, it has taken over two years to complete. During that period, Alan undertook extensive research, which involved reviewing some 150 years of archive materials. 

The book also includes cameos of some the great characters and sporting heroes of the profession, including the legendary Blair Mayne, a founder member of the SAS and later Secretary of the Law Society as well as British and Irish Lions rugby players, and famous figures from Gaelic sport, hockey and golf who have been members of the profession.

Speaking at the launch of the book, Alan Hewitt, said

“I hope that this book will serve as a record and reminder of the immense contribution which the Law Society and the solicitors’ profession have made to Northern Ireland society”.

Mr Norville Connolly, President of the Law Society commented:

“Alan’s hard work and experience is very evident in this book, which has the just the right balance of history, humour and insight.

 It is an important historical record, not only for members of the Law Society of Northern Ireland but for anyone who has an interest in the legal profession and history in general”.

All profits from the book will be donated to the Solicitors Benevolent Association. The book is available by contacting the Law Society library on 028 90231614.