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LSDSI: 27 February 2023

‘Socio–Economic Diversity in the Legal Profession’ – Inaugural Address by Paula Cassidy, LSDSI Auditor

‘Socio–Economic Diversity in the Legal Profession’ – Inaugural Address by Paula Cassidy, LSDSI Auditor

Pictured, Paula Cassidy with the Hon Ms Justice Niamh Hyland, Cathy Smith SC and Lewis Mooney BL.

“Authenticity is key”: Cathy Smith SC responding to a well–structured and well–researched inaugural address by Paula Cassidy, the auditor of the Law Students’ Debating Society of Ireland, which took place on Thursday, February 23, in King’s Inns. 

Paula, a student from year 2 of the modular (part–time) Barrister–at–Law degree course, spoke on the topic of ‘Socio–Economic Diversity in the Legal Profession’. She put forward a series of cogent arguments in favour of increased access to the legal profession for prospective entrants from socioeconomically disadvantaged groups.

Speaking to a lecture theatre containing her fellow students, senior benchers (including Chair of King’s Inns Hugh I Mohan SC and senior members of the judiciary), friends, family and King’s Inns staff, Paula set out a series of suggestions for how diversity could be better achieved.

Ms Justice Niamh Hyland, Judge of the High Court, chaired the event. Cathy Smith SC, the first respondent, noted that “The bar is full of people who come from all walks of life and all backgrounds” and that this enhances the Bar. Lewis Mooney BL, who also responded to the address, said that “Perception matters – it is important that the profession reflects society.” 

The talk was followed by comments and observations from an engaged audience, ably managed by the Judge. 

Congratulations, Paula! And many thanks to our chair and respondents. 

About the LSDSI 

The Law Students’ Debating Society of Ireland (LSDSI) is a student–run body originally formed as a debating society in 1830. Over the years, it has evolved and now represents all facets of student life at King’s Inns. 

The LSDSI benefits from considerable support and direction from King’s Inns.

Further details on the LSDSI can be found HERE >