A reluctant transformation – Irish Times leader on reform of the legal profession

THE INTERNATIONAL Bar Association could scarcely have chosen a more interesting location for its annual conference than Dublin at this time. The visitors find their Irish legal hosts undergoing a very reluctant transformation. Reform is being imposed on the legal profession; … the EU and the IMF, and a determined Minister for Justice, Alan Shatter, who is intent on reforming the legal profession, have become agents of change. Reform of the lawyers, and a move away from self-regulation, has become a legal and political imperative, with a deadline set for its achievement under the terms of the bailout agreement. EU/IMF insistence on the removal of restrictions to trade and competition in sheltered sectors of the domestic economy – such as the legal profession – is one small part of the price paid to secure €67 billion in financial support.