Wednesday 16 October 2019

Law students investigated over 'highly offensive' texts about their female colleagues

(stock photo)
(stock photo)

Niamh Horan and Chloe Brennan

Law students are being investigated for a "highly offensive" text messaging group about female trainee solicitors.

An internal investigation is now under way into the group called 'T*ts and Filth' that was circulated among trainee solicitors in the Law Society of Ireland.

Some private messaging apps are being blocked from the society's wifi network as a result of the controversy.

A warning, which was issued to all the trainee students by TP Kennedy, director of education at the Law Society, in Blackhall Place, said the text messaging group has given rise to "profound ethical concerns".

"Several students have provided the Law Society with details and we are investigating them," he warned.

Mr Kennedy said the "messages have caused deep distress to many students" and said "this kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and has no place on a professional training course".

He went on to warn the students that posting such content was in breach of Law Society guidelines, and that "inappropriate content may have the affect of bringing the profession into disrepute".

He also warned the trainees concerned may have behaved in a manner that makes them "unfit to be admitted as a solicitor".

The email also warns: "Trainees are subject to the same rules and regulations as practicing solicitors regarding ethical behaviour. Regulation 24 of the solicitors Acts 1954 to 1994 (Apprenticeship and Education). Regulation 2001 is the procedure by which misconduct is dealt with and is attached.

"Posting inappropriate content may have the effect of bringing the profession into disrepute and consequently may raise concerns as whether any trainee involved in generating or circulating such content might be a 'fit and proper person to be admitted as a solicitor'."

It went on: "Certain messaging apps will be blocked on our wifi network from tomorrow.

"Arising from this serious incident, appropriate additional training will be provided on your course."

When contacted for comment, the Law Society of Ireland said: "The Law Society is appalled to learn that inappropriate comments may have been posted on a private messaging group by a small group of students.

"The Law Society has taken immediate action to thoroughly investigate the circumstances and seek to establish all the facts.

"The Law Society takes these allegations extremely seriously and, if they are proven to be true, disciplinary action will be taken.

"We have taken immediate action by reminding students of their responsibilities and ethical obligations.

"The Law School's counselling service is providing additional supports and services to students in light of this incident.

"In addition, we have suspended access to private messaging groups in the Law School."

Irish Independent

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