Friday 18 October 2019

Law Society investigation into ‘highly offensive’ messages about female students

(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 underway into the group called ‘T*ts and Filth’ that was circulated among trainee solicitors in the Law Society of Ireland.

A warning, which was issued to all trainee students, by TP Kennedy, Director of Education at the Law Society in Blackhall Place said the text messaging group which has been “posting inappropriate content relating to female students” has given rise to “profound ethical concerns.”

He warned: “several students have provided the Law Society with details and we are investigating them.”

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.”

Independent.ie has seen a copy of the email which read- in full- as follows: “It has been brought to the attention of the Law School staff that a group of students have been posting inappropriate content relating to female students in messaging groups. The content of these posts is highly offensive and also gives rise to profound ethical concerns. Several students have provided us with details of these groups and we are investigating them. These messages have caused deep distress to many students. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated and has no place on a professional training course.

“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  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.”

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