Matheson names Niamh Counihan its dedicated pro bono partner Ireland's largest law firm becomes the first firm to have a dedicated pro bono partner who will devote 50 per cent of the time to lead the firm's strategy and programme Ireland's largest law firm Matheson has announced a noble initiative by naming a Niahmh Counihan as its pro bono partner, which is being seen as the first...
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Matheson names Niamh Counihan its dedicated pro bono partner
Ireland's largest law firm becomes the first firm to have a dedicated pro bono partner who will devote 50 per cent of the time to lead the firm's strategy and programme
Ireland's largest law firm Matheson has announced a noble initiative by naming a Niahmh Counihan as its pro bono partner, which is being seen as the first such move in the legal market.
Counihan, the firm's incumbent director of legal and regulatory affairs, will henceforth split her time equally between leading the firm's pro bono legal activities and her primary responsibility.
Matheson may not be the first firm to moot the idea since rival firm A&L Godbody had made the first such move in 2018 with Eithne Lynch as Ireland's first full-time pro bono associate. Arthur Cox followed the suit in 2019 by naming Carolann Minnock in a similar role.
Matheson, however, has upgraded the position by naming a partner to head its pro bono activities. Matheson had recently constituted a dedicated pro bono committee and became a founding signatory to Pro Bono Pledge Ireland.
Pro Bono Pledge Ireland is an initiative for legal professionals to commit to promoting access to justice by providing free legal assistance to the needy. A&L Goodbody, Arthur Cox, and McCann Fitzgerald, along with international firms such as DLA Piper, Pinsent Masons, and Eversheds Sutherland are among others signatories.
Counihan has been associated with Matheson for over two decades. She became a partner in 2011 and has been holding the post as the firm's director of legal and regulatory affairs within its risk management team since 2016.
"Appointing a pro bono partner recognises that serving our community is a strategic priority for Matheson," Counihan said about her added responsibility.
"It also reflects our belief that our lawyers have a responsibility to use their professional expertise to provide access to justice to those who cannot afford it. We will prioritise those projects which will deliver the most positive impact on our communities, and I look forward to seeing the meaningful benefits they will deliver to those who need them most," she added.
To ensure that pro bono offering is not mere lip service, Matheson has further announced that it would invest resources that are at par with all its commercial work, with equal priority, quality of service and standard of professional conduct.
"We believe that universal access to justice and to legal services is essential to the rule of law and that our lawyers have a responsibility to use their legal skills and knowledge to support the legal needs of those who are otherwise unable to access legal services," Michael Jackson, Matheson's managing partner, said.