Birmingham Law Society President is special guest at Dublin Solicitors Dinner
Eileen Schofield, president of Birmingham Law Society, has been forging links with fellow lawyers in Ireland.
Eileen, who became BLS president in May, was a special guest at the Dublin Solicitors Bar Association’s annual dinner.
The keynote speaker at the event, which also doubled-up as an awards ceremony for legal books, was Frances Fitzgerald, the recently-appointed Irish Minister for Justice and Equality.
The annual dinner was also attended by presidents of Ireland’s regional law societies and many prominent figures in the Irish legal world from Dublin and beyond.
The DSBA is the largest bar association in Ireland.
“I feel very privileged that they welcomed me as president of Birmingham Law Society, particularly as with 4,000 members we are roughly equivalent to the number of solicitors in Ireland,” said Eileen.
“There is a genuine commitment for the Irish law society and BLS to explore opportunities for working together.
“They were delighted I was representing such a large organisation in the UK but also recognised that I had some greater and deeper affiliation to them through my roots.”
Born in Birmingham, Eileen is proud of her Irish roots, her parents emigrating from Roscommon in the 1950s and making the city their home.
One of eight children, Eileen grew up in Small Heath and as a youngster played Irish music in a family band with her brothers and sisters.
The Michaelites, as they were known, performed regularly at Irish social clubs in and around the city.
Eileen was also a keen Irish dancer and danced for the Comerford School of Irish Dancing.
“Our band played gigs at lots of the clubs, including the Irish Centre, the Emerald, St Bernadette’s and Our Lady of Lourdes,” said Eileen. “A lot of the money we raised went to charity and used to fund trips for people to go to Lourdes.
“As youngsters we would spend every summer in Ireland, catching the coach from the Irish Centre as soon as school had finished.
“I don’t know how he did it but every time we went my dad somehow negotiated for us to be dropped outside the door of wherever we were going to in Roscommon.”
As well as her BLS presidential role and running her own law firm in Knowle – Schofield and Associates – Eileen is also a leading member of the West Midlands Irish Business Group.
She helped found the group for Irish business people eight years ago and sits on the committee that runs it. Fellow committee members include Mick Rice (Birmingham Joinery), Tony McDaid (No5 Chambers), Ray O’Sullivan (John Sisk & Son) and Steve O’Donnell (Allied Irish Bank).
It currently has around 150 members and holds four events a year, including a popular St Patrick’s Day Ball in March.