Law Society Skillnet held a one-day symposium on 24th March in Dublin. Conscious of the need to raise the profile of the Skillnets value proposition among their member companies, while also revitalising the learning experiences of their members, the network reimagined what a Law Society Skillnet event could look like.  By focusing on training that had a greater impact and relevance to their members, they decided on the significant legal and moral topic of miscarriages of justice.

In designing the event, the network identified five lawyers from around the world who addressed delegates on some of the most important and high-profile cases globally that stayed true to their theme. Stuart Gilhooly, President of the Law Society of Ireland, chaired the symposium and moderated the stellar line-up of speakers at an event that was both enriching and entertaining from a legal and practical perspective.

Judy Khan, award-winning QC at the legal aid lawyers of the year awards 2016, presented on the Hillsborough tragedy and other miscarriages of justice cases. Attendees were very moved and inspired by Ghandi Mallak, now an Irish citizen and former Syrian refugee, speaking about the challenges faced on his journey through the Irish and EU legal systems to become an Irish citizen.

The symposium also explored new and future international challenges within the world of technology and data across national borders. Matti Neustadt Storie from Microsoft outlined how the technology sector is responding to these issues, particularly when the current laws fail, with an excellent presentation on the future of the legal landscape for the protection of electronic data for EU citizens and business. Other speakers included Judge Susan P. Graber who is a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals; she spoke from a judicial perspective on the miscarriages of justice experienced by first and second generation Japanese-Americans after internment. The event was rounded off by the wonderful Steven T. Wax who is an award-winning US attorney and author who gave his insider’s account of miscarriages of justice as a public defender for more than 30 years.

Many of the 190 delegates present mentioned the high calibre of speakers and felt it was one of the best CPD events they had attended. The obvious commitment of each speaker to justice as a concept resonated with many of the delegates and reminded them of the reasons they decided to become a lawyer. The international perspective that the symposium and other Law Society Skillnet events provide their members with helps them broaden their knowledge on a wide range of subjects as diverse as cybersecurity and data protection to property and family law.  The quality of these events helps them compete internationally and increases their competitiveness as partners to all sectors of the economy.