Irish American Law Society Of Cleveland Travels to Ireland for Business and Law Symposium

The Irish American Law Society of Cleveland Travels to Ireland for Business and Law Symposium
By Patrick T. Murphy

Members of the Irish American Law Society of Cleveland attended the group’s biennial Irish American Business and Law Symposium in Dublin and Cork, Ireland. The society, comprised of approximately 150 local judges, lawyers and law students, provides a forum for educational, cultural, and social activities concerning Irish heritage and tradition.   

The group was founded under the leadership of attorney Thomas J. Scanlon in 2013. Mr. Scanlon was its first president and the impetus behind the collaborative symposium. Scanlon, a pillar of both Cleveland’s legal and Irish communities, passed away on October 30th, just before this column was written. The current law society president, Ann Hawkins, recently announced that in honor of Tom the society has changed its name to the “Thomas J. Scanlon, Irish American Law Society of Cleveland.”

The law society held similar symposiums in Cleveland in 2014 and 2018 and in Ireland in 2016.  The 2020 symposium, which was planned to take place in Ireland, was canceled because of the pandemic. 

This year, the society resumed its plans and completed nine hours of continuing legal education, along with multiple social networking events over four days in the two cities. The event was a great success, filled with fun, learning and valuable connections with legal practitioners and judiciary from both sides of the pond.

In Dublin, more than sixty people gathered at The Honourable Society of King’s Inns, Ireland’s oldest school of law, which was founded in 1541.  It is the Irish ‘Inn of Court’ for training and admitting legal professionals who wish to be awarded the degree of Barrister. 

There, a distinguished panel presented a discussion on the Independence of the Judiciary. The panel consisted of Ohio Supreme Court Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor; Ireland Supreme Court Chief Justice Donal O’Donnell; Ireland High Court Judge Tony O’Connor; and United States Supreme Court Historical Society President James Duff.  The topic was moderated by Ohio Supreme Court Justice, Melody Stewart.

Justice O’Connor, Justice Stewart, Justice Donnelly

The group toured the Four Courts of Ireland, where a history of the Irish Courts was discussed, including the centennial of the Irish Civil War and the English supported bombing of the Four Courts buildings. The Dublin portion of the event was rounded out with a discussion of Ireland as a Global Centre for Legal Services at Blackhall Place, the law school and historical home for Solicitors in Ireland.

The society members then traveled to Cork, where they were graciously welcomed at Cork City Hall by the Honorable Lord Mayor of Cork, Dierdre Forde.  Society Committee members were invited to sign the ceremonial visitor’s book to the city and the Lord Mayor was presented with proclamations from the City of Cleveland. 

Patrick Murphy, Deirdre Forde, Justice O’Connor

In Cork, the group was hosted by the University College Cork School of Law. UCC Law School Dean Mark Poustie and his team helped the society symposium committee to put together a first-class educational program, which compared ad contrasted legal issues in Ireland and Ohio.  Topics included Civil Litigation, Cannabis Law, Digital Privacy and Environmental Law.  The presenters included society members, law professors, solicitors and judiciary from Ireland, the director of the Sierra Club, as well as industry leaders from the environmental, technology and insurance fields.


The program left plenty of open time for members to tour historical sites in both towns and enjoy Irish culture and food as well as some real Irish hospitality. Members had the opportunity to golf, and to participate in a tour of the harbor town of Cobh and the Midleton Distillery.

Members of the law society celebrated with their Irish counterparts at a closing dinner at the historical Imperial Hotel in Cork City Centre. All said, the participants came away with a greater comparative knowledge and appreciation of the legal systems in Ireland and Ohio. Many friendships and professional acquaintances were made on the trip.

If you are interested in becoming a member of the Irish American Law Society of Cleveland or wish to attend any future forums, please visit

*Patrick T. Murphy is a partner with Dworken & Bernstein Co., L.P.A.  He is a current Vice-President of the Thomas J. Scanlon Irish American Law Society of Cleveland and was the Chair for the 2022 Ireland Symposium

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