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DWFs Belfast managing partner celebrates 100 years of women in law at Irish Embassy reception

31 May 2023
In a key note speech delivered at the Irish Embassy in London last week, DWF's managing partner in Belfast, Julie Galbraith, honoured the hundredth anniversary of the first admission of women solicitors in Ireland. 

Julie, who leads the 120-strong Belfast office at DWF, paid homage to 'trailblazers' Mary Dorothea Heron from Downpatrick and Helena Mary Early from Dublin who were the first admissions of women to the roll of solicitors in Ireland in 1923.

Julie said: "They were part of a diverse group of pioneering women who quietly and with great determination established a place for women in the solicitors’ profession."

Helena Mary Early was elected first lady auditor of the Solicitors’ Apprentices’ Debating Society of Ireland in 1921. Highlighting Ireland's growth, Julie referenced Helena's inaugural address on 'The influence of the Irish Abroad'. She said: "100 years after the debate on the influence of the Irish abroad, Ireland continues to influence.

Poised as one of Europe’s fastest-growing economies, Ireland has emerged as an ICT powerhouse, a welcoming location for international financial services; and a key European destination for some of the world’s largest pharma and drug companies."

Julie was speaking at the Embassy as part of a Trade NI event to celebrate 25 years of prosperity in Northern Ireland since the Good Friday Agreement, which was preceded earlier in the day with a House of Commons reception to highlight the opportunities for further growth. 

The Westminster event was hosted by North Down MP Dr Stephen Farry and attended by more than 300 business leaders, embassy officials, government ministers and MPs. 

DWF was a key sponsor of the events.

During the Embassy reception, Julie reflected on Northern Ireland's evolution since the Good Friday Agreement and the changes within the legal sector during that time. She said: "Northern Ireland has made significant progress towards greater prosperity, and a safer and more inclusive society.

"I have also seen transformation within the legal sector in Ireland, North and South; it is vibrant, internationally focused and has grown significantly. Fast forward 25 years from starting my career journey as a trainee solicitor I now find myself as managing partner of DWF in Belfast but now part of a global legal business and leading a team of 120 in Belfast. 

"Twenty-five years ago I don't believe that there were any global law firms in Belfast but the world has discovered our educated, skilled and talented workforce and Belfast is now an obvious place for professional services to invest."

DWF is a trusted legal advisor to many of Northern Ireland's best known businesses. The business has doubled revenue in Belfast in the past five years and intends to double its 120-strong team in the next three years.

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