Grace Reddan, a native of Borrisokane, Co. Tipperary, and recent graduate of Law and Taxation at Limerick Institute of Technology successfully completed a placement on the Chief Justice's Summer Placement Programme for Law students. This programme consisted of lectures, Q&As and workshops featuring members of the judiciary and leading members of the legal profession. According to Ann-Marie Dooley, solicitor and lecturer in Law, the programme “provides a unique and invaluable opportunity to experience the inner workings of the courts at the highest level. We are very grateful to the Chief Justice for affording the opportunity to LIT Law and Tax students for such an immersive, open and facilitating approach to the day to day workings of the senior judiciary.”
A key feature of the programme was that participants received an assignment with a member of the judiciary. Grace was delighted to be assigned to a judge in the Criminal Courts of Justice as she noted that “it was an honour to meet with a judge one on one and to get the opportunity to sit in on hearings.”
Due to Covid-19 the programme ran remotely with the majority of the activities taking place through Zoom meetings. However, Grace was invited to attend the Criminal Court of Justice as measures were in place to allow for attendees. She had the opportunity to sit in on all cases taking place in the Criminal Court of Justice throughout the two weeks, varying from bail hearings to sentencing. Grace felt it was a great opportunity to see the inner workings of law and engage with such high profile legal professionals.
“Before taking part in the programme I had chosen to do a Masters in Law but I didn’t have any plan on what to do next. Following on from the programme I have now decided I do want to work within the courts and I finally have a career plan in place. There is a buzz around the courts, albeit on a scaled back basis due to Covid-19, and I am keen to get back to sitting in on court cases as soon as possible. The whole experience was extremely worthwhile. It cemented my desire to follow a career in law and it was great to see law from the practice side. Everyone I meet was very open and welcoming and willing to chat to me. I am very grateful to LIT and the Court Services for providing the opportunity. I would really recommend this programme to all law students as it is invaluable. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and hope to be back in a professional capacity.”
The Criminal courts were an ideal placement opportunity for Grace because, according to her criminal law lecturer, Dr. PJ Ryan, “she expressed a zeal and enthusiasm for the complex multifaceted aspects of criminal law combined with a desire to understand through reading and application, which is the hallmark of a good law student. She was unwilling to merely accept but rather applied her considerable analytical skills to develop her own reasoning – an approach that will serve her well in her future legal career.”
Grace is now pursuing a masters in law whilst also prepping for the professional entrance exams with a view to practising law in the future.