The first cohort of trainee solicitors will graduate from the University of Ulster’s Graduate School of Professional Legal Education at the Magee campus today.
Among the group of 30 at the Millennium Forum ceremony will be Maria O’Donovan who was named top law student after winning the Arthur Cox prize this year.
She said: “It is wonderful to have won the award for best overall student. I thoroughly enjoyed my year at the Graduate School and I am proud to be among the first class of trainee solicitors.
“The Director Paul Mageean and lecturers provided us with an excellent standard of professional training. I found the experience both challenging and rewarding. I am now enjoying the final period of my apprenticeship at Caldwell & Robinson and am delighted to have been offered employment as a solicitor with the firm from September.”
Arthur Cox, one of Ireland’s largest law firms, announced last year the sponsorship of a £1,000 prize for the leading student at Ulster’s solicitor training school at Magee.
Paul Mageean, Director of the Graduate School of Professional Legal Education, said: “We are delighted that our first cohort of trainees have successfully completed the course and I would like to congratulate all of them and particularly Maria for her achievement of being the first winner of the Arthur Cox prize. This is an important day in the history of Magee and professional legal education in Northern Ireland.”
The School was officially opened last year by the then Lord Chief Justice for Northern Ireland, Sir Brian Kerr.
Its launch marked a major development in professional legal education as it is the sole such provider in the North-West and only the second in Northern Ireland.
The School provides full-time training to those wishing to qualify as solicitors. Trainees must be law graduates and have apprenticeship places in solicitors’ practices.
The course has received strong support from the judiciary, law firms and agencies such as the PSNI and the Court Service, which have hosted study visits.