NUI Galway Secures ‘Law School of the Year’ Award

From left, Stella Carty, Director of Strategic Development and Planning; Dr Charles O’Mahony, Head of School of Law; Rebecca McKittrick, Masters graduate from NUI Galway’s School of Law; and Dr Conor Hanly, Law Lecturer, from NUI Galway’s School of Law. Photo: Paul Sherwood.
Jun 18 2019 Posted: 11:30 IST

The School of Law NUI Galway has been named ‘Law School of the Year 2019' at the Irish Law Awards, securing the prestigious accolade for the first time.

Outperforming the other Law Schools, NUI Galway's School of Law has a strong reputation for research and has made significant changes to its undergraduate law programmes over the past year. The School has also introduced a number of new law degrees, to include:

  • Law & Business, new 2019
  • Law & Human Rights, new 2019
  • Law & Taxation, new 2020
  • Law Criminology & Criminal Justice, new 2020

In a year of firsts, the School of Law were part of legal history in March of this year when the highest court in Ireland, the Supreme Court, would sit in the Aula Maxima, NUI Galway. This was be the first time that the Supreme Court would sit outside of a courthouse since it returned to the Four Courts in 1932, the first time it would sit in Galway and only the third time the court would ever sit outside of Dublin

Rebecca McKittrick, a Masters graduate from NUI Galway’s School of Law was selected as a finalist in the ‘Law Student of the Year’ category. 

Additionally, the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness a great friend of the School of Law and Chair of the University’s Governing Authority received the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ at the ceremony. 

Dr Charles O’Mahony Head of the School of Law said: “This is wonderful recognition of the School of Law, Irish Centre for Human Rights and Centre for Disability Law and Policy. We have strengths across research and learning, teaching and assessment.  This is also tremendous recognition of our collective contribution to our city, region and broader society through our scholarship and work on law and public policy engagement.  We were delighted to see our student Rebecca McKittrick selected as a finalist in the ‘Law Student of the Year’ category. The ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ conferred on the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness is fitting recognition of her extraordinary career and enduring commitment to the law, justice and public service.” 

Professional Work Placement / Study Aboard

All students studying law at NUI Galway have the opportunity for students to gain real world experience through work placement or study abroad in the third year of their degree.  The School of Law has partnered with local, regional, national and internationally recognised law firms and businesses who offer high quality professional work experience for our law students.

Students can also choose to avail of the opportunity to study abroad with partner institutions, transforming their university degree into a truly global experience.  The School of Law has partnered with leading universities in Australia, Canada, China, Europe and the United States. 

Innovation in Teaching, Learning & Assessment

The School of Law works closely with students to support transition from secondary school to university, and to build the skills necessary for their law degree and career.  NUI Galway places the development of these skills at the heart of our law degrees.  In first year, students spend their first four weeks creating a solid skills foundation by concentrating on research, case analysis, statutory interpretation, legal citation and legal writing.  Once foundational skills are in place, students are then introduced to substantive subjects. 

School of Law Research & Events

The School of Law is committed to engaging with the legal professions through events that inform public policy and practice.  The School delivers a wide range of conferences, summer schools, lunchtime talks and seminars every year.  These events are open to the public, complement student learning and provide Continuing Professional Development (CPD) points to local legal community. 

The School of Law has an excellent research reputation. Staff publish with leading publishers and University presses (Harvard, Cambridge, Oxford, Hart & Routledge), and in the leading international law journals. A strong focus on public policy engagement has always been a key strength of School and Centres and in its research and teaching.  The School of Law also has an excellent track record of securing competitive research funding.

Congratulating the School of Law on their award, President of NUI Galway, Professor Ciarán Ó hÓgartaigh, said: “On behalf of colleagues at NUI Galway, I extend warmest congratulations to Charles and his team in the School of Law on securing the title of Law School of the Year at the Irish Law Awards. This recognises and respects the immense work and dedication which the School has demonstrated over recent years in providing excellent opportunities for students and for developing a range of innovations to our distinctive course offerings.  I am also delighted to see the Hon Mrs Justice Catherine McGuinness receive the Lifetime Achievement Award. Justice McGuinness has been an adjunct professor at the School of Law since 2005.  She is one of Ireland’s leading jurists and has been a progressive and reforming force in Irish legal history over her lifetime.   As Chair of NUI Galway’s Governing Authority since 2013 she has made an enormous contribution to the governance of our University. On behalf of NUI Galway I extend our warmest congratulations as her achievements are so justly recognised by the Irish Law Awards in this way.” 

Awards for Galway Law Firms

A number of Galway based law firms were also honoured at the Irish Law Awards. Alastair Purdy & Co. Solicitors received the Connacht/Ulster & Munster Employment Law Firm of the Year award.  MacSweeney & Company received the Connacht/Ulster Law Firm of the Year, Connacht/Ulster Litigation Law Firm of the Year and the Connacht/Ulster & Munster Family Law Firm of the Year awards. Blake & Kenny Solicitors received the Connacht/Ulster Property Law Firm/Team/Lawyer of the Year award.


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