Transition Year students from Galway and across Ireland are taking part in the Bar of Ireland’s annual ‘Look into Law’ Programme which kicked off last week.
The programme, now in its sixth year, has a schedule of recorded webcasts and content aimed at giving TY students a first-hand look at the life of a barrister and how the justice system works.
It usually has a maximum of 100 participants, with a minimum of 20% of places reserved for students from DEIS schools – but this year because of Covid, it will be run entirely online over five weeks.
Some 10,000 students are participating from 320 schools across the state this year, and more than 50 of the schools participating are DEIS schools.
Galway schools are well-represented on the programme too, with almost 20 schools and 618 students taking part from across the city and county.
Each week a new pre-recorded module will be shared with teachers and students, which will begin with an introductory ‘Faces of the Bar’ where a selection of barristers will share their career highlights and experience with students.
Chair of the Council of The Bar of Ireland, Ms Maura McNally SC who opened the programme last week, said that the core aim of the Look into Law programme is for students to understand the mechanics of law, but also to experience the human face and realities of those working in the field.
“The Programme is always oversubscribed so while we are sorry to not be in a position to welcome the students to Dublin like we usually do, the silver lining of the situation is that we are able to reach more students with our online version,” said Maura McNally.
“We are looking forward to virtually welcoming our students from Galway, who are always superb participants of the Programme.
“The five modules provide students with a real sense of the Irish legal landscape and hopefully inspire some students to pursue a career at the Bar.”
Ms Katherine McVeigh BL. and Ms Emily Gibson BL. have helped to design the Programme for the 10,000 students and their teachers.
Ms Katherine McVeigh BL. said that students will have the opportunity to hear from some of the most distinguished and accomplished legal professionals in Ireland, including the Chief Justice and Court Presidents.
“The law forms an intrinsic part of our everyday lives and the aim of our Programme is to give students from all backgrounds the opportunity to learn about the various aspects of law, ranging from how to forge a legal career and what happens at trial, right through to the different types of law and the importance of each,” said Katherine McVeigh.
Teachers and students will receive at least two hours of module material each Monday morning comprising recoded webcasts, external links, quizzes and exercise and research material.
The Programme is hosted on a secure platform by The Bar of Ireland and there are options for students to work on creative and research projects during the Programme.
Robert O’Reilly, a Transition Year Student from Coláiste Éinde in Salthill said that he was really looking forward to the 5-week TY Programme with The Bar of Ireland.
“My sister completed the Programme a couple of years ago and is now in her final year studying Law in NUIG,” he said.
“Law has always been an area of interest for me too, so I am excited to get a glimpse into the life of a barrister and learn about Ireland’s legal system through the Programme with TY students across the country”.
Ahead of launching the TY Programme last week, The Bar of Ireland surveyed thousands of participating students on their views and opinions on varying areas such as education, freedom of movement and how Covid has impacted on them.
The findings from the survey will be revealed during The Bar of Ireland’s Justice Week 2021 which runs from March 1 to 5, with a focus on the impact that COVID-19 has had on citizens’ rights and the administration of justice.