The headquarters of Law Society of Ireland, the professional body for solicitors in the State, is in Blackhall Place, located in the heart of Dublin. As well as containing offices and accommodation, it is a venue for conferences, meetings, weddings and gala dinner events.
The Law Society of Ireland is the educational, representative and regulatory body of the solicitors' profession in the Republic of Ireland. As of 2011, the Law Society had over twelve thousand members, all solicitors, a staff of 207 and an annual turnover of €30m.
Law Society of Ireland was established on 24 June 1830 with premises at Inns Quay, Dublin. In November 1830, the committee of the Society submitted a memorial to the benchers as to the ‘necessity and propriety’ of erecting chambers for the use of solicitors with the funds that solicitors had been levied to pay to King’s Inns over the years.
The committee requested that the hall and chambers for the use of solicitors should be erected away from the King’s Inns, and apartments in the Four Courts were allotted by the King’s Inns to solicitors in May 1841. However, the adequacy of that accommodation at the Four Courts was to be a bone of contention between the Society and the benchers for 30 years.
The first president, Josiah Dunn, was elected in 1842. In accordance with the Supreme Court of Judicature Act (Ireland) 1877, anyone admitted as solicitors or attorneys were, from then on, to be referred to as solicitors of the Court of Judicature (although the title of attorney lives on in the designation of the chief law officer of the State as the Attorney General).
By the middle of the 1960s, the solicitors’ buildings at the Four Courts were proving inadequate for the expanding activities of the Society and outside premises were used for lectures for students. A special committee recommended the purchase of the King’s Hospital, Blackhall Place, described by renowned architectural historian, Maurice Craig, as "one of the most beautiful and, in its way, original" of Dublin’s major buildings. Council member of the Law Society, Peter Prentice, proposed a motion at a special meeting of the Council on 3 July 1968 (seconded by John Jermyn) that the Society purchase the King’s Hospital for the sum of IR£105,000. The motion was carried unanimously and a contract was subsequently executed. An Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, performed the official opening ceremony of the new headquarters on Wednesday 14 June 1978.