Esteemed Law Alumni Gathered at Queen's University Belfast for Remarkable Reunion
Reunion 60 years after graduation
On Tuesday, 6th June 2023, Queen's University Belfast School of Law hosted an extraordinary reunion. Thirteen members of the graduating class of 1963, all venerable octogenarians, assembled in the new Law School at Queen's to commemorate their shared educational journey.
The reunion served as a testament to the enduring impact of a Queen's education, as many of these former students had gone on to illustrious careers in law and beyond. The group included notable alumni such as Professor Dan Prentice, a Law Professor at Oxford, and John Trew, an erstwhile editor of the Belfast News Letter.
The event honoured the memory of Professor Francis Newark, a notable figure in their academic journey. Professor Newark, who was the Secretary of the Academic Council at Queen’s and their instructor for Roman Law in their first year, is commemorated in the name of the Newark Room where the reunion lunch took place.
Among the attendees were six solicitors who had practised law in Northern Ireland and one in England. Additionally, two members succeeded in commerce, demonstrating the diverse career pathways a legal education can open.
The LL.B. programme at Queen's in 1959 was a rigorous four-year course, followed by three years of apprenticeship for aspiring solicitors. This group's commitment to education was indeed noteworthy, with some members undertaking further studies. One such alumnus pursued an LL.M. degree at the University of Michigan in 1963/64, and two others studied law further in the United States.
The reunion also celebrated the female pioneers in the field of law. Although they represented a small fraction of the cohort—just five out of approximately 30—two of these trailblazing women were present at the reunion.
The attendance of 13 individuals after 60 years spoke to their commitment to the Law School at Queen’s and underscored the enduring connections forged at Queen's University and the lasting impact of its legal education on individuals and the broader community.
The Head of School, Professor Joan Loughrey said ‘It was a real privilege to welcome the class of 63 to the Law School and to listen to their reflections on their time as students here. It was clear that it had been a very important experience and they spoke with real warmth and affection about the School. I am hugely grateful for their loyal support for the School over the years."