Belfast Telegraph

Family law expert invited to join prestigious academy

By Bendan McDaid

A Londonderry lawyer has become a member of the world’s most prestigious family law academy.

Karen O’Leary, of Caldwell & Robinson, is only the second lawyer in Northern Ireland to have been invited to join the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (IAML).

Ms O’Leary (43), who was born in Kerry, has been a partner in Caldwell & Robinson based at Artillery Street in Derry for 13 years.

A senior partner, she leads the family law practice at the firm, which is one of Northern Ireland’s largest and most established family law and wealth management law practices, celebrating its centenary last year.

Ms O’Leary, who moved to Derry in 1995, is qualified to practice law in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, England and Wales with confirmation of her IAML membership coming through last week.

Speaking about the accolade Ms O’Leary said: “I’m thrilled, excited and above all very honoured to have been invited into membership.

“This is the highest accolade available to me in my part of the profession. It goes without saying that I have promptly accepted the invitation.”

Ms O’Leary said that living in Derry meant that working across

different jurisdictions was an everyday reality.

“Membership of the academy will enhance and hone my skills to make sure people have the best possible service.”

She said membership would now give her access to conferences and lawyers from different countries and jurisdictions.

Ms O’Leary is a respected authority whose opinions have been requested by courts on the legal status of orders made in Northern Ireland beyond its borders.

She was educated at The United World College in New Mexico in the United States and in England at Birmingham University and The College of Law, Chester.

She qualified as a solicitor in England and Wales in 1994. Ms O’Leary has a Diploma in European Competition Law from King’s College London, a Diploma in State Aid from the University of Louvain in Belgium and is a qualified Advanced Advocate in Northern Ireland.

Karen worked in London and Brussels before moving to Northern Ireland in 1995, when she was admitted as a solicitor in Northern Ireland and the Republic.

Tough criteria ensure only the world’s most accomplished and reliable family lawyers become members of the International Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers.

Only family law practitioners with more than 10 years’ experience can meet these criteria.

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