Irish Ambassador Michael Collins

I have just returned from Washington where our sister publication Irish Voice hosted the Legal 100 event, bringing together the top legal minds from all over the United States.

Irish Ambassador Michael Collins (pictured here) and his wife Marie were the hosts in their magnificent residence for the evening.

Bill Robinson head of the 400,000 strong American Bar Association and a Kentucky resident was the keynote speaker.

He spoke movingly of his grandmother, a Galway emigrant, who raised him to love all things Irish and taught him that equality and fairness before the law was worth fighting for.

He proudly touted his Irish passport, made possible by his grandmother, and stated that he used it to make a point for all who worked with him, that all Americans came from somewhere else and that issues such as immigration should be dealt with fairly.

Ambassador Collins pointed out that there were three Irish-born signatories of the Declaration of Independence and the Irish had been deeply involved in every fight for justice in American history and had played a huge part in shaping the law of the land.

But it was the rich mix of lawyers, judges and professionals who came from all over the United States who made the evening such a success.

Jane Roberts, wife of Chief Justice John Roberts discussed her Irish relatives from the Limerick/Cork border and the close ties she keeps to them.

Mark Tuohey, a real Washington powerhouse and potentially next US Ambassador to Ireland is the kind of friend of Ireland who makes it easy for that tiny country to have a major impact in the most important city on earth.

Also there was Bruce Morrison, architect of the immigration bill that legalized so many Irish back in the 1980s. Boy how we could do with that again.

The Legal 100 network expanded this year to include a dinner the night before and a guided tour of the Supreme Court on the day of the event.

It is these kind of networks that keep the Irish presence in America so alive and vivid

In every facet of American life there are Irish at the top, but they do not necessarily network together.

The Legal 100 started just four years ago and now a rip roaring success is an example of what can be achieved when that network is put together.

Another great night for Ireland in Washington D.C. I think.
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