The new director of communications at the Law Society, Barbara Cahalane, is turning her attention from accountants to solicitors.

Cahalane, 37, joins the 80,000-member Law Society from the 50,000-member Chartered Association of Certified Accountants, where she had been head of public relations since 1994.

She succeeds Sue Stapely, who left the post earlier this year to join PR firm Fishburn Hedges.

Cahalane will be responsible for both the Law Society's internal and external communications.

“I am looking forward to the challenges of this post at such an exciting time for the society,” she said.

“Legal aid, the Woolf reforms to the civil justice system, and the imminent general election are a few of the issues the society has to deal with.”

Her experience includes three years as head of public relations and publishing at the Law Society of Ireland and communication roles in the Irish Business and Employers Confederation, the Irish equivalent of the CBI.

Tony Girling, Law Society president, said: “Of the 160 applicants for the post,

Cahalane emerged as clearly the most outstanding. It is an important and early step in the development of an effective and comprehensive communications strategy for the Law Society and the profession.”