Tributes were paid last Thursday at Banbridge Magistrates Court to solicitor Con Lavery who passed away suddenly.
Before moving to Banbridge he had worked in Eamonn McEvoy’s office in Church Place, Lurgan.
District Judge, Mr Paul Copeland, said Mr Lavery had died in tragic circumstances on holiday.
He described him as a highly respected member of the legal profession both here and beyond.
Judge Copeland added that Con was a great friend to him and their association went back to the 1970s when they were law students together at Queen’s.
He told how Con had worked for prestigious law firms in County Down and County Armagh before setting up in Banbridge 14 years ago.
The judge said he was a specialist in commercial and residential conveyance and was the ‘go to lawyer’ known for his expertise, industry, judgement and professional skill.
“He was a quiet man with an unflappable demeanour and a regular practitioner in the court and one could always be assured he was thoroughly prepared and could totally grasp the issues in each case,” commented Judge Copeland.
He added that while he ‘arrived invariably fashionably late’ every word he spoke struck home with purpose and focus.
The judge said he would be missed and offered his sympathy to Con’s wife Ethna and children James and Helen, who was present in the court to hear the tributes to her father.
“He was a good man and a good friend,” added Judge Copeland. “I am so sorry we have lost him. May he rest in peace.”
Solicitor Michael Gillen spoke on behalf of the Banbridge bar saying Con had come to work in the town in 1981 and he and Ethna had been living in Banbridge since 1982.
He was a greatly experienced, fierce and resilient.
“Many thought Con came from Lurgan but he would always say Derrymacash and he was very proud of that,” said Mr Gillen.
“We were all greatly shocked at his sudden death and we can only imagine the shock it was to Ethna, James and Helen. He was a great family man.”
Barrister Justin Byrne, on behalf of the bar, said Con was an absolute stalwart of the Banbridge legal profession.
He added that he always provided a thorough and professional brief and he had very little to do other than present it to the court.
“He also brought a certain amount of humour to the job,” said Mr Byrne. “He will be sadly missed.”
He offered his sympathy to Con’s family and close friends.
Solicitor Frank McCartan spoke on behalf of Con’s family and staff.
He said he knew him from his schooldays and he was precise and determined, nothing was ever that’ll do with him.
At that point as a mark of respect Judge Copeland adjourned court business and resumed later in the morning.