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At the beginning of April 2020, I took on the role of Chair at Mason Hayes & Curran LLP. In the pre-Covid-19 world, with a fantastic level of affirmation and a degree of nervous excitement I began planning for the year ahead. While I was aware of COVID-19, I had not factored in the impact of the restrictions that came in early March 2020. There is an old saying “we plan, God laughs’. Everyone from Leaving Certificate students to Chief Executive Officers can relate to this saying.

On reflection

Over the past few weeks I’ve been reflecting on my time in the firm. I joined in August 2005 as a partner in the burgeoning Financial Services department and remember the delight of receiving a surprise gift of All Ireland Hurling Final tickets between Cork and Galway on my first day. Cork, my home county were the victors. Today, attendance at big sporting events, savouring the atmosphere, friendly rivalry and the deafening roar of the crowds are treasured memories.

Sometimes life, just like sporting events, has a way of turning out not as expected. The late 2000’s were the roller-coaster years of the boom-bust phenomena. At that time, I was the head of the Financial Services department and part of a large ambitious team that worked tirelessly to build the firm into one of Ireland’s leading commercial law firms. I have been privileged to meet many extraordinarily talented people in my work. Our engagement with the business community in Ireland and internationally is large and diverse from financial services to healthcare and energy to technology and built environment. Amongst my friends and colleagues in the firm are many brilliant lawyers and exceptional professionals and I have shared in their collective successes. As a firm, we supported our clients throughout the global financial crisis with our expert knowledge, commercial acumen, tenaciousness and resilience in the face of many challenges. We came through those dark years and enjoyed a period of success and stability.

Remaining resilient

2020 has presented us with a new adversary in COVID-19. The speed of its onset was terrifying. It is a threat to our most treasured relationships, our loved ones. Those on the front line in the medical and healthcare services dealing with COVID-19 have my infinite respect and gratitude – we will be forever in their debt. The crisis has shown us how connected we all are. As we approach early summer we have commenced a phased reduction in restrictions. This involves a gradual and measured restoration to our former family, social and business lives as we adjust to the reality of this pernicious virus. My wish at the end of this is to preserve Ireland’s status and ranking as one of the best places in the world to live and work.

I am very conscious that the MHC community includes our CSR partners, many of whom have been very badly affected by the pandemic. Some of my personal CSR interests lie in area of education and the visual arts, which the firm has supported over many years and I hope to continue. Also, I have laboured extensively during my career to raise awareness of the issue of diversity and inclusion. As I bring my life experiences into my new role as chair, I hope to continue to advocate for equality and promote the “each for equal” agenda.

Recent events have demonstrated our human ability to react and adapt to unprecedented circumstances and our determination and resilience to survive and prevail. Having participated in many video calls – social and business – I have enjoyed the company of old and new friends and colleagues in my kitchen and am thankful for their sense of humour, optimism, wisdom and outlook for the future. It is now up to us to retain the positive aspects and learnings of our current situation.

Thank you

On behalf of all the Partners and staff at Mason Hayes & Curran LLP, I thank you for your continued support for our business. Please adhere to public health guidance, be kind and take care of yourself and others. We are here for you and your businesses and don’t hesitate to contact me or any of my Partners at any time if we can be of help.

Keep well and stay safe.

Christine O’Donovan

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