Corporate social responsibility at Mason Hayes & Curran is focused on helping those with limited resources to get better access to education. Initiatives include providing financial support, as well as our staff volunteering their time and expertise. The major development in 2019 was the start of a five-year commitment to UCD Sutherland Opportunity supported by Mason Hayes & Curran, a multifaceted approach to assisting law students who enter college through one of the seven UCD Access pathways.
Getting an offer of a place on a law degree course is a major achievement for any student. The points are high and the required commitment to self-directed study and engagement is a challenge, especially after the micromanaged approach most students experience in secondary schools. However, money (and more particularly the lack of it) is a barrier for many, some of whom could become great lawyers.
The primary element of our role is to provide the funding for scholarships directed to law students whose circumstances mean that finances are tight. These students are already stars, perhaps the first from their family to go to university, probably the exception among their peers and we in MHC want to give them every chance to shine.
Money is not everything. Already, with the first 10 scholarships awarded this autumn, we see the confidence boost which the students get from becoming Mason Hayes & Curran scholars. It is a very tangible demonstration that others believe in them. Indeed, this affirmation is probably more important in the long run, as students embarking on their under graduate life start with that boost and, we hope, are more likely to persist and realise their potential.
Promoting diversity in the legal profession
A third aspect is our belief that the legal professions will benefit from future members being from as diverse a range of socio economic origins as possible. How else will the lawyers of tomorrow mirror the society in which they work and serve?
In 2020 through UCD Sutherland Opportunity supported by Mason Hayes & Curran we will assist in the promotion of law as a career choice. If students of DEIS schools get the opportunity to see law as a possible career through moot courts, school champions and other steps then they might strive to become a law student, regardless of their background, eircode or family income.
More than 20% of first year law students in UCD come to college through the various UCD Access programmes. This percentage is increasing and UCD Sutherland Opportunity supported by Mason Hayes & Curran will encourage that trend to continue.
Education is important to us - legal education, all the more so. Students get the opportunity to engage in rigorous thinking and critical analysis, while developing an empathic mindset. Financial support through UCD Sutherland Opportunity supported by Mason Hayes & Curran will enhance college life for scholars by giving them more time to be a student, rather than working or commuting.
That’s the immediate benefit – what about the future? MHC scholars will be great lawyers, pursuing varied careers in law, business and social enterprises. They will enrich Society and we see our participation as an investment in that future.
The content of this article is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other advice.